FAQs

l

l

  • Who is Northern Stoker?

    We are a small company with great talent and plenty of ambition. The parent company of Northern Stoker is Northern Metalworks of Sunderland, Ontario, Canada.  We have been serving the Durham and Kawartha Lakes region for over 25 years fabricating everything from little widgets to massive earth moving machine chassis. Over the years we built our name on honesty and integrity and we have never looked back. After many years of heating our homes and businesses with prototype outdoor wood furnaces, we identified the features we liked and disliked. Through years of research and development we know that we have the edge over our competition.

  • Is the Northern Stoker furnace a boiler or a furnace?

    The Northern Stoker outdoor furnace is a non-pressurized, open type system (atmospheric vented) and does not have the safety concerns of a boiler or closed type system. In our opinion, this dramatically improves the level of safety and provides the customer with peace of mind.

  • How does the heat get transferred to my house?

    All outdoor furnaces require the use of insulated underground water lines that carry the heated water from the outdoor furnace to the building. This is an important component of the overall system and should be installed with care. Improperly installing the insulated underground water lines can have a negative impact on the overall efficiency of your system no matter what furnace you are using. We recommend digging the trench at least 3 ft deep. We highly recommend that the customer discuss all trenching options with their local Northern Stoker Dealer. The insulated underground water lines should be installed with the highest R – value that can be afforded. It is also recommended that the lines are not run through low lying areas with a high water table. The reason for this is, the ground water can “leach” the energy from the submerged water lines and thereby drastically reduce the energy efficiency before the heated water enters the building.

  • Do I need an additive in the water for the furnace and how does it work?

    Yes, we carry our own brand of a corrosion inhibitor (Northern Stoker Water Treatment) that protects ferrous and non-ferrous materials that are in contact with water. The additive is 100% organic and is in a concentrated form. When the corrosion inhibitor is added to the water, the additive circulates through the system and captures the oxidizing (rust forming) molecules. The captured molecules float through the system and are not allowed to bind to other molecules. The condition of the water within the system is critical to maintaining a long lasting furnace.

  • Will the Northern Stoker work with my existing forced-air furnace and ducting?

    Yes, a water-to-air heat exchanger is installed into the plenum of your existing forced-air furnace. This setup is similar to a central air conditioner, but the output is heat instead of cool air.

  • Will the Northern Stoker work with radiant in-floor heating?

    Yes, the Northern Stoker is connected directly to the radiant in-floor control manifolds and the heated fluid is delivered by the circulators at the Northern Stoker.  This type of heating is one of the most efficient options available in transferring heat throughout your house. There are various ways to install in-floor heating: One is for new construction applications; the tubing is installed inside the poured concrete floor.  The second is for existing construction applications; the tubing is installed between the floor joists or it is installed on top of the subflooring of the first floor of the building. For more information on effective radiant in-floor heating, please contact your Northern Stoker Dealer.

  • Will the Northern Stoker heat my hot water tank (domestic potable hot water)?

    Yes, a water-to-water heat exchanger plate is installed at the hot water tank. The domestic potable water does not come into contact with the Northern Stoker’s treated water. This form of heating the hot water tank is very efficient and can dramatically decrease your household energy consumption.

  • What happens when the power (electricity) goes out?

    The Northern Stoker requires electricity to power the circulating pumps, blowers, solenoids, and the control panel. When the power goes out, just unplug the 120V, 15A power cord at the furnace and plug it directly into a small portable generator. Now sit back and enjoy the heat even if the power is out! Just so you know, we are one of the only manufacturers that have an Intertek laboratory approval for this feature.

  • Can I burn my garbage in the Northern Stoker?

    No, the Northern Stoker is designed to burn dry wood only. Never use Gas, Oil, Naphtha, Diesel Fuel, Tires or Garbage in the Northern Stoker. This is exceptionally dangerous and could damage the Northern Stoker and will not be covered by our Warranty.

  • What happens if the fire goes out due to low fuel?

    In the Northern Stoker, we have designed the controls to realize that the fire is out or low on fuel and will shutdown the blowers to maintain a hot bed of coals. This is a significant time saving feature. The operator simply rakes the hot bed of coals and loads the new wood on top and hits the reset button at the control panel, this tells the system that is has been reloaded and it can resume normal operation. Immediately the fire will resume due to the hot coals.

  • What type and thickness of steel does the Northern Stoker use for is critical components?”

    Through our research and development, we have opted for 3/8” thick mild steel for our critical components. This not only increases durability and longevity but, it also assists in preventing warping.

  • Do you pressure test your water jackets for leaks before they leave the plant?

    Yes, after the water jacket has been assembled, we subject each furnace to a pressure test before it proceeds to the next production phase in its build cycle.

  • How is the firebox welded in the Northern Stoker?

    The firebox is manually welded by CWB Certified Trades people on both sides of the material for strength and durability.

  • Why is the Northern Stoker on average twice as heavy as the competitor’s outdoor furnaces?

    The use of 3/8” mild steel, heavy chassis components and superior insulated metal panels add up to a very stout weight for our furnaces. Our competition asked, “Why would you fabricate such a heavy furnace, twice the weight of ours to move?” We replied, “We only plan on moving our furnace once.” This is a testament to the durability and strength of the materials used in the Northern Stoker.

  • Your competitors use “spirals” to clean out the flues and heat transfer tubes. How come the Northern Stoker does not use this technique?

    After speaking with many experienced dealers and owners of outdoor furnaces, we concluded that a much more heavy duty solution was required.

    We have opted to use 10” heavy gauge steel augers for this application. With the use of the supplied handle, the operator can spin the auger within the flue tubes and thereby extract the accumulated ash and creosote buildup with certainty. These 10” heavy gauge steel augers serve a dual purpose as they also evenly distribute the hot flue gases 360 degrees through the flue thereby greatly assisting in the heat transfer to the water jacket and improving efficiency.

