Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Hawken Energy on EPA Changes

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is proposing significant cuts to the amount of pollution emitted into the air via wood stoves, pellet stoves and outdoor wood furnaces. Hawken Energy was featured in a story on WZZM13 that addressed the subject.

Posted by Alex Walborn - Hawken Energy Outdoor Wood Furnaces
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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Propane Shortage leads to Drastic Price Increase

Have you SEEN propane prices lately?? Two weeks ago a gallon of residential propane in the Midwest cost $2.39 a gallon. An LP supplier in north Iowa reported last Friday, the price [of propane] is close to $4.50 a gallon!" It's barely believable.

This situation--dubbed the Polar Pig -- a few weeks ago froze pipelines so gas and other petroleum products couldn't be moved from refineries to consumers. 

Matthew C. Klein reports that "According to the Energy Information Administration, Midwest households use more propane than households in any other part of the U.S. and are more dependent on propane as a heating fuel. As a result, Bloomberg News reported that 'governors of 15 states have declared emergencies to allow propane tanker drivers to work longer hours to make extra deliveries.'"

In Indiana, Jaclyn Goldsborough of The News-Sentinel reported, "Delivery is especially important for these homes in many Midwestern states, which have their own propane storage tanks and are not connected to pipelines. However, until the shortage is addressed, deliveries for many companies are limited due to a low supply." This shortage of propane is causing thousands of people fear they won't be able to heat their homes this winter.

So what are propane users to do? Simply bundle up and try to conserve gas?

There has never been a better time to purchase a Hawken Energy outdoor wood-burning furnace! Many people who are skeptical about making this investment attribute their hesitance to the notion that install is impossible in the winter. NOT SO. The pipes that run from the furnace to your home can function just as normally lying on the ground. Then, in the spring, your installer can come bury them for you.

When it comes to heating your home, it's certainly a lot cheaper than these outlandish propane prices. 

Posted by Alex Walborn - Hawken Energy Outdoor Wood Furnaces
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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

3 Reasons Why You should NEVER let your Furnace's Water Temperature drop below 140 Degrees

Just in case you haven't noticed, temperatures have been well-below average this winter. If you're like the rest of us, you've probably been burning a lot of wood, (then rushing back into your warm house!) Here's a word of caution: don't let anything, not even the cold detract from your vigilance! What am I referring to, you ask? The temperature of the water in your furnace's water jacket! Sometimes furnace owners, for whatever reason, will accidentally let their Hawken furnace operate at a temperature below 140 degrees

THAT. IS. BAD. Absolutely, 100% NOT a good idea. 
Here are 3 reasons why: 

1. Condensation

Here's a quick fun fact: did you know that any kind of wood, even properly seasoned (dried) wood still contains at least 25% water? Unseasoned wood contains up to 50% water.

So what do you think happens when wood burns? That moisture it contains becomes steam. When it burns in your furnace, that steam exits through the chimney, (or tube, in the case of a Gasification furnace). HOWEVER, if the water temp is less than 140 degrees, that steam will condense inside the furnace walls, creating a BIG mess. 

Conversely, if the water temp is above 140 degrees, the steam will exit the chimney harmlessly. 

2. Creosote

Just in case you aren't familiar with this term, (and if you take the advice of this article you won't have to be) creosote, by definition, is a mixture of smoke and water residue, a sticky black tar-like substance. 

Let me put it this way: creosote is to a furnace chimney or tube as plaque is to a human artery. Allow it to build up, and, well, you get the idea. 

Thus, keeping your furnace heating the water at a minimum of 140 degrees is crucial to preventing creosote build-up.

3. Efficiency

Plain and simple. When condensation forms it nourishes creosote, which ultimately reduces heat transfer. The heat from the fire normally passes into the water in your water jacket through the steel walls - but if those steel walls are covered with a thick layer of creosote, heat transfer, and therefore efficiency, is reduced.

If you want to not only avoid steam and creosote issues with your furnace, but make sure its general functions are running smoothly, always be aware of its temperature. Remember: 140 degrees. That's the magic number! 

So to sum up, the 3 reasons you should always operate your furnace at temps above 140 degrees are 1. To prevent moisture condensation, 2. Condensation leads to creosote build up, and 3. Creosote buildup reduces heat transfer and thus lowers your efficiency.  This means you will burn much more wood than you need to (and excessive creosote will ultimately kill your furnace, regardless of which furnace brand you own).

The good news is that Hawken furnaces, in normal operation, don't have creosote issues.  Just make sure you burn seasoned wood, and follow proper operations and maintenance procedures (see owners manual), and you will enjoy years of warmth and saving big money with your Hawken furnace! 

