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In this day in age when economic woes flood the headlines and more and more people struggle to pay their bills, Ervin Benner has it figured out.
"Back when we were busy, you didn't pay attention to it, you paid the bills and moved on," Benner said. "Now you have to watch your money because the economy is slow, and that's right off the top of your pocket."
Benner owns Terhune Body & Frame Shop in Shelbyville, and he has implemented a way to cut his yearly gas expenses by thousands.
Just outside the building sits the WoodMaster, a wood stove that heats his nearly 8,000-square-foot shop.
The stove is loaded with wood twice a day, and Benner said it heats water to around 180 degrees before turning its fans off and letting the fire smolder. This lets the wood last longer, and when the water drops to 140 degrees, the fans kick back on and gives the fire oxygen to grow stronger.
From there, two lines run the heated water through the shop to two heater fans.
"It's good, clean heat," he said.
The heaters' thermostats are currently set so the fans will come on as needed to keep a 70- degree temperature circulating throughout the shop. Using this method instead of gas has been beneficial to Benner's pocketbook.
"If we still had to pay that big gas bill, I don't know what we'd do right now," he said. "I probably saved about $9,000 last year alone."
With the economy the way it is, business is slow, so he said the savings from this form of heat go right back into the company. In fact, the investment paid for itself in a year.
"I saved enough last year to pay for the stove," he said.
Last year he bought his wood from Taylorsville. To heat his shop for the entire year, he spent only $500 on wood.
He also has a farm where he can get wood, but so far this year he's received a sufficient supply of wood from tree trimming businesses and people who just want to get rid of their wood.
He said he guesses he gets 10--to-12 rigs full a year.
The bake booths and office are the only parts of the building still heated by gas. The bake rooms require gas because the temperature in them is altered so much, but he said he has plans to connect the office to the WoodMaster as well.
Just last weekend he installed a second heater in the shop, which he said is warmer now than it was when they were using gas because they couldn't afford to turn the thermostat up very high. The WoodMaster was an investment he said he's glad he made.
"I wish I had done it 10 years ago," he said.
"I'm going to put one in my home next year."