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ALASKA FIREPLACE NEWS

New Federal Rebates 2021! - Get 26% OFF Qualified Wood Stoves, Accessories & Installation

Planning a remodel this spring/summer and needing a new wood stove? There's a new federal rebate that gets you up to 26% off your new wood stove, accessories & installation. Blaze King & Hearth Stone stoves make the list! Give me a call for more info 907-892-7131

Warning: BEWARE OF SCAMS!!

Not ALL May 15, 2020 EPA approved woodstoves qualify for the 26% tax credit.

Were getting customers in our Alaska Fireplace & Accessories, Inc. shop asking for supplies from us and want to be able to take the 26% tax discount on these items.  We check to see if the stove they purchased is on the latest EPA 26% guidelines for tax relief.
 
The customer is being told that when they make a stove purchase by their company that the stove they are buying is 2020 EPA Compliant. 
 
This is a true statement but does not satisfy what the customer is expecting like the 26% tax relief from their purchase.
 
So customer makes purchase and walks away thinking they are in the good and they will learn down the road that they were lied to.
 
The Retail Store is using this tactic to make a sale but the customer will later find out that they cannot take any of the benefits of the 26% tax breaks because the stove they bought was not on the qualified EPA listing.
 
The only stoves any retailer or wholesaler should have on their shop floors and in their warehouse all have to be May 15, 2020 compliant otherwise they face the following:
 
“The EPA fine is $2,500 per day, everyday, from May 16th 2020.  In just a few days, May 16, 2021, if a non May 15, 2020 woodstove is still on a floor, the retailer or wholesaler could write a check for $912,500.00 (365 × 2,500) if you get caught!
 
Also it's 75% HHV overall weighted average.  You see, there is an efficiency value for each test run. Some manufacturers are suggesting to dealers that if any run value is greater than 75%HHV, it counts.
 
Unfortunately for those dealers and wholesalers, that is not true. It must be the weighted overall efficiency and that value is posted on the EPA website.”
 
The only wood burning stoves that qualify for a 26% tax deduction are the ones that are obviouslyEPA qualified but must have at least a 75% efficiency rating and be on the EPA listing that is widely broadcasted on my website.
 
We keep a copy of these 26% Tax Qualified stoves in our shops.  Also posted onwww.alaskafireplace.com
 
This does not mean that a compliant May 15, 2020 woodstove is not efficient.  Many folks choose to purchase a non 26% qualify able stove because of beauty and personal style choice.  Stoves that are available on the market today have all been tested to stringent standards. 
 
It tears my heart to see this sort slight of hand deviant behavior in selling a non qualify able stove that is NOT on the EPA qualified listing to an unknowing customer that thinks they are buying a product that will give them down line 26% savings.
This is happening and It is not professional or moral.
 
Our business card says that “We Earn Our Reputation Every Day”.
 
Bless you all.
Dan “The Fireplace Man”

We now have a display of Blaze King stoves in Anchorage

No sales will be from that location but there will be several wood burning stoves on display for the Anchorage folks to take a look at.

 

If you have questions please call our Wasilla Store and we can get these answered.
907 892-7131

HeatLifeGraph.PNG

2014 

 

Customer walks into the store…. 

We don’t pounce on them but give them a chance to make a full visual of the store and its contents and they usually migrate to a point of interest.   

 

We give them a moment and wait for them to look up from the product that they are eyeballing then we hit them up with the question.  “Do you folks have any answers?” 

 

This makes some think, but it’s a real question! 

 

As we follow up with some of our own questions the customer will have to come up with some “Answers”.  As you see we don’t have a clue what they are looking for in a heater, but the customer already has some parameters and visions within their minds and we have to get that information from them.   We call these “Answers”. 

 

It’s our job to get as many “Answers” from the customer so we can start thinking about some recommendations.   

