Strawbale Farms Blog Posts

Firing Up the Furnace

The first day of autumn is September 22 and winter is just around the corner. Temperatures are already dropping pretty low at night. So, it’s that time of year again; time to start preparing the outdoor wood furnace! But, before you fire it up or look into a new boiler for your home, there are a variety of tips to keeping your outdoor wood furnace in good shape all season long.

Outdoor Wood Furnace Minneapolis

As an outdoor wood furnace owner near Minneapolis, you know all too well how important it is to the warmth and well-being of your home. That’s why Strawbale Farms would like to offer a few tips as well as a few great benefits to owning a Portage & Main Boiler this time of year.


At the start of heating season, excess boiler water should be drained off before starting the boiler. It should be kept for use as “top up” water as it is already treated with boiler treatment for proper pH, Nitirites and conductivity levels.

Also consider your wood fuel. Burn dry seasoned wood. Wood is a type of hydrocarbon, and common properties of hydrocarbons are; they produce steam, carbon dioxide and heat during combustion. Therefore, the dryer the wood the less moisture is created during the combustion process. Wood can/should be seasoning all spring/summer. Some wood types like oak actually require two seasons.


Keep your boiler, fire chamber, heat exchanger and ash collection area clean and dry. Check and clean regularly, even if it is the off season. When cleaning your furnace, pay attention to the heat exchanger. The cleaner it is the more efficient the boiler will be.

Firing Up the Unit

Build a small fire, and add wood as needed. Be sure pumps are circulating when firing the furnace.

Heat Control

Outdoor wood boilers also have an aquastat control that keeps the water temperature at a constant level, which is difficult to achieve with an indoor woodstove or fireplace.

Each product we sell provides the heat you need with much less firewood than conventional stoves. Energy efficiency is one of the best benefits to owning a Portage & Main outdoor wood boiler; there are many other great benefits as well!

If you have questions about firing up your outdoor wood furnace near Minneapolis this fall, do not hesitate to give us a call. Call Strawbale Farms today at 715-214-6683 or Contact Us for more information.

Going Solar: Solar Solutions from Strawbale Farms/Next Energy Solution

Eliminate high electric bills for life with a high quality solar electric system. Home, farm and business owners across Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan’s upper Peninsula are realizing the many incredible benefits of solar energy and Strawbale Farms/NES is here to provide simple and affordable solutions! So it is our pleasure to offer solar electric systems tailored to your needs. Our most popular package is our RTI (ready-to-install) system that includes all the panels, rails, mounting hardware, disconnects, inverter, installation instructions, wiring diagrams and technical support so you can install the system quickly and easily yourself and save money! Remember all tools purchased for the installation of a solar electric system are also eligible for the 30% federal tax rebate. Our next package is our Electrician Ready, where we do the full installation up to the wiring of the disconnect and inverter and the customer hires their own electrician to finish the job. We also offer full turnkey systems where we do all the work. In all cases NES helps you with the paperwork for the interconnection agreement with your electric

There are so many benefits to choosing solar electric for your farm, home or business. Whether your electric load is big or small we work to help you achieve your energy goals. Discover true energy independence and savings with a solar electric system from Strawbale Farms/ Next Energy Solution. Some benefits include:

  • Maintenance-Free Operation
  • Faster Paybacks 2 to 4 Year Average
  • Thirty-Year Performance Warranty
  • Increased Property Resale Value, Approximately Three Dollars Per Installed Watt
  • Energy Independence for Life
  • 5K W Systems and Stall and Only 3 to 5 Hours
  • High 98.5% Efficiency Systems
  • Eligible for 30% federal tax rebate! Also May Be Eligible For Other Rebates through your Utility
  • Excellent financing packages available. Please Call for More Information

Once your solar electric system is installed, it can reliably generate free electricity for 40 years or more. And, a solar electric system can increase the resale value of your property by about $15,000 for every 5KW in system size and solar electric systems are not taxable on your property taxes. Whatever your solar energy needs may be, we will work with you to find a solution. Dave Jacoby from Strawbale Farms will come directly to your property to take a look at your home, farm or business and help determine what solar electric products will work best for you. We offer a variety of solar panel specifications, battery specifications and inverter specifications to suit your specific location.

We provide a variety of solar solutions including solar generators for remote power:
Are you a contractor? Have a cabin in the woods? Fishing or deer camp? Just need dependable portable electricity? If so, check out our solar generators!
Benefits of our solar generator:

  • Patent pending “all-in-one” plug-and-play design
  • Pure sign inverter runs : lights, refrigeration, electronics and more!
  • Maintenance-Free – no gas, fumes or noise
  • Qualifies for 30% federal tax credit
  • NES solar generator has lower operation cost than a gas generator
  • Smart design allows for future expansion to fit growing energy needs
  • Portable design puts power where you need it
  • Excellent Financing Packages Available. Please call for more information

Why pay the utility company when you can pay yourself by generating your own electricity? Next Energy Solution’s solar electric systems are easy to install so we can get you on the road to energy independence and efficiency in no time!

