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anyone heat with corn?

Posted by gourd_friends z5/6 IL (My Page) on
Wed, Nov 17, 04 at 21:39

Hi,
We are looking at corn burning heat stoves, any opinions or information you'd care to share?

Jan


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: anyone heat with corn?

A corn burning heat stove is designed to burn shelled corn.
Corn burns hotter than wood. Corn is an annual, renewable resource that is in plentiful supply. Our stove will be delivered in about two weeks and we will have about 120 bushels of corn outside the back door for a ready supply.
We will load the hopper with a five-gallon bucket of corn once every 24 hours during the coldest days. There is a heat regulator so we can adjust it for warmer or colder days. Our home is a fairly open design and with the stove in a central location, it will easily heat all rooms. No chimney....it is direct vented outside, and it didn't raise our insurance as a wood-burner would.

We will use a minimum of propane for cooking and heating water.....less than 250 gallon a year. No cutting down trees, chopping wood or buying loads of wood.

Oh yeah, another thing.......we needed a base for the stove.....DH works at a large home improvement store and brings home boxes of whatever is being discontinued at the moment.....he happened to bring home a variety of marble sample blocks.......they are going to make a beautiful base.

Jan


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

At least some if not all the corn burners have some sort of hopper that feeds the corn and I believe requires electricity. So you have to make sure that you have a generator if your electric goes out.
Mary


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

Some of them have a battery backup. It trickle charges whle you have the unit plugged in and the electricity is working. If your source of electricity goes off, then the backup kicks in, but I don't know how long it will run like this. Still, in an emergency situation you would just use one of the batteries from one of your vehicles for a while. Corn is about $5 a bushel up here in the Pac NW and so I don't think the corn solution is as financially attractive as in the Midwest. I still like the idea, though, of telling the oil industry to "stick it".


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

Yes, son's Quadrafire pellet insert stove can be used to burn corn but here in the SW corn would be more $$ than the pellets he gets from Home Depot. This stove is automatic (can burn on a hopper full for ? 72hrs.)and on a thermostat and puts out a flame similar to a fireplace but more efficient. Anyone else had experience with this brand/model? Having to be a fireplace insert it cut down the choices for him but he is pleased with the "Quadrafire" and this is the second season of use for him. The pellet stove and a solar panel really cuts down on the natural gas furnace use!


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

Hi Dan, thanks for your comments.
We finally got our corn burner last Wednesday and it has been warming our home since Thursday morning.
We did quite a bit of research before choosing our corn burner and are well satisfied with our choice.
We chose it because: we don't have our own wood to chop, don't have the time or energy to chop wood, corn is plentiful in our neighborhood and the neighbor even loaned us the wagon to keep it in, and, again, it is an annually renewable resource.
We are enjoying the constant warmth from our stove, and aren't worrying about the high, unpredictable cost of propane.
I haven't read your reviews as yet, but will get to them later.

Thanks again,
Jan


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

Corn as fuel might be okay for a few people in special locations (right in corn growing areas), but I am far from convinced that mining the topsoil and using pesticides, fertilizers, and fuel-guzzling machinery to grow corn just to BURN it is at all good idea.

Wood as fuel, OTOH, grows on its own without tractors or fertilizers even on the poorest soils.

Just my 2 cents.


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

I have been heating with a corn fueled boiler for about three weeks now. It has been going pretty well and I am making up some web pages with some information about what we are doing and any other information. Just follow the link url. I hope to have comparison information up as well, once we get a little more data and a couple of months of gas/electric bills.

Here is a link that might be useful: Our Corn Heat Experience


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

  • Posted by rad_win z7 Md Baltimore (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 25, 05 at 16:11

I have heard that some corn stoves are "multi-fuel" stoves. This means they can burn other dense, high calorie, small items, like grain, cherry pits, or olive pits. Does anybody have experience with these, I imagine some one with a cherry orchard and pitting machine could take care of their fuel.
Rob


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

Rad, those with a cherry orchard and a pitting machine are few and far between. The pitted cherrries would have to be sold in order to make it profitable and that is not easy to do. I know, I grow cherries. I believe it best to burn whatever is cheapest in your area. Perhaps corn in IL and wood in OR and use the sun in AZ. As for myself, I am going to set aside about a quarter acre to grow Black Locust trees. The fruit trees I grow do not provide enough wood and they take a lot of trimming of side limbs. Black Locust grows quickly and without many side limbs. You do need a strain that doesn't have thorns, however.
I hope I am wrong, but I think that we are just starting to see the rise of energy prices. A friend in London tells me they pay the equivalent of US$7 per gallon of gasoline.