 

We usually start by asking… 

  1. How many square feet do you want to heat? 

  1. What type of fuel do you want to burn?  Wood, Gas? 

  1.  Do you have a loft? 

  1. Do you have a lot of windows? 

  1. Do you have a log cabin? 

  1. What do you currently have as a heating source? 

  1. Looking for a primary or secondary heating source? 

  1. Do you want a fireplace that is built in or a free standing wood stove? 

  1. How thick are your walls? 

 

The information is sifted through regular conversation so the customer does not know they are actually providing all the information that is needed to make a knowledgeable appliance choice.   

 

The discussion of the heating appliance then divides off to their “wants” or “needs”. “Wants” is usually the stronger factor. But we do provide information if the customer is open to it. 

We never want to undersell nor oversell heat.  Both will get you into trouble. 

 

Things that we have learned over the years:  Be nice to the wife, 38 years and counting! 

 

A SECRET THAT IF FORGOTTEN that would get you tarred and feathered in the 13th Century Chimney Building industry. 

 

The Secret: 

Placing a heating source (appliance) in the “South End” of the house or cabin will give much more heating coverage than one placed in the middle of the room or one that is placed to the “North End”.   

 

Once we tell the customer that we’ve given them this valuable Mason’s DEEP SECRET and that they are NOW barred from telling anyone else otherwise they will have to be sacrificed!!!.   

 

This statement is usually followed by giggles and the question “Why is that?”  The answer is “Because of the power of the sun and the rotation of the earth.” 

 

We have trusted kids with tremendous College engineering degrees with rulers and pencils and modern technology to override common sense. 

 

 

BACK TO WOOD BURNING STOVES 

There are 2 kinds of burning technologies. 

Catalytic and Non-Catalytic. 

 

All stoves have to be tested to meet EPA Government Regulations for emissions. 

The most common testing laboratories are Omni, Warnock-Hershey, UL, Radco and some others whom provide certification. 

 

Most folks think that efficiency is measured by how long a wood stove can burn and provide a low heat over a long period of time.  Old stoves used to have a damper/dial that would allow for a “full open” to a “full close” position. 

This gave the operator 100% non-restrictive choices in the stove’s operation. 

This ideology is no longer a valid choice.  Somewhere in this thought scheme “efficiency” came to play because the stove could be controlled. 

 

That’s the OLDE thinking of efficiency. 

 

The older stoves configured to burn in this manner would produce a tremendous amount of smoke and creosote buildup. 

 

Today, the definition for efficiency is measured by the amount of unburned carbon going up the chimney.  Folks can all agree that burning ALL the carbon emissions or unburned fuel that would normally go up the chimney is a great idea! 

 

 

Folks are shopping for efficiency, but it seems they do not realize how the stove is designed to meet that goal and how it affects their comfort level in the home. 

Below is a chart that a great reference to NON-Catalytic wood Stove performance 

 

 

 

Notice that this chart does not go over the 12 hour burn time.  The largest non-cat advertised burn time available is up to 12 hours. 

 

The chart above is used by a wood stove company called HearthStone.  It depicts the value of having a thick heat sink (soapstone) in order to avoid such a tremendous heat delivery from todays wood burning technology. 

 

Non-Catalytic technology utilizes a primary and secondary air inlet to provide oxygen to the combustion chamber of the stove to burn the wood hot enough to meet efficiency standards as set by the EPA.   

 

This means that almost all stoves have to burn very hot to burn wood efficiently with minimal particulate emission. 

 

Stoves are designed in a manner to burn wood efficiently by design.  This means that if you put wood into a stove it is expected that you will burn that wood efficiently.   

 

In order to do this the manufacturer has designed the stove to accept air into the firebox chamber at a designed and engineered rate to burn a variety of common wood species that are abundant in the USA. 

 

The controls on the appliance have to be manufactured in a way that neither the Dealer nor the Consumer can easily manipulate airflow design in order to slow down the fire or increase the fire.  This means that in the past one could have 100% control, today the consumer is given about 17% +/-  control of air into the stove.  Soon that will change to even a lesser percentage number by 2017. 

 

In all Non-Catalytic stoves the burn time depends on how large a burn chamber you have. More wood in a stove burns longer than less wood in a smaller stove.  Almost makes sense… 

 

My son has a stove that is rated for 3500 square feet in his 1400 square foot cabin in Willow.  WHY?  Because he knows that heat is determined by the amount of wood that is placed into the stove.  More fuel more heat less fuel less heat. 