Learn more about solar electric for your farm, home or business today! Call
Strawbale Farms at (715) 214-6683 or Contact Us to learn more.

A Wood Boiler for Your Modern Homestead

These days, the desire to go off-grid or partially off-grid and provide the home with energy efficient heating is ever-growing. As many of us choose to leave the suburbs and create a homestead closer to nature, the need for a more independent heating source continues to grow. Luckily, there is an answer for many Minnesota residents; wood boilers. Heating with wood is the best choice for the modern homestead, and it’s more convenient and cost effective than ever.

wood boilers

When compared to heating with propane or oil, burning wood in a highly efficient Portage & Main Wood Boiler can reduce your heating costs greatly, and much more if you harvest your own fuel. And, these aren’t the wood boilers of yester-year; wood boilers have come a long way over the years. At Strawbale Farms, our many years of experience in the renewable energy industry have given us the ability to know efficiency results when we see them. And, it is our pleasure to offer the most innovative line of wood boilers on the market today.

An outdoor wood boiler is a straightforward way to heat your home or business. Keep it burning and keep things warm. You only need to manually feed your boiler once a day or even every couple of days. And, you don’t need to rely on “the grid” for your home’s heat.

So, this summer, complete your homestead with a wood boiler and have it up and running before autumn hits. Having heat during the winter months is not an option but a requirement for obvious reasons and the warmth of wood boilers is a natural fit for off-grid heat. Wood is inexpensive, readily available, and a green, renewable fuel. Wood boilers make some of the best options in home heating since they are highly efficient, clean burning, safe and convenient to use. But, it is also important to keep in mind that you must keep the heat in once you’ve made it. Proper insulation is essential to avoid the loss of heat.

Outdoor wood boilers take up zero living space and are extremely cost-effective. Our Portage & Main Boilers are known as the “Original Efficient One” and are the most efficient wood boilers in the industry. And, since these units are placed outdoors, there is less concern regarding fire and smoke hazards.

If you would like more information about wood boilers for your home or business, call Strawbale Farms at 715-214-6683 or Contact Us today! We would love to speak with you and help you find the right product for your needs.

The Benefits of Owning an Outdoor Wood Boiler

As a renewable energy company, we are fully familiar with the many benefits of owning an outdoor wood boiler. Wisconsin has some pretty intense winters and the heating of homes and businesses can become pretty pricey. But there is a solution! Outdoor wood boilers. While sky-high propane, electric and oil prices are causing hardships for many businesses and homeowners, they’re also helping generate interest in renewable alternatives such as wood. At Strawbale Farms, we are focused on just that; biomass heating and energy efficiency. We sell Portage & Main outdoor wood boilers; one of the longest lasting and best built boilers in the industry.

Outdoor Wood Boiler

In addition to the outdoor wood boilers, we also sell other Portage & Main boilers, including ones that burn coal, wood chips and pellets. Each product we sell provides the needed energy for heat with the use of much less firewood or coal than conventional stoves. While energy efficiency is one of the very best benefits to owning an outdoor wood boiler, there are many other benefits including:

  • Safety. Since these units are placed outdoors, there is less concern regarding fire and smoke hazards.
  • It’s cleaner. With the unit outside, smoke, soot, and ash are eliminated, and dryness is reduced in the buildings. And, if you are looking to go “green”; with an outdoor wood boiler as your home heating source you no longer need to use fossil fuels to supply you with heat.
  • Heat control. Outdoor wood boilers also have a thermostat control that keeps the heat at a constant level, which is sometimes difficult to achieve with an indoor woodstove or fireplace.
  • Affordability. Wood, pellets and coal are cheap in comparison to more “conventional” heating sources. Burning wood can be a clean, inexpensive and safe way to heat your home.
  • Simplicity. An outdoor wood boiler is a straightforward way to heat your home or business. Keep it burning and keep things warm. You only need to manually feed your boiler once a day or even every couple of days. And, you don’t need to rely on “the grid” for your home’s heat. It’s ideal for those looking to live off the grid and take control of their own energy.

And, these are just a few of the great reasons to choose an outdoor wood boiler for your Wisconsin home! If you would like more information about outdoor wood furnaces for your home or business, call Strawbale Farms at 715-214-6683 or Contact Us today! We would love to speak with you and help you find the right product for your needs.

Launch of the New Strawbale Farms Website

As a locally owned and operated business in Trego, Wisconsin, we at Strawbale Farms have always prided ourselves on our work, illustrating why we’re the biggest distributor of Portage & Main Outdoor Boilers.

Because of the pride we take in our work, we’re happy to today launch our new website featuring our blog, catalog and customer profiles. It will be frequently updated with information on outdoor boilers and accessories. We will also use our site to showcase our customers, past and present, that rely on our boilers every day.

Not familiar with Strawbale Farms? Please visit ourAbout Us page for more information onour company and the products and services we offer. We look forward to working with you!

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