Posted by Alex Walborn - Hawken Energy Outdoor Wood Furnaces
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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Dry Firewood

EPA offers four simple steps to properly dry firewood before using in
 a wood-burning stove, fireplace or outdoor wood furnace. Wet wood can create excessive smoke
which is wasted fuel. Burning dry, seasoned firewood with a moisture
content of 20% or less can save money and help reduce harmful air

This tri-fold brochure provides colorful illustrations of the four easy steps to dry firewood. 

Posted by Don Squire - Hawken Energy Outdoor Wood Furnaces
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Moisture Meter

EPA offers tips on how to properly use a moisture meter to test firewood before use in a wood burning fireplace or outdoor wood furnace. Wet wood can create excessive smoke which is wasted fuel.

Posted by Don Squire - Hawken Energy Outdoor Wood Furnaces
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Monday, October 14, 2013

Alternative Energy Comparison - Which Energy Savings Alternative Provides the Biggest Bang for the Buck?

It is amazing how much attention some alternative energy products receive from the media and the government. New advances in technology have helped bridge the gap between the expense and the return but how fast are these products really paying off? In particular, how fast is a residential sized system going to start providing a return for you, the consumer?

We at Hawken Energy have long been advocates of clean energy and the savings that come to customers through wood heat. We have also done our best to show how quickly a Hawken outdoor wood furnace will pay for itself, allowing you to save all that extra money. 

To help explain this we have a few comparisons to share. 

Replacement Windows

Anyone who has ever lived in an older home will tell you that windows can be a major source of draft and heat loss in a home. According to, “Replacing old windows with Energy Star qualified windows lowers household energy bills by 7% to 15%.”

That is a fair savings given that a whole home window replacement project can run anywhere from $7,500 to $10,000 or more. Let us say your replacement cost was $8,750. If your annual heating cost was $3,500 (using propane) and you saved 15% per year it would take over 16 years to recover the cost of your new windows at current heating prices. 16 years! By then you’ll probably need new windows again.

Solar PV panels.

Solar panels or photo voltaic (PV) panels are among the more popular energy alternative options available today. In some areas the incentives make the cost of these panels low enough to almost be worth while. If you are in one of these areas, be sure to say thank you to all your neighbors. Some of their tax dollars are helping pay for your PV system.

A 2kW system that meets nearly all the needs of a very energy efficient home could cost up to $20,000 installed. This is before those government incentives if any.  If you are electrical bill runs around $3,000 it will take over 6 years to recover the cost of your new solar panels.

(We see that there are other benefits to solar panels. Here we’re just looking at the time to pay off.)

Wind Turbine Generators.

Just North of us here at Hawken Energy there is a wind farm with massive white towers that can be seen across several counties.  They are surrounded by controversy and some residents argue that they will never really pay off. That is not what we are talking about.

Personal or residential sized wind generators are popular but expensive. A wind energy system large enough to provide most of a households energy can cost about $30,000 to $40,000 installed.  That means a wind energy system will not pay for itself for 6 to 30 years.

CFL Light Bulbs

This is just for fun. 1 CFL light bulb can save about $6 per year in electricity or about $40 over its lifetime. An average home has about 30 fixtures. Annual savings of about $180 pay for the bulbs relatively quickly. Compared to total energy costs this is a low investment and should be an easy choice. We’ll come back to this below. 

Hawken Energy Outdoor Wood Furnaces

An average Hawken Energy customer spends between $3,000 and $4,500 per year to heat their home. Some of our customers spend even more than this heating workshops or businesses.  Heating with firewood, compared with fossil fuels, costs 70% to 80% less. A Hawken outdoor wood furnace can provide 100% of the heat for a home. Most customers see a total return of their investment in just 2 or 3 years. Even when wood is purchased from a local vendor the cost savings are significant.

Compare that to the light bulbs. It would take eleven households to equal the savings of 1 Hawken customer who saves even $2,000 per year, or about 330 CFL light bulbs. It would take 1 household eleven years to see the same savings. 

Wood is abundantly available. And unlike sunshine or wind, you can control it. Wind stalls, the sun sets, but wood only needs you to become the ultimate renewable energy. And with a return on your investment of just 2 or 3 years you’ll be able to enjoy the savings long after your Hawken outdoor furnace has paid for itself.

Every year you are spending money to heat your home. Without a Hawken Energy outdoor furnace, how much money could you be keeping for yourself?

To find out more, contact us 888-564-2876 or visit us on the web at

Posted by Don Squire - Hawken Energy Outdoor Wood Furnaces
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