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

vieja, which model of the Quadrafire does he have?


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

I suppose all fuels have pros and cons. I heat with wood.In just about every state tons of wood is burned every year just to dispose of it so i attempt to divert that heat to my home with 0 environmental impact since whether it burns or decays it produces co2. For me it seems a waste to burn corn which could be used either as food or to produce food when so much wood and coal which is not easily used for food or conversion to food is lying around. Just my opinion. corn is also a variable priced commodity so when calculating cost you may want to look at a 5 or ten year average price. It is probably best suited to corn producers who get the tax benefit of not selling the corn to buy fuel with taxed dollars. the cheapest form of purchased heat is still coal but availability and transport may be a problem as well as the mechanics of using it. burning corn also would have the effect of increasing the price of it as food or feed, much more benefit to a producer than non producer.


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

i have a quadrafire model 1200 it will and has burned corn, wood pellets, and a mixture of both. i live in wisconsin corn is not a problem except storing it. if you decied to burn corn get a stove that has a auger in the burn pot to break up the klinker, my quadrafire does not. don't get me wrong i love this machine as a heat source. it is centraly located and is the main source of heat for my two story house. there is a product you can add to the corn that helps elimanate the klinkers, it's a powder about $25 for a 2olb bag that should last all winter. i like the flame you get with corn and i believe it gives off more heat than pellets, but i could be wrong. haha just my 2 cents worth


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

I currently have an American Energy Systems Countryside corn stove on order. I was supposed to get it 2 weeks ago, but as you can imagine, the demand for these things is crazy here in Minnesota. (anyone know where I can get one now?) I have done quite a bit of research on these things and the Countryside seems like a pretty good option. I did see the quadrafire, but the lack of a stiring system to break up clinkers turned me away. The Harman also looks good, but I can't find anyone who is supposed to get one in stock anytime soon. I have about 3000 square feet to heat. I'm not expecting to heat the whole house, but I will keep the furnace blower on to help distribute the heat. Can anyone else share examples of how many square feet they heat with their corn stove? I'm really getting into this corn burning thing. I can't wait to get my new stove. Also, I will be doing my own install. Any good ideas on where to get the vent pipe? I haven't looked into this yet, but I guess that I need PL venting pipe. Black preferrably. Thanks for any input!!!


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

We've had our Whitfield pellet stove for around 10 years. I saw the corn burning stoves on CNN yesterday and it looks like the same setup. Anybody tried corn in one of these?

We added the stove when we enclosed our carport to make a den (26'x23') and the pellet stove heats the room just fine. My pellets run $3.99/40 lb. sack and I get a $50.00 discount if I buy a ton at one time. I expect them to increase in price and corn might actually be cheaper if it will work. Might be worthwhile just to try some! I'd appreciate hearing any experiences you might have had.


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

Ted

I am heating a 1600 sq ft ranch and 1600 sq ft of partially finished basement = 3200 sq ft. I have an Amaizablaze Cherakee. It has been working good, but there is maintainance with it. My biggest problem has been pieces of stalk clogging the auger. I have corn directly fed into the stoves hopper by a PVC pipe connected to a gravity box outside so cleaning the corn has been a little difficult.

As far as the pipe, I think corn burners need a little heavier pipe than pellet stoves, not sure though.


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

DO you use the cobs , the kernals or both ? The cobs were used as fuel as well as in the smokehouse In the 1800's.
see Eric Sloan's "The Age Of Barns".


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

Just a reminder to those who think burning with corn is a waste or burden on the environment... the corn used as fuel is most often corn that is too poor of a grade for human consumption or or animal feed. Rather it's a biomass that utilizes the waste of an industry.


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

The lowest grade corn is still suited to animal feed. the only corn unsuitable for feed would be moldy or chemicly contaminated. Most all corn burned is quite suitable for more conventional uses. If corn is unsuitable for feed it is quite possibly also not suited for burning such as wet and moldy or infested with insects that are problematic for the type animal being fed. Also beware of insect and moisture issues if you plan on storing over multiple seasons. Corn may be a suitable fuel for some, but all fuels have some pro's and cons so do the reseach and avoid falling for the hype of the machine peddlers. If a universally ideal solution to the need for heat existed you would not see so many options.