  • I have heard of rodents entering through the bottom of the furnaces and destroying the insulation and wiring. Is this the same for the Northern Stoker?

    No, the Northern Stoker models have superior 3” thick insulated metal panels that enclose the bottom of the furnace. This reduces the chances of rodents entering the chassis of the furnace. This bottom floor also assists in retaining the heat generated by the furnace and improves efficiency.

  • I have noticed that roofs on many outdoor furnaces have holes and joints that penetrate the roof membrane and eventually cause water damage to the insulation and components. Is this the same for the Northern Stoker?

    No, we have specifically avoided any components that penetrate through the roof for this very reason. The only component that has to pass through the roof is the double wall insulated chimney. The gap between the roof and the chimney is sealed with a high heat weatherproof sealant. If a leak ever developed around the double wall insulated chimney, it could easily be detected and repaired as it is in the Control House portion of the furnace. There is an access cap on the ridge cap that allows the installer to connect to the lift hook under the roof. Once the Northern Stoker is placed on site, the access cap is screwed down over the ridge cap creating a completely sealed roof. This feature greatly increases the operating lifespan of the insulation and drastically improves efficiency of the furnace.

  • What is the R-value of the insulation used in the Northern Stoker?

    Our models enjoy R-38 in the roof and upper walls for insulation around the water jacket and heat transfer components. The lower walls, control house and the floor contain R-24 insulation. It should be noted that the walls, roof and floor utilize a product called insulated metal panels. This product has a high density insulation core that is sandwiched between metal panels on both sides. Because they are panels, this limits the number of joints which can cause heat loss. The joints between the panels are of a locking seal type and make for a solid gap free joint.

  • When I have looked at other furnaces, I noticed that the exterior cladding, control access doors and panels seem really flimsy and susceptible to damage. Is this the same for the Northern Stoker?

    No, because we are using 3” thick insulated metal panels and they are incredibly strong and resist warping and damage unlike light gauge steel siding. Having said this, it is possible for the operator to scratch and dent the exterior of the Northern Stoker but, it will not crumple and disintegrate with normal wear and tear. The Northern Stoker utilizes continuous heavy duty stainless steel hinges for the control house doors. For added safety and protection against cosmetic damage, the control house doors also have “locking” door stops in the open position. This stops the doors from flailing about on a windy day and makes servicing that much easier. 

  • I noticed that the Northern Stoker has a unique two stage mechanism on the fuel loading door, why is that?

    All outdoor furnaces are to have a mechanism on the fuel loading door that when opened, it will stop as soon as there is an air gap and then the operator has to make a conscious decision to continue opening the fuel loading door. There is tremendous heat and combustion inside the burn chamber, by opening the door, the operator introduces oxygen or a way for the hot gases to escape. The mechanism will only allow partial opening of the door (first stage) to protect the operator. Once, the operator has observed that it is safe to precede, the (second stage) of the mechanism will allow full access to swing the fuel loading door open. 

  • I have heard many outdoor furnace owners complain that any electrical that has to be diagnosed and repaired, is a major undertaking and usually means a hefty service bill. Is this the same for the Northern Stoker?

    No, Northern Stoker models have been designed so that the control, sensor, and power wiring is located inside the control house and is easily accessible. There is one metal armored cable that runs from the control panel to the front right corner of the Northern Stoker for the blower fans and the exterior light. This is the only cable that is inside the Northern Stoker’s exterior body. This feature is a major leap forward for field serviceability, troubleshooting, and keeping your hard earned money in your wallet.

  • I noticed some furnaces have flames that shoot out the chimney while they are operating? Does that happen with the Northern Stoker?

    There are many ways that manufacturers exhaust the hot gases out of the burn chamber and capture the heat generated. This is a very important design feature of any furnace and contributes a large portion of the heat generated to the water jacket.

    We have designed our furnaces to have two horizontal 10” tubes (approx. 6ft long) stacked on top of each other and are connected in such a way that forces the hot gases to “spiral” their way from the burn chamber to exiting out the top of the chimney. The 10” clean out augers are inside these 10” tubes and assist in winding the exiting hot gases 360 degrees inside the tubes. These two design features vastly increase the heat transfer to the water jacket and dramatically reduce the chance of flames shooting out of the chimney.

  • Can I place the Northern Stoker anywhere I want?

    No, this is a wood burning device and it requires clearances from combustibles and buildings. You must place the unit at least 30ft away from any building. The furnace is to be placed on a non-combustible surface (example: concrete pad) and maintain a minimum clearance of 8 ft around all sides. Another consideration of placement is the prevailing winds and the direction of the smoke in relation to surrounding buildings. We recommend always manicuring the grass and foliage (long, dead, dry grass and dead, dry foliage should be eliminated) around the Northern Stoker as a safety precaution.

    As always, please contact your insurance provider for the best placement of your Northern Stoker.

  • Do you offer Leasing and Financing options? Who qualifies?

    Yes, we have partnered with National Leasing to offer our clients flexible Leasing and Financing options. The leasing and financing programs are designed for agricultural, commercial and industrial clients. Unfortunately, National Leasing does not offer programs for our residential customers at the moment. The programs can be tailored to the client’s requirements from, the length of the term , 10% buyout, $10.00 buyout and stretch payments. In addition, the Leasing programs are attractive to business clients because they can be a 100% tax write-off. The entire installation (furnace, accessories, installation and labor) can be leased or financed, which means, more month-to-month financial flexibility in a demanding global economy. Please contact us for information and how we can help you today.

    Note: There are National Leasing logos throughout this website. You can click on anyone of them and it will transport you to their website.