Nov 11, 2014
As cold and nasty as the weather gets in most of the Midwest, the prospect of not having heat is a nightmare. Ask any plumbing and heating professional what their most desperate calls are, and you’re likely to hear about panicked homeowners waking up to no heat. Impending snowstorms and dropping temperatures are something everyone in the Midwest knows a thing or two about, and they all know to think ahead about their heating appliances and fuel sources.
When the propane shortage happened last year, many people were left frantic. The propane industry scrambled to meet the needs of homeowners, as their demands rose.
The Propane Shortage in the Midwest Last Year
The unusually wet fall forced the agriculture industry to use more propane than normal to dry crops. Immediately after that, the term “polar vortex” became a household name. The “polar vortex” quickly became synonymous with cranking up the heat. These two events, coupled together meant propane usage soared.
More Propane Shortage in the Midwest This Winter?
If you’ve been following the news, the Kinder Morgan Cochin pipeline no longer carries propane to the region it once did. What was once the largest source of propane to North Dakota and Minnesota, and a crucial supplier to Wisconsin and Iowa has dropped out of the picture and needs to be replaced with other sources.
There will be solutions to compensate, but it’s worrisome to wonder who, when, and how this will happen. Also, how much will it drive costs up?
One of the best solutions is to avoid relying on propane exclusively and explore renewable energy options that are cost effective and highly efficient. MagnuM brand pellet stoves and fireplaces are designed to burn a variety of renewable fuels AND keep homes warm during the worst winter weather. While many pellet stove owners will also keep their propane burning furnace, most will not have to use the furnace much, if at all during the coldest months.
“So far I’ve only spent $400 to heat the house vs the $1200 I was spending on propane.” Dean K.
If you have concerns about the cost of heating your home or would like to explore your options for heating with readily available, lower cost renewable fuel(s), give our heating specialists a call (800) 495-3196. American Energy Systems is known for taking the time to help homeowners find the right heating solution.
Oct 30, 2014
What does BTU mean? Why are BTU’s mentioned when talking about heat and heating appliances? How are you supposed to decided what BTU is right?
There is a ton of mention about BTU output, BTU input, and thermal/combustion/overall efficiency, but they all refer to different measurements.
Here’s is a glossary of heating terms that will be helpful to understanding what they mean and why they are associated with heating appliances.
BTU OUTPUT: This is the amount of heat that the appliance is capable of exiting into your home after all deductions for fuel moisture, unit heat exchanger design and exhaust temperatures are taken into considerations. It is very rare that a manufacturer or a reseller of the product will publish this because it is hard to determine with so many factors such as fuel quality, installation, venting and maintenance habits. If the person trying to sell you an appliance is touting how much heat their unit will produce, he or she is talking about the BTU input and not the actual output of the appliance. Make sure that you clarify which one they are talking about. It’s important to know you are talking about the same thing.
BTU INPUT: This is the amount of heat that the appliance is capable of producing on any given heat setting (if published for multiple settings) or the total heat capacity (this is normally what is done) when the appliance is on its highest setting. Some manufacturers list the minimum heat capacity and the highest heat capacity to give you a range. If it is not printed on the owner’s manual or on the testing label (this is required and must have either BTU input or output listed) then be sure to ask the reseller which he is stating.
THERMAL or HEAT TRANSFER EFFICIENCY: This is where the “rubber meets the road” in a heating appliance. Thermal or Heat Transfer Efficiency is the ability of the appliance to transfer the heat from inside of the appliance directly into your home. This is usually the lowest number on the efficiency scale and very rare is it ever published because there are numerous factors that apply and will change depending on installation, operation, maintenance and home environment. Probably not wise to ask the salesman what this is because we do not want to make him or her feel bad when they have that deer in the headlight look. Typically only the manufacturer will know this information and rarely will release it.
COMBUSTION EFFICIENCY: This is the efficiency that the fire itself is burning, right at the combustion source. Unfortunately some manufacturers and sales people will tout this efficiency to claim that their appliance is better than another to get you to purchase theirs. You need to show them just how intelligent you are and tell them that taking into consideration fuel quality, fuel moisture, venting configuration, operational and maintenance habits, etc. etc. that there is no way that their appliance can have a overall efficiency of 97+ %.
OVERALL EFFICIENCY: This is the average efficiency at which an appliance will perform. Most reputable manufacturers will list this efficiency and identify that it is overall efficiency. It is important to remember that when a manufacturer has to increase the air to an appliance to get it to burn poor quality fuel, the overall efficiency suffers as a result and that means you will burn more fuel, heat less area and have considerably more maintenance.
American Energy Systems is happy to help you find any of this information about MagnuM brand appliances, as well as help you find the right heating option for your needs.