 

He selected a soapstone stove for a slower heat dispersion into the cabin. 

Soapstone may not be a good choice for a weekender as it is very slow in getting heat into the cabin before bedtime.  We recommend a steel or cast iron stove for weekend cabin folks for faster rise in temperatures. 

 

Besides he doesn’t have to cut his wood as short. 

  

So by default purchasing a larger stove and putting less wood into it will do the same as a smaller stove given the same wood/fuel amount.  The benefit of the larger stove is obviously more heat. 

 

Wood Stove choices are Steel, Cast Iron and Soapstone.   

 

Steel only comes in a painted black color whereas Cast Iron Stoves come in several enamel colors besides black. 

 

Steel stoves look very much the same and not very much can be added to them for “bling bling”.  With steel one can have choices of pedestal, or legs.  Legs and doors also come in black, gold or silver finishes for a more pleasing look. 

 

Cast Iron stoves are much more decorative and come in many colors and can vary in looks quite a bit from manufacturer to manufacturer. 

 

Soapstone Stoves only come in one stone color (Gray) but the castings that hold the stone together come in many enamel colors.  

 

Steel stoves and Cast iron stoves are the choice to make when selecting a cabin stove because they can get really hot quickly and give heat to a cabin when most needed.   

 

The soapstone models are a nice choice for the home wood burner as they release the heat much more slowly and have a high comfort heating quality. 

 

In Alaska heat is a nice thing to have! 

 

Catalytic Wood Stoves 

The catalyst is a combustor that once activated by heat from a fire will burn the carbon particulates to a very high efficiency level.  Much higher than Non-Cat stoves.   

 

Consequently the catalytic stoves burn rate can be lowered about 4 to 5 times than that of a Non-Cat.  This means an all day burn on a low setting while meeting or exceeding the EPA standards on an ongoing basis throughout the day.   

 

Many wood stove companies market their efficiencies on a 1 to 2 minute run during testing and does not represent the true efficiencies that are assumed by the consumer.  It is IMPOSSIBLE to maintain the marketed level of efficiency that is advertised on a brochure for sales purposes in the real world. 

 

We sell a stove called “Blaze King” that can act like a steel stove to get a cabin/house warmed up very quickly and can also get more than a 40 hour burn on a low setting and MEET the EPA’s efficiency standards while doing so!!! 

Look into the Blaze King “KING” model.  Also take a look at their burn chart. 

 

Wood burning fireplaces are different than a woodstove as these are build into the wall.  Please research our site for the many manufacturers and styles at www.alaskafireplace.com . 

 

An alternative to burning wood is Propane Gas or Natural Gas. 

Now that you have all this wonderful insight to wood burning devices the truth is that for this dude a gas stove or gas fireplace will beat the pants out of wood burning 1000 to 1.  It will cost dollars and cents, but in comfort and reliability the extra expense is justified.   

 

Gas, weather Propane or Natural can operate off of a thermostat and provide beautiful comfortable predictable heat.  It will also provide heat WITHOUT THE USE OF ELECTRICITY! 

 

A freestanding gas stove with at least 30,000 BTU’s can be used to cook upon. 

 

Almost all gas stoves will give off much needed light into the room it is installed into. 

 

All gas appliances require less protective area than a woodstove would require. 

 

If you have been blessed to live long enough to have gray hair then you have gained wisdom.  You probably have gained some insight that wood is not free as many claim it to be.   

 

A survivalist would have a wood stove to provide the main heating and a backup of several gas appliances all on their own thermostats (zone heating) to provide and balance a comfortable living atmosphere. 

 

We carry nothing but the finest manufacturing stove lines available and are very blessed to have wonderful relationships with all of our vendors.  This relationship makes it very easy to provide the end customer with excellent service with minimal time and monies lost. 

 

We are not union and we do not do commissions. 

