Why and How to Choose the Best Outdoor Wood Furnace

Why & How to Choose the Best Outdoor Wood Furnace

Why & How to Choose the Best Outdoor Wood Furnace

You have decided to get an outdoor boiler – awesome! This tells people a lot about who you are: You are independent, self-reliant, forward-thinking, and smart. You take responsibility for and control of your own life, and you don’t want your personal finances (and heating bills) to be at the mercy of political forces. Basically, you are an amazing person and we applaud you and admire you.

Your choice of an outdoor wood boiler is an important decision. We are the industry leader in helping homeowners like you make this selection, and we have helped over 30,000 homeowners make this decision and have provided

FREE Design Services to most of them.

Here are some factors you need to consider:
  1. What size outdoor furnace do you need?
  2. How much space do you want to heat now and in the future?
  3. What type of wood do you have access to?
  4. What type of community do you live in – are outdoor wood boilers permitted?Image 1
  5. Do you have any close neighbors? What is the distance in feet between where the boiler would be located and the nearest neighboring home?
  6. Do you plan to heat a residence or a commercial space?
  7. Would you like to heat your domestic hot water?
  8. Would you like to heat a workshop or garage also?
  9. Would you like to heat a pool?
  10. Do you want to use a high-efficiency outdoor wood burner or a traditional style?
  11. What are the items you will need to interface with your current heating system?
  12. Given all these factors above, which brand and model outdoor boiler is best suited for your customized needs? (At last count, there are over 50 different manufacturers, and many models to choose from!) It is also important that you would not be having trouble looking for outdoor wood furnace parts and related products for your system. 

Size of Furnace. Every house and building has its own set of requirements. A greenhouse made entirely of glass, for example, will have a different BTU requirement than a well-insulated home of the same size. Although square footage alone will not decide the size of your outdoor boiler, it is a good place to start. 

A general rule of thumb for BTU calculations is that cold places require 30 to 50 BTUs per square foot of space, moderate temperatures require 20 to 30 BTUs and warm climates require only 10 to 15 BTUs per square foot.

Type of Wood. On a moderate day, your outdoor wood-burning boiler should be able to keep up regardless of the type of wood you use, but if you always follow this approach, you may run into problems on colder days.

  • Greenwood vs. Seasoned Wood. Greenwood is wood that has been freshly cut down while seasoned wood is split, stored, and allowed to dry, reducing its moisture content. Seasoned wood is far more efficient and will provide your furnace with longer-lasting heat.image 2
You can still burn greenwood if you want to. However, the amount of energy produced is reduced since much of the heat produced is utilized to evaporate the water. It also causes creosote build-up.
  • Hard Woods vs. Soft Woods. Softwoods catch fire rapidly and have more BTUs per pound than hardwoods, making them good for starting a fire, however, they deposit a lot of creosote and burn up quickly. 

Hardwood firewood, on the other hand, has a longer burning time, but you should plan on seasoning and preparing your firewood before putting it in your wood boiler.

Boiler Location. When possible locate the outdoor boiler 30 to 50 feet from any structure. Consult with your insurance company for minimum distances. Also, place it so that prevailing winds will not cause a nuisance for neighbors.

Heating your Domestic Hot Water. YES, it is true, you can have an unlimited supply of domestic hot water from your outdoor wood furnace.

The Domestic Hot Water Kit  contains all the fittings and parts needed to make this improvement to your system. If you currently have piping that is not PEX tubing, just let us know so we can include two adapters. This kit also comes complete with simple installation instructions.

Domestic Hot Water Kit Assembly

Heating a Workshop or Garage. The easiest way to get a workshop or similar spaces is with a "Unit Heater"

Unit Heater

They are generally hung from the ceiling in a corner and have Single-Speed Quiet Fans, they are pre-wired with a switch and cord, and the unit heater can be plugged into a thermostat for steady heat. ( thermostat sold separately). 

Hanging Heater

We help you answer these and many other questions as you consider your outdoor wood boiler system. You can also visit our website ask us any questions and, or browse for outdoor wood boiler parts.

Just call our office and schedule a FREE design service call. We will walk you through all the possible solutions to your customized needs so you can get the heat you need, and start saving money immediately!