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

We've been heating with corn about 3 months. Gas bill for Dec. $80.00 (should have been $250-$300) burned about $70.00 worth of corn. I like $100-$150 savings.Some grain people waste more than I can burn in a season. I know I live in Iowa I see it every day.(markapp) is right, it needs to be good corn.(#2 yellow corn 15% or dryer).


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

I have been burning 16.9% corn all winter. It hasnt been too bad. The biggest problem was getting the weed seed and fines screened out. Moisture isnt as important as a good test weight..58 or better is ideal. Since the middle of Oct I have only used about 80bu of corn and 59 gallons of propane. Usually I would have gone through about 500 gal. propane so far this winter.

farmfreedom

Only the kernal is burned for heat, although I usually have some pieces of cob that are mixed in. They burn good, but dont have many BTU's.

Storage has not been a problem at all. I have a gravity box outside with a 3"PVC pipe going from the box through the basement wall directly into the hopper on the corn burner. A change I made is to have a screen with 1/4" hardware cloth between the pipe and the hopper to screen the corn. The screenings fall into a box and so far has been very clean. I will feed the screenings to the chickens so there is no waste.

Using this system I have not hauled a single kernal of corn down the steps all year. Does anyone else have a system like this? I have had to made alot of "tweaks" top overcome small problems but its now working great.


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

Interested in misoilman post on the outside gravity box. I am assuming you are using corn directly from the field and the 1/4" screen is letting all small debris fall though. How are you seperating the larger unwanted debris: stalks, cobs etc., before they enter into the stove hopper?


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

tyler

Yes this is field run corn. It went from the combine right into the box. Moisture is on the high side. Next year I will get dried corn.

The screen lets all the small stuff fall through. Then as I push it along the screen into the hopper I vacum out the big pieces (stalk, cob, ect..). I built a big elaborate box to use with a shop-vac to clean the corn, but the box was too big to get enough suction inside. I tossed the box, then thought up the screen setup. No problems since then.

My stove is pretty picky about debris in the corn, the auger gets blocked pretty easy. I am going to set up another screen with 1/2" holes to clean out the big stuff. The corn will fall throught the big screen, then hit the small screen, then go into the hopper. I will try to take a few pictures of the set-up.


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

Thanks for your prompt response. I could not respond back until now due to a login issue. Yes I would like to see your setup once it is done. This sounds similar to what I want to do. my direct email is: hunter@ctcn.net .


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

In the following paragraph you will find a completely inacurrate qoute from a previous post. True, Corn is a good source of heat, but no one is burning "waste corn". The better the grade of corn, the more energy it will release when burned. So, actually, the better grades of corn make better heating fuel. Complete opposite of what the person below said..........

Quote from a previous post .... " the corn used as fuel is most often corn that is too poor of a grade for human consumption or or animal feed. Rather it's a biomass that utilizes the waste of an industry. "


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

We've been running our St. Croix Lancaster for a little more than a week now. This is so cool, I should have got one years ago. It heats our 1900 sq ft two story house very well even on the lowest setting.

Thousands of bushels of corn go to waste every year. Hunger doesnt have anything to do with the availability of any food source but rather the economic cost of that food source. The farmer can't give his corn to those who can't afford to buy it. Corn is subsidized because more is produced than market is willing to buy. Greater demand can only be a good thing.


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

I am very interested in these. I have researched them for the last week and I would love one in my home. I like the Countryside ones the best. They sound like they work the best. Has anyone installed a fireplace insert corn burner? I was just wondering how to do the electrical part of it. Have you installed an actual outlet right into the back of the fireplace or did you just run it along the side to the nearest outlet?

Thanks, Megan


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

A couple of questions/concerns.

One - when stubble (dried up corn stalks) is burned off of the fields it creates harmful smoke that contains residue from the chemicals previously sprayed on the field. Why wouldn't the corn have the same chemical residue when it is burned in the stove?

Two - what about all the chaff? Ever been around a grain elevator, grain trailer, grain cart or combine? Lots of dust there, how about filling the stove? I can just see the chaff flying through the air when you dump your five gallons of corn in the hopper.

Hate To Be Late


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

I really don't have an answer for your first concern, but as for the chaff, it is recommended that you have your corn cleaned or put it through some sort of cleaning process before you bring it into the house. The chaff can be a problem by leaving a charred residue in the corn burning box. We don't have a Klipper brand cleaner, but use a homemade box/table with a hardware cloth bottom to remove most of the chaff. It works for us.

Jan


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

We've been heating (4000 sq/ft) all winter with a amaizablaze 7100. Our natural gas bills have dropped from 350-450$ to 80-100$, plus a 100 bucks for corn. Our house is a very comfortable 68-70 degrees.