 

Anybody that wants to argue with me can do so by calling 1-907-892-7131 

 

Dan 892-7131 

Explanation of Crib Fuel vs Cordwood Stove Testing

2/2/20

Oregon began testing wood heaters in 1984 with a method OM7.  OM7 was developed with the cooperative efforts of industry, test labs and regulators.  The method they all worked to develop was intended to allow regulators the chance to compare one wood heater to another in terms of emissions results.


In 1988, EPA began testing and certifying wood heaters, using Method 28, a variant of OM7. This method uses dimensional lumber.  Mostly 2 x 4’s and 4 x 4’s.  The number of each or the actual size of pieces used is based upon firebox volume (FV).


NEITHER OM7 OR METHOD 28 WERE INTENDED TO PROVIDE REAL WORLD DATA.  BOTH METHODS WERE INTENDED TO PROVIDE A STOVE TO STOVE EMISSIONS COMPARISON.


In 2015, EPA promulgates the NSPS (New Source Performance Standards) and sets new limits and revises Method 28, now called Method 28R.  During the period EPA promulgated the 2015 NSPS, state regulators started pushing EPA to find out how wood stoves performed in the real world….meaning when burning cordwood.  The problem was and still is, there is NO Federal test method, called an FRM (Federal Reference Method).  In the absence of an FRM, EPA wrote into the 2015 NSPS the option to test with an Alternative Test Method (ATM).


A few manufacturers began testing using an approved ATM, which had to be approved by EPA each time and each time EPA slightly modified the test method.  EPA was warned their actions would create “confusion in the marketplace”.  So EPA agreed to allow all manufacturers to test with a cordwood method developed by ASTM.  This method, allows for different types (species) of fuels so long as they fall within a field of specific gravity (density). Methods OM7, 28 and 28R only allowed Doug Fir because the regulators wanted stove to stove comparisons.


The irony of this entire matter is, using the current ASTM Cordwood method removes the ability to compare stoves to one another because the ASTM Method has a great deal more variability in the method. What is even more ironic is some manufacturers compare their cordwood (ASTM) results to competitor test results that were obtained on crib fuel testing.

Nobody should compare a cordwood tested stove results to crib fuel tested results.  They are not the same.  Btu results are calculated using one standard (B415.1-10) for crib fuel testing and the ASTM method for stoves tested with cordwood.

Want proof?  The data below is accurate for an EPA certified wood stove.

Model: XXXXX            Year Tested        Emissions (% Change)      Efficiency                    Btu’s

Crib Fuel                        2014                   .45 gr/hr                       80%                     10,800-39,400  

Cordwood                  2019                    1.9 gr/hr                         77%                     11,322-62,623

Same stove is 322% dirtier burning on cordwood, 3.9% less efficient and produces 37% more Btu’s on the top end.  This is why you cannot and should not compare stoves tested with different methods!

 

An EPA certifiying laboratory explained in their words why the two cannot be compared.

“BTU output for both crib and cordwood tests are calculated in a similar manner using B415.1-10.  But the wood burning methodology and test endpoint (for high burns) are so drastically different that they do in fact produce similarly different results.  A cordwood high fire test ends when 90% of the fuel had been consumed, eliminating a portion of the tail of the burn, which artificially makes the burn rate (and thus, heat output) higher.  But also just the fuel load itself, you are putting in significantly more fuel (10lb/ft3 instead of 7 lb/ft3) with no spacers.  I have never done a side by side comparison of the two methods on a given stove, but cordwood high burns are typically 3.5 kg/hr or higher, whereas crib wood high burns are typically down in the 2s.”

 

EPA is working on an FRM.  Once completed, it will become the new test method.  When the FRM is introduced by EPA, the rule states they (EPA) can require all wood heaters, both crib fuel and ASTM tested wood heaters to be retested when the certificates expire.  Certificates are valid for 5 years from issuance.

The fact is, a stove produces more Btu’s on cordwood than when using crib fuel.  Here is a quick list of reminders when discussing this topic with customers…they count on you for the knowledge!

How did “DAN, Dan, The Fireplace Man” ever get his name? 

I never expected to be called “Dan, The Fireplace Man” but here’s the true story. 

