Betschner offers a more efficient outdoor wood boiler

12 years ago
Heatmor Products to be featured at Southern Aroostook Trade Show
By Gloria Austin
Staff Writer

    As the cost of fuel oil rose, so did the production of outdoor wood boilers.


Pioneer Times photograph/Gloria Austin

LONGSTANDING PRODUCT — Rob Betschner of Town Line Wood Heat in Oakfield displays one of the three models of outdoor wood boilers. Betschner deals in Heatmor products, with financing available, stocking three models that range from $9,000 to $13,500. Betschner offers free estimates.

    “When we started seven years ago, there used to be a large selection of boilers on the market,” said Rob Betschner, owner of Town Line Wood Heat in Oakfield.


    Now with the emissions regulations, consumers are limited to three or four outdoor furnace models.

    “Since the wood boilers have been regulated, there are not a lot of competitors,” said Betschner. “So, I figured now was a good time to expand the business to get more exposure and try to boost sales.”

    This weekend, Betschner will have his line of outdoor wood boilers at the Houlton Agricultural Trade Show at the Millar Civic Center. He is just coming off participating in the Presque Isle Sportsman’s Show earlier this month.

    “There was a lot of interest this year because of the price of oil,” he said. “Everyone is looking for some source of  heat to cut costs.”

    Betschner attends three shows a year, finishing with the 10-day Northern Maine Fair in Presque Isle.

    “You usually don’t make a sale right there,” he said. “It usually comes down the road. The shows are a way for people to become more educated on the boilers and an opportunity to see the product first hand. I even have people who own different products asking me about ours and telling me the concerns they have on their own.”

    Betschner deals in Heatmor products, with financing available, stocking three models that range from $9,000 to $13,500. Betschner offers free estimates.

    If a person is going to invest money into an outdoor wood boiler, Betschner suggests reading the fine print for warranty coverage.

    “The warranty is important,” he said. “People need to do their homework to see what it takes to maintain a warranty. We (Heatmor) feel we have the best life time warranty on the market.”

    The Heatmor outdoor wood boilers are now 87 to 89 percent efficient, almost doubling the efficiency of the boiler when they first hit the market.

    “They were only about 45 percent efficient,” explained Betschner. “Now, they burn about half the wood they used to. They are stainless steel and can burn seasoned or unseasoned wood.”

    Betschner and a few coworkers began researching outdoor wood boilers on their own, as they were looking for an alternative to high heating costs.

    “We didn’t know anything about outdoor wood boilers, but we went around and asked questions and looked at the products out there at the time,” he said. “We  knew it was an investment. We looked them all over and decided to go with (Heatmor). We were happy with this one.”

    Each person bought a Heatmor outdoor wood boiler for their own personal use and Betschner believes in the product so much he is a subdealer.

    “My boiler owes me nothing,” he said. “I have burned maybe 100 gallons of fuel going on seven years. There is no maintenance to them. You don’t have a chimney to clean, no bugs, no smoke and no mess in the house. You throw the wood in and walk away.”

    Betschner noted that his wife has only had to put wood on it once or twice when he goes to hunting camp.

    “You fill it in the morning and put wood on it when you go to bed when it is really cold,” he said. “I have the old style, it’s only about 45 percent efficient and I burn 12 cord a year.”

    The Heatmor wood boilers have a burn time of 10 to 14 hours depending on how much you are planning to heat.

    “The new stoves today can be installed 50 feet from a neighbor’s house or property line,” Betschner said. “The stack temperature is under 300 degrees.”

    The outdoor wood boiler is piped into the house underground and run year-round to heat the home and water.

    “I understand people’s concerns,” said Betschner on the smell and fumes. “It’s totally understandable.  But, the new stoves have a little bit of smoke, but not much.”

    Heatmor has been in business for close to 30 years and are still making the same boiler with modifications for emissions for efficiency. Referring to the rash of outdoor wood boilers when they first came out, Betschner asks, “Who is in it now? Who do you go to when you need a part? We’ve been in business and we are staying in business.”

    Town Line Wood Heat will not only stock boilers, but parts, as well.

    “I carry parts for our boilers, plus I carry parts for the other boilers out there,” he said. “We also have pellet wood boilers, too. People can have a choice.”

    Town Line Wood Heat is located near Katahdin Forest Products on the Oakfield/Smyrna Road in Oakfield. Anyone interested in Heatmor products can call 267-1637 or 757-8012.

Pioneer Times photograph/Gloria Austin

OPEN FOR BUSINESS — After seven years of running his business from his home, Rob Betschner has opened a shop on the Oakfield/Smyrna Road in Oakfield called Town Line Wood Heat.