With a sealed combustion setup, I believe chemical contact is kept to a minimum.

Personally I would not like to eat field corn.

I also shovelled up corn that the combines dropped when unloading. That was about a month of heating.

I would rather give my money to local farmers than send it to bo oil companies


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

I switched from Propane $450.00 per month to Corn at $80.00 per month. Thats a savings of $370.00 per month. We have a 1600 sq. ft home, and I guess my propane bills might be higher than the norm, but I was tired of paying $450.00 for heat and $275.00 for electric & $100.00 per mo. for water. Nothing I can do about the electric or the water, but the heat sure has made a difference in our money output. We purchase the corn by the ton from a local elevator for $80.00 p/t. Currently we are using a ton per month. I like the fact that you can shut off your corn burner and turn the propane furnace back on if need be. If your thinking about buying a corn burner, here's my savings $370.00 per month x 6 months cold weather (Michigan) = $2,220.00.


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

I have some questions about the free standing corn stoves and would like to get some input.
I would like to put one in our Rec. Room in our Basement and want to be able to heat the whole house. Is it possible to do this without hooking it to the duct work?
I like the idea of the (fireplace) look but want to heat the house at the same time(approx. 1600sqft)
I am thinking of aiming the stove towards the steps leading upstairs. Would this with the fan on from our fuel oil fornace be enough to circulate the heat troughout the whole house?
I am looking at the Harman PC45 or the Magnum Countryside.Any comments would be helpful.


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

I have never been any place where they burn off the corn stubble and I have been to a number of places where corn is grown, including my county. Not saying they don't do it, just that it isn't done everywhere.
I am an organic farmer, and I believe that the chemical residue on the corn is so small as to not be a concern. IMHO


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

does anyone heat with corn pellets? If so what manufactures pellets are you using?


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

I'm sortof late here, but I think we use corn in foolish ways.

Someone before mentioned that there isn't a big demand for corn, and that we need to use it for other purposes and substudize it because of that, I find that to be an ignorant and short sighted argument. The corporate farms are not kind to the earth when they produce corn, even most family farms spray pestcides and herbicides. If there is not enought demand for corn the smart thing to do would be to let the market correct itself and let there be fewer corn producers.

Right now we are useing the kernels of corn we could be eating or turning into beef and we are heating homes and making ethanol, the only reason these two uses are economically viable is because the govt pushes money into them, it takes alot of fuel to make the corn and then they make a slightly larger amount of fuel when they turn it to ethanol, a better idea would be to use the waste (stalks husks and leaves) from corn that we are growing for things to eat and make ethanol, like brazil does. As it is the system does not float on its own, you aren't getting cheap fuel, you are getting fuel that we are all paying for with our tax dollars. No one substudizes the wood fuel industry, wood can be burned just as cheaply, it takes fewer chemicals to produce the same amount of fuel, wood can be produced locally nearly anywere, only places that are very dry cannot produce there own wood, and above all one acre of the apropriat type of trees will always produce more fuel in one season than any other plant. No other type of plant can suck as much energy up as trees, they also reduce errosion, and lower abient summer temps. We need to be planting trees not corn, forestation is hardly ever a bad idea.


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

ignorant and short sighted?

Come on lets be serious. Brazil uses sugar cane? We can't produce sugar cane on the same scale, (with out a mass adjustment to our farming economy.) The government pays farmers to not plant fields, because if corn is overproduced it is not a sustainable crop. If it costs more to grow it then you can sell it for you go broke.

The corn burned is field corn, its not the stuff you put on the dinner table. And there is plenty to go around. If your worried about people going hungry then put a few rows of sweet corn in your back yard and give it to the food bank. And I have never heard of a tanker ship full of corn destroying a Alaskan shoreline.

As more and more family farms convert to Ethanol and refineries come online, it will be a perfectly self sustaining business. Especially when the same farmers are using corn to heat their homes and barns.


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

I think this basically summarizes what is happening. http://www.truthabouttrade.org/article.asp?id=4063

Corn seams to be more of a bridge then an end point. I don't see corn running our cars, or powering our factories 100%... but it easily could heat our houses, small businesses, supplement our oil use by at least 10% in our cars and another 10% over all from our plastics. We gradually can switch over to more useful bio-products as time allows "In theory, any carbon source would work in these new factories". This is just the start for helping countries go from oil (a non renewable, environmentally dangerous product) to completely clean renewable energies. Corn is the start of things to come, it may not be the end point but it is at least a start.