 

There is an Olde man that used to roam these woods in Alaska.  I guess he used to roam all around the world! 

 

He is known as Colonel Norman Vaughn, a tough guy that was the last living survivor of the discovery of the South Pole in 4 Masted sailing ships.  He has his own story to tell in his books. 

 

He has a mountain named after him called Mt. Vaughn someplace in the Antarctic. 

 

Colonel Vaughn is also a hero that retrieved the Lost Squadron out of the “TOP SECRET” failed military mission of 24 fully loaded bombers that were to attack Germany taking the Northern route over Greenland.  Should one airplane have any trouble completing this trip the mission the Commander would cancel terminate and they were all instructed to land all their bombers safely, and someone would go get them out.  That person was Colonel Norman Vaughn. 

 

Recently I was watching the Discovery channel and they made a documentary about 24 fully fueled, fully loaded bombers that melted over 900 feet down into a glacier.  An Entrepreneur funded an expedition to retrieve only one of these aircraft for history’s sake. They stressed that the bomber being retrieved had active and very dangerous bombs on board.  Apparently, they did not know of this Top-Secret Military operation.  The information is in the books Colonel Norman Vaughn wrote.  

 

Colonel Vaughn also gave a dog sled ride to Saint Pope John Paul in Wasilla. 

 

Colonel Vaughn also was the first to take a dog sled team up Mt. Denali with Susan Butcher. 

Colonel Norman Vaughn also interjected Alaska into the 1959 Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade by bringing a dog Sled team to New York and climbing up to the TV tower to tell the announcers that Alaska was entering the Parade.  They told him that they did not have a place for Alaska in the parade.  He told them that he was going to be getting in between 2 other “Floats that could be seen from the TV tower and that he wanted a formal introduction of Alaska being represented. 

 

Norman is a worldwide known wonderful person that anyone would love to call “Grandpa”. 

 

Norman used to stop by (Alaska Fireplace & Accessories, Inc.) my fireplace shop at Mile 50.2 on Parks Highway as he was making his way to go to his cabin in Trapper Creek.  At the time we lived at the shop, and he used to call ahead to see if there was some cold coffee, he could have on his way North.  Must take a deep sigh here as Norman did not know much about the time of day.  He would call at 11:00 PM, wake us up, we all lived at the shop at that time, and we always made ourselves available for his stop. 

 

As he would take down his fresh cup of coffee, he would tell us stories that should probably have been recorded.  The last call that he ever made to Joe Reddington 

was on one of these stopovers and they talked for over an hour with Joe.   

Norman told Joe that he was very sorry for his cancer and that he would “soon see him on the other side”.  These words put goose bumps on me, my wife Sue, and my son Jonathan.  Jonathan knew he was a witness to history in the making. 

 

Joe Reddington is the “Father” of the World-Famous “IDITAROD”.  A sled dog race that is a replica of the 1912 Diphtheria serum sled dog race to Nome.  Starts in Wasilla and runs to Nome, Alaska 1049 miles away!!!  Colonel Norman Vaughn started this yearly event but did not want any notoriety because he had enough fame in his life.  This is not known by many in the current organization, but we know. 

 

Norman was the hero that went to get the pilots from a failed “TOP SECRET”  

Bombing raid that was to go to Germany via the North Pole to bomb Germany.  Should any fully loaded bombers have any mechanical issues they were instructed to land safely and someone was to go pick them up.  Norman volunteered and got all  bomber pilots back safely to the USA. 

 

Recently I saw a Discovery Channel special where someone located 38 aircraft 900 feet down buried in a glacier in Iceland.  Fully loaded with bombs and full of fuel. 

The Discovery Channel did not know anything about all of this, they were mystified as to why these fully bomb loaded aircraft were there.   History was probably scrubbed.  But now you know.   

 

 

Norman then asked me if I was going to the Anchorage Arena Home Show one coming weekend.  Told him I had a booth in the main arena.  Was an 8X8 area and did not have much at the time.  Norman said to me “I’ll see you there and introduce you to a couple of my friends”. 

 

I said “OK” and he drove off to the North to his cabin at Trapper Creek, Alaska. 