Oct 23, 2014
Tired of keeping the thermostat low to save on heating costs?
Tired of piling on blankets to keep warm in winter?
Tired of wearing so many layers of clothes you can hardly move?
Feeling guilty about giving in and turning up the heat?
As heating costs rise and people tighten their budgets, it’s important to look for ways to save money. Most households are forced to put a large chunk of their budget toward heating costs. We want to help you explore ways to lower your heating bill by using renewable energy. In most cases, the cost of renewable fuel significantly reduces heating costs. Many times homeowners experience 30%, 40%, 50%, or even 60% savings. It costs you nothing to explore your options, ask questions, and find out how other people like you have made the switch to renewable energy.
MagnuM products are flexible with many options for different dwellings and applications. If you aren’t sure about how to heat your home with a pellet stove, talk to one of our heating specialists (1-800-495-3196). You can also request your free guide to finding the right renewable energy appliance.
Sep 16, 2014
Heating with corn is not a new option for homeowners, but for some this may be the first time they’ve given the method serious consideration with the rising price of fuel and the early buzz about propane shortage worries again this winter. Whether traditional heating oil prices rise more or become less available won’t matter if you make a plan now to heat with renewable energy sources like corn and wood pellets.
American Energy Systems is known for excellent customer service. We’ll walk homeowners through the unknown process of heating with corn and getting started with this wonderful heat source. With no traditional chimney needed to install a pellet stove, it becomes a viable option for many people looking to enjoy a warmer house, lower heat bill, and lessen their footprint. Most people have already heard the praises of pellet stove heat from friends and family or read stories of people like them who’ve already made the switch.
However, here are a few more reasons heating with corn is a good decision for the winter of 2014-2015.
Heating with Corn Means Renewable Fuel
When you purchase a pellet stove, you have a lot of options in terms of selecting from 100 percent renewable fuel sources. A pellet stove runs on fuel that’s grown, not mined. No foreign oil needed either. Corn prices are low right now, so you can stock up!
Heating with Corn Means Low Emissions
Pellet stoves rate as the most efficient of all solid-burning residential heating appliances, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Renewable fuels burned in MagnuM pellet stoves burn completely and efficiently! Today’s design improvements allow hot air generated by your flame to be used most efficiently. Plus, radiant heat is something you can expect to enjoy beyond measure. This is the type of warm, clean heat that emanates from your pellet stove and isn’t something you get from a traditional furnace that is plopped out of sight and mind in the basement.
Heating with Corn Means Buying Local
The beauty of pellet stoves is that you can source your fuel locally and know exactly where it comes from. For instance, you could fuel your pellet stove with corn from a family member, friend, or farmer in your community. With a high-efficiency corn or pellet burning stove you could potentially heat your home exclusively with fuel from on your own property (like many farmers do) eliminating all transportation-related environmental costs. We have customers contact us all the time with creative ways they are reducing their heating costs by finding local renewable energy sources.
Heating with Pellet Stove Means Finding a Use for Waste
Did you know you can keep waste out of landfills by using a pellet stove? Wood pellets often are produced from discarded scraps, sawdust, and fallen trees. Paper pellets, cherry pits, and olive pits are some of the items that would end up in a landfill but creative people are finding ways to burn them for heat.
Heating with a Pellet Stove Means Using Less Construction Materials
New energy-efficient pellet stoves and fireplace inserts don’t require chimneys or elaborate duct work. You can save both on material costs and use fewer resources when you install these renewable energy appliances in existing homes, new construction, and remodel projects. You’ll be surprised how little space is needed to install a pellet stove, how fast the installation is, and the minimal materials needed to simply vent the pellet stove.
If you have questions about heating with corn, installing a pellet stove, or other heating related topics, please call our heating specialists at 1-800-495-3196.
Sep 4, 2014
Looking to plan ahead for the cold weather and avoid another season of high heat bills?
Now is the time to talk to American Energy Systems about making the switch to renewable energy heat. There are many options available, and we’ve worked with all kinds of dwellings including single story, multi-level, mobile homes, open floor plans, drafty old farm houses, and more. Give us a call at 1-800-495-3196.
You may find these articles helpful:
Mar 4, 2014
If you are currently heating with propane and looking for a cheaper alternative, you may have asked friends and colleagues about their heating solutions. Maybe you’ve picked the brain of your HVAC Plumbing and Heating person, or stopped in a showroom somewhere. With all the heating options out there, how do you know where to start in making your decision?
Where to Start to Save on Heat
For many people, especially this winter, ongoing heating costs is a major determining factor moving forward; comparing alternative options to what you have now. When cost is a major factor, it’s helpful to get a real-time estimate on what you can expect to pay. We have a heating fuel cost calculator you can use to estimate what you would spend on various heating fuels.
