Northland Outdoor
Wood Furnaces
P.O. Box 408
105 1st St. So
Keewatin, MN 55753
Tel (218)778-6314
FAX (775)248-9503
E-Mail: d.noonan@mchsi.com
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Mild Steel vs. Stainless-Steel

Noonan's Welding and Heating began manufacturing Northland Outdoor Wood Furnace in 1991 using heavy gauge A-36 mild steel in the furnace for the firebox and water jacket construction. This choice of steel and other fine features have made our furnaces very efficient, corrosion resistant, and reliable.

Other manufacturers have been using stainless-steel in some or all of their models because of an unacceptable amount of failures to their furnaces due to corrosion and other reasons.

Many of these corrosion problems occur because of their furnace design. Furnaces with chimneys exiting out the top allow creosote to run back into the firebox. This, mixed with ashes, is highly corrosive. Creosote also runs down the side of the chimney causing damage to the outside of the furnace and sometimes results in damage to the water jacket beneath. Our chimney exits out the back of the furnace eliminating these problems. Also, some of their firebox designs are difficult to clean, leaving unwanted ash buildups which leads to corrosion. Our fireboxes are round and very easy to remove all ashes. Our water jackets also incorporate 2" drain plugs on the bottom front and bottom back for 100 percent cleaning. Debris buildup on the bottom of the water jacket is the main culprit for water jacket failure. Other manufacturers do not offer this dual clean out feature to prevent this.

Stainless-steel does have a good reputation for corrosion resistance especially items made from it that we use around the home that we are familiar with. Most people assume, because of this, that all stainless steels are the same but they are not. Some manufacturers of stainless-steel outdoor wood furnaces, claim through their own research, that the type of stainless they use is best suited for this application. Then why are these same manufacturers using several different types of stainless among them? Stainless-steel types are made for specific applications. You would think there would be one type of stainless-steel specifically suited for outdoor wood furnaces. Because of this and with insufficient long-term research and testing, stainless steel used in outdoor wood furnaces, in our opinion, remains new and unproven in many aspects.

Here is some information and facts about stainless-steel you should consider:

No. 1) Stainless is not 100% corrosion proof. Don't be misled. Some stainless steels offer more corrosion resistance than others.

No. 2) Stainless is a very poor heat conductor. It does not transfer heat as well as mild steel resulting in using more wood.

No. 3) After years of heating and cooling, which causes expansion and contraction, stainless steel has a tendency, under certain circumstances, to crack or tear and become brittle. This problem is made even worse because the thickness of stainless-steel used in these furnaces is usually twice as thin as what is used in mild steel furnaces. Type of stainless steel used is also a major factor.

No. 4) Most manufacturers have not had a stainless-steel furnace on the market long enough to say it will last longer than a properly maintained high-quality mild steel furnace.

No. 5) The cost? Much higher. For example: The money you would save by purchasing a mild steel furnace would pay for some or all of your installation costs or several years supply of firewood.

No. 6) Warranty coverage. Most stainless-steel furnace manufacturers offer a limited warranty, which is pro-rated and is basically the same warranty as offered on mild steel furnaces. If stainless steel is so reliable and maintenance free, why don't these same manufacturers offer a unlimited warranty which would cover 100% of all warranty repairs in this time frame such as corrosion, workmanship, parts, labor, shipping and freight? The customer, in most cases, will pay some or all of these repair costs under this warranty.

No. 7) Repairs needed to firebox and water jacket after warranty expires. This will be expensive. It requires special equipment, materials, and expertise in repairing stainless. Not everyone, except the manufacturer or an equivalent in this field, is qualified to do these repairs. Mild steel repair does not present these problems since it is more widely used and repair service is more readily available and reasonable.

Buying and installing an outdoor wood furnace is an investment. Know what you're buying! We're confident that we have a furnace to suit your needs at Northland Outdoor Wood Furnaces.