 

At the Home Show we were all very excited for the opening call as this was one of the first shows we have ever been,  so we did not know what to expect. 

 

There was an announcement made over the PA System at the show’s opening to “Please stand and all give a hand to our very own Alaska Patriarch, Col. Norman Vaughn”.  I felt very proud to know this man but did not know of many of his acquaintances coming through the door. 

 

As Norman was hobbling into the show with his cane in hand, he noticed my tiny booth to his right and made a bee line towards me. I did notice that as slow as he was going, I would have walked my way around him and got along with seeing the rest of the show but that’s just me… the entourage of folks behind him seemed to be in an order following each other as Norman as the leader. 

 

As Norman got closer to my show booth, he asked to have a chair to sit on and for a bottle of water.  As this was all happening there were many TV cameras all being turned on and pointing at my booth space!  I was like a deer caught in headlights! 

 

All that was following behind Norman stopped when he sat down.  There were 5 or so men that were right behind Norman that were all wearing fancy suits.  There was another line of men in fur coats that also stopped behind the 5 men in suits. 

 

Here is Norman sitting down in front of my booth and all the entourage of folks that are following him stopped! Camera lights were all on us and producing a lot of heat from the focus given. Norman was running the show for these folks… 

 

Norman then introduces me to the 5 men in suits.  Norman says this is Governor Tony Knowles, Honorable Ted Stevens, and Honorable Don Young.  I’m forgetting the rest, but these are the top politicians of Alaska!  

 

Then Norman tries to get the attention of ALL OF the Native Chieftains behind these 5 political powerhouses.  These were the 26 TRIBAL CHIEFS in their native fur coats that represented the 26 Native Tribes Of ALASKA!  They were in Anchorage for the “Alaska Federation of Natives” Convention!!! 

 

A couple of the Chiefs were not paying much attention then all of a sudden Norman starts waving his walking cane and hollering out to the Chiefs like they were school children, “HEY you guys pay attention!”.   He said this a couple of times, enough for everyone’s attention to look forward towards us.    

 

I was floored!  I did not want to be there with this going on in front of me!!!! 

Secretly I was asking God to have this vile olde man move along. 

Seemed like forever but Norman got their attention and he said to them 

“From now on you get your stoves from this man right here, his name is...” 

 

Then he turns around holding his cane at me while looking me into my eyes and asks, “Is Dan The Fireplace Man, OK?” Being in somewhat of a shock I said “YES”. 

 

He looks back to the Chiefs “This is Dan, The Fireplace Man, you get you stoves from him, you all understand that?!!!”.  ALL  26 Tribal Chiefs from Alaska representing their tribes all nodded their heads “yes”. 

 

After a few moments Norman stood up, thanked me and continued on his way to the show.  The flow of folks slowly followed Norman around the show.  All NEWS cameras were now off from me, and I shook hands with the many Chiefs. 

 

After the show I told my wife that Norman gave me the name “Dan, The Fireplace Man”.  She said that I could not use that name because someone else might have that name.  Nothing happened for a couple of weeks then I get this call from a Village Leader asking for “Dan, The Fireplace Man” I want to buy a stove from him”. 

 

From there we made a fireplace jingle tune that mimics a nursery rhyme and became very memorable to radio listeners.  We used the tune and “Dan, The Fireplace Man” on all our business and advertising for the last 30+ years.  No one has ever complained about the name so let it be written in stone!!! 

 

Colonel Norman Vaughn asked Me, Sue, and Jonathan if we could be his last adopted family on this earth.  At this time I’m crying about this as I did not know the heartfelt impact, he had on all of us.  I’m very proud to be able to call him “GRANDPA” and Grandpa called us on every holiday season to bless us till his passing. 

 

Have his books signed by him and very proud to know a living piece of History. 

Look him up on GOOGLE.   “Col. Norman Vaughn”. 

 

Sincerely, 

 

Daniel R. Michaud 

P.O. Box 873161 

Wasilla, Alaska 99687 

907-892-7131 work phone 

907-232-0063 cell phone 

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