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At Radcliffe Homes & Remodeling –


As a Polar dealer, I say “Why buy old technology when you can have new technology that is just as easy to operate using ½ the wood?”
Polar Furnace G–Class, a model that will perform clean and simple. Not your conventional wood furnace.


by Leslie Radcliffe– business owner, consumer


As the chilly winds of fall were blowing late last year and I remembered the high propane prices from the previous winter, I made the decision to purchase an outdoor wood furnace to heat my home, office and shop. However, I did not buy the typical outdoor wood furnace most people are familiar with, which was developed 30 plus years ago in the late 70 and early 80s. These units are known as conventional or old style outdoor wood stoves. Instead I opted to invest in more recent outdoor wood burning technology because of the many benefits I had become convinced these units offered. These newer outdoor furnaces are commonly known as gasifiers, high efficiency or downdraft outdoor furnaces.


I am Les Radcliffe, owner of Radcliffe Homes Inc. in Stewartville, MN and wood burning in my family goes back at least a few generations. When I was in high school, my Dad and I built a wood stove. The unit we built held up well and when Dad stopped using the stove I moved it to my own place and used it to heat my shop. Last year I finally replaced that old wood stove with a Polar Furnace G-CLASS G3 downdraft furnace. As someone who burns wood, I have always been interested in different wood burning stoves and technology. I remember being intrigued when I first came across the outdoor wood stove concept over 10 years ago. The concept made good sense to me for a couple reasons. The wood and associated dust, dirt and bugs are moved outside. Also, the wood pile can be right next to the unit and doesn’t need to be hauled inside or downstairs for loading into the furnace. Moving the fire out of the house or shop also made a lot of sense from a safety point of view. However, as I visited with a few outdoor wood stove owners, I concluded these old style furnaces burned far too much wood and had to be very inefficient.  I subsequently lost interest in the concept and didn’t think about these units seriously again for several years.


I was visiting Haven Industries last year when I noticed 4 outdoor wood furnaces in their lot. I inquired about them and learned that the units were manufactured by Polar Furnace in Canada. Two of the units were the old style conventional and two were the newer downdraft G-Series furnaces. They appeared to be very well made and the fact that I had paid close to $5.00 a gallon for propane the year before helped peaked my interest in this type of wood heater again. 


I visited the Polar Website and called the toll free phone number and was given information but remained unconvinced to get an outdoor furnace. I continued googling and visiting websites and was soon overwhelmed with information from the various manufacturers. Attending the Agri News Farm Show, I visited with an outdoor wood furnace dealer displaying at the show. He was displaying a conventional furnace which like the Polar products seemed to be really well built. However, unlike Polar they did not promote their gasification models at all. This I found to be the case with all the other outdoor furnace manufacturers I contacted. Everybody it seemed wanted to sell the old technology and didn’t seem comfortable selling their gasification models. I researched some more and finally decided to go with a Polar G-CLASS furnace. Before buying I visited the factory and came away even more convinced that I wanted to go with the G-CLASS. In fact I was so impressed I decided to inquire about a dealership and quickly sold 2 more furnaces in my neighborhood. So far I have burned my G-Class G3 model for 1 season and can honestly say the ease of use and performance of the product has exceeded my expectations.


While researching gasifiers last year, I looked at initial cost, ease of operation, efficiency of the product, and build quality. The Polar units are priced very competitively and after 1 year of use I know the units are as easy to operate and are as efficient as reported. The 14 years experience the engineers at Polar Furnace have designing and building gasifiers was clearly on display when I was inspecting the G-CLASS furnaces at the Polar factory. During the factory visit it became very apparent that the ultra modern manufacturing facility and stringent quality control produced a high quality product. As we toured the factory and met with the different personnel assembling product I got the sense that the workers were very conscientious and meticulous in their work. Later I discovered the manufacturing facility is ISO-9001 certified which is an internationally recognized quality management system. Also, all the welders are CWB certified, which is a welding quality management system also internationally recognized. All the Polar products are CSA and UL safety approved. I was interested and intrigued by the fact that the G-CLASS products were also CSA and UL approved for installation indoors. This only spoke quality to me. In fact, I actually ended up deciding to install my furnace inside my shop where my previous shop stove had been located.


“When I compare notes with people using conventional furnaces and a similar heat load, I find they burn double the amount of wood.” 


Once I had my unit installed and operating, I found that the air delivery and combustion system never need to be adjusted. No fiddling, It was simply "set and forget", and combustion is very stable and constant. I also appreciated the Smoke X-Tract feature which eliminates smoke from getting in your face and building when loading the fire chamber. Maintaining the furnace proved simple as well. There was very little ash to clean from the combustion chambers since the combustion of the wood is so complete. With the EASY SWEEP feature there is no need to open doors or panels and scrub flues with a brush to maintain optimal heat exchanger efficiency. The STRONGWALL™ liner and VOR-TECH™  secondary burn chamber create the right conditions for burning temperatures between 1700 and 2100 F. At these high temperatures, the furnace burns the gas and smoke so completely that the only visible emission from the chimney is water vapor. Never is there a sign of smoke except for sometimes during startup for a minute or two. Stack temperatures hover around 280 F which is as low as stack temps can go in wood boilers before starting to cause condensation problems. The complete high temperature burn and efficient heat exchanger result in a very efficient furnace. Last winter, I heated 7777 sq ft of floor space and all my domestic hot water with 13.3 bush cords of wood and had zero problems. When I compare notes with people using conventional furnaces and a similar heat load, I find they burned double the amount of wood I used last year and sometimes even more. I am anxious to see what the next heating season will be like as much of the wood I used in the past year was seasoned but poor quality box elder with much of it dead and decayed. I expect my wood consumption to be lower yet!


With the new EPA NSPS rules requiring lower emissions coming into effect January 1, 2016 all conventional outdoor furnaces will no longer be manufactured since they can not meet the lower emission limits. Competitive brands seem to realize they do not have gasification models that will perform trouble free and all are pushing the old style conventional technology from 30ish years ago hard.


After experiencing the G-Class for a full heating season I can’t think of a single reason not to use the Polar gasification furnace. I say Why buy old technology when you can have new technology that is as easy and more comfortable to operate using ½ as much wood?”


If you want to know more about the product, don’t hesitate to contact me @ ….


The Polar Furnace video above is our introduction of this superior wood furnace product. Watch Now!

6885 County Road 6 SW
Stewartville, MN 55976



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Tel: 507-533-8295 Fax: 507-533-7865

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