Wood may be a better option for some, but there are defiantly draw backs to using it. If you live in a town or city your supply of wood and storage area to hold it is very limited. Wood is also a dirtier heating source then corn is and requires more upkeep. People just dont want to deal with the hassles associated with it and to be honest I would rather see corn being burned in stoves then coal or other non renewable sources that can destroy our planet and hurt our health. It may have its downsides but it seams to be a good start to a change that is long needed.

Shelled Corn 7000 BTU/lb (16,200 kJ/kg) at 15% Moisture Content
Wood 8000 BTU/lb (18,500 kJ/kg) Air Dried

A good heating wood can take 30 to 40 years to fully mature
Corn can mature in 90 days
Realistically not many are going to grow there own corn or there own wood so commercial harvesting will be used, and both requires oil based machines to be operated.
Pesticides being released is a down side, but genetically engineered corn requires less.
http://www.cornenergysystems.com/PENN State University.htm information has been used from this site and from Penn States site.


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

Corn heat is wonderful! Dried corn is so easy to find too. You can buy a bag at Walmart even. I highly recommend these stoves. They are completely made in the USA. I know of at least one other stove maker that ships in parts from China. They don't pass that savings along to the consumer either. http://cornglo.com/index.html


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

I am interested in talking with anyone in Wisconsin who is buring corn for space heating. Any of you who are willing to talk with me please email me at geo_penn@charter.net and I will be glad to get back to you.

Thank you for your help.

George


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

I'm not sure why the 30 -40 year growth and harvest cycle for wood heat is a drawback compared to intensively farmed faster growing corn. I live on a 2 acre lot and could heat my house entirely with wood from the property. I kill white pines (sooo many of them), heat with red oaks (the dominant species here along with the pines), and replant with black walnut, white ash, hemlocks, and a few others that are less common here (that were more common in ages past).

You clearcut in a cycle, just make sure to chip the treetops and trashwood in place to feed the local fungi and rebuild the soil. Wood can be a long-term solution with (I'm guessing) much less impact than growing corn and the associated chemicals, runoff, and erosion. Yes, it is more physical work and not always an option for folks without land or the means to harvest.

I'm also not sure why one person above is planting black locust. It's merits include high heat value and rot resistance. It's drawbacks include thorns (unless you find a truly thornless strain- and I sort of avoid introducing those genes if not a big part of the local variety gene pool), and the fact that it's a royal PITA to split compared to say- red oak. Red oak has high heat value, high density, splits easily, grows pretty fast.

If you want to plant something- maybe black walnut would be good- you get the walnut food value, the possibility of selling lumber at a serious profit, and the ones that aren't straight enough etc can be burned.

Does locust grow quickly?


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

Just read something on black locust- I had forgotten that it's a legume (fixes nitrogen for itself). It also sprouts directly from the stump. Seems that it is recommended for planting for a firewood lot. We have it here, but not like they do out midwest-west. It was introduced here for a fence-species.


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

just wanting to know if anyone has vented a corn stove thru an outside uninsulated wall and if so have you had any condensation problems? Would it be advisable to insulate thru wall thimble with fireproof insulation?


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

I have had an amaizablaze 4100 model since october. biggest single home improvement disappointment I have ever made. will never tell anyone to buy one. we have to do maintainance on it on a daily basis and it's filled our house full of smoke 4 times. the smoke is rolling back up through the corn hopper. the dealer has looked at it. can't figure it out. it's suppose to heat 2000 sq feet. wont heat our living room and dining room (600 sq ft) over 60 degrees. I've screened it completely clean (even using a seive by hand). Still trying to get our money back. it's garbage. wont ever buy one again. everyone in our area (northern MI) is having the same problems with their stoves. Not enough heat and they are constantly breaking down.


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

This is our second year using corn almost exclusively for heat -- except on the coldest, sub-zero nights when we use our boiler as a backup. We have a Bixby 110 stove. With this year's prices, I'm not sure it's any cheaper than gas--maybe a little--but it's still the way we're committed to going, feeding the neighbors' families with our fuel dollars, and not depleting petroleum resources.

I found a gravity box wagon at Northern Tool that holds 25 bushels, and I use a large floor fan to blow off dust and smaller particles as the corn flows into one-bushel plastic bins which I carry to the basement. We're seriously considering buying a corn-fired boiler and hook it up to our already existing hot-water baseboard system. We're surