Author Topic: Why haven't manufacturers put controls on their stoves?  (Read 2636 times)

SmartStove_Dan

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Why haven't manufacturers put controls on their stoves?
« on: February 04, 2012, 08:08:59 PM »
This has been the #1 question since I started working on this in late 2004.  I have visited about 10 different stove manufacturers as well as EPA test labs, presenting this system to them, and received a lot of positive feedback, yet there is still not a production stove with real combustion automation.  Here's a summary of what I have learned:

1.  Wood stove companies HAVE put controls on "wood" stoves.  They are called pellet stoves.
2.  They don't need to.  The marketplace is not demanding it, mostly because people don't know it's available.
3.  It's a new technology.  Wood stove manufacturers are dreadfully slow with adopting new technologies.
4.  They don't use wood stoves.  The vast majority of upper management in stove companies don't heat with wood, so they don't understand the benefit of automation.
5.  They're not being forced to.  Why add complexity to a product that sells well and requires little support?
6.  It's too expensive.  Any new technology starts out in low volumes and is expensive.  Stove companies are very cost conscious. 
7.  We can do the same thing with a bi-metallic spring.  Bi-metallic springs do provide a measure of control, but they are not fully configurable and don't provide absolute control, and cannot adjust your fan speed.
8.  It requires electricity.  There is a perception in the industry that people who heat with wood don't have electricity.  Right, and people don't use computers either.
9.  This last one may be the most significant:  We have other projects to work on.  Remember that wood stove manufacturers also typically produce pellet and gas stoves.  The gas stoves are by far the products that ship in the highest volume, and pellet stoves are growing in volume.  Wood stove shipments are flat, so they spend their resources on these other areas.  Some manufacturers go years without making any significant changes to their wood stove line.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2012, 06:40:57 AM by SmartStove_Dan »

Johnackerly

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Re: Why haven't manufacturers put controls on their stoves?
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2012, 08:17:04 AM »
Dan,

Thanks for laying out these responses from wood stove manufactures.  Its probably the best list of reasons I've seen. We are hosting a "Wood Stove Design Challenge".  Check it out here: http://www.forgreenheat.org/stovedesign.html.  We know that many of the 50 teams that have registered are using various types of automation, including oxygen sensors, fans, etc.  Are you aware of this technology competition? We'd love to run your post in our newsletter, and of course link back to your website.  Would that be OK? 

Thanks,

John Ackerly
john@forgreenheat.org

SmartStove_Dan

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Re: Why haven't manufacturers put controls on their stoves?
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2012, 05:25:56 PM »
John,
It has been a pleasure talking with you on the phone and via email!
Dan