Simply enter your square footage of your home or business, as well as the current price of fuel. If you aren’t sure, call your local grain elevator, wood pellet supplier, bulk petroleum coop, and/or utility company for prices per unit as indicated on our calculator. Enter them all in to see a comparison, and roll over the bar graph for a total calculation.
The cost of heating with a multi-fuel pellet stove is a low cost alternative. If you have more questions about switching to this form of heat, call our heating specialists today: 1-800-495-3196
Jan 24, 2014
If the reports on skyrocketing heat bills this winter and propane fuel shortages across the United States has you worried, explore your alternative options. There’s plenty of time to switch your heating source to a renewable fuel appliance like a pellet stove or fireplace. Magnum brand appliances offer flex-fuel heating, meaning you can burn a variety of renewable fuels based on what is more readily available and more affordable in your area.
In fact, you can order a stove today and have it installed in a short amount of time. Our heating specialists can assist you with determining the right appliance for your home and needs. We’ll pick up half the cost of shipping and get your new heating source on its way right away.
Heating Options: Not all pellet stoves are the same
One thing to remember is that not all pellet stoves are created equal. Do your research, read through customer stories and testimonials, and talk to a heating specialist toll free (800) 495-3196. Some stoves on the market only burn one type of fuel. If and when that fuel is in short supply or too expensive to purchase, it becomes another challenge. A flex-fuel appliance like Magnum Countryside pellet stoves offers technology advancements and multi-fuel capabilities, not all stoves have. This is a benefit you’ll appreciate almost immediately.
American Energy Systems has been in business a very long time and has been manufacturing premiere pellet/corn stoves for a long time, with a positive track record. Choosing the right application for your needs will result in many years of affordable, renewable energy for your family.
Oct 30, 2013
If you live in an area with frequent snow and ice storms that take out the power, then you may want to consider a back up option for your pellet stove. Unlike traditional furnaces that are not “friendly” with power outages, a pellet stove allows you to take advantage of options to insure your heat goes uninterrupted. Pellet stoves typically run on electricity, but you can use a battery backup for pellet stove heat anytime!
Battery Backup for Pellet Stove? Yes!
If you want to run your pellet stove during power outages, you will need to purchase a battery backup and inverter. These can be purchased at local retailers such as Best Buy and Circuit City. If you have questions about which to buy, make sure you ask questions. While a battery backup is seldom needed, it does bring peace of mind to get you through rough winter weather.
Other ways to be prepared for the long winter ahead
- Battery backup for pellet stove- Check!
- Have the number of your local utilities or cooperative handy in order to report power outages or damaged power lines
- Put fresh batteries in your flashlights and keep them in a handy place.
- Put fresh batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, especially if you use electrical or combination detectors (they won’t work if the power is out)
- Bottled water; depending where you live, electricity may be required to pump water.
- Manual can openers and plenty of easy to prepare food.
- Battery based radio and/or charged cell phones to listen to news
- Board games and other entertainment to use the time connecting with your family.
You may also be interested in the article, “How Much Electricity Does It Take to Run My Pellet Stove ?” and “Can DC Powered Pellet Stoves Run Off of a Wind, Solar, and/or Battery System?”
If you have a question you need answered, please leave a comment below or contact our heating specialist at 1-800-495-3196
Sep 26, 2013
Designing Spaces visited our facility and filmed how our highly efficient appliances use renewable energy to create more cost effective heating options for home owners.
There are a few things you can do around your house to reduce heating costs such as weatherproofing your windows and doors, and making sure your home is properly insulated. But another way to lower heating bills in the long run is to switch your heating system to draw from a more sustainable and less volatile source. Switching to a corn or wood pellet burning stove is very easy to do. Please watch the video for more information and contact our heating specialists with any questions you may have 1-800-495-3196
Aug 2, 2013
It’s that time of year again, when we start thinking about back to school shopping, fall projects and expenses, and how we can save more than just a little money. As people return from vacation and start to focus on the cool weather ahead, our phones start to ring off the hook. Even though temps are usually still mild in September, we start our peek pellet stove season! This year we’re already seeing an increase in alternative heating inquiries, and it’s started even earlier! We think a projected colder winter, high costs of consumer goods, and consistently high gas prices are attributing to the uptick in pellet stove and furnace interest from coast to coast.
Don’t let the cost of heating be a burden on your budget this fall. Request our Free Guide that walks you through your options and answers the most common questions people have about switching to renewable energy and reducing their heating bills. If you want to talk to a heating specialist, please call 1-800-495-3196. Again, we’re entering peek season for product requests, so don’t wait with your questions. Call now.
A related article may be of interest to you: How to Make the Most of Your Pellet Stove Investment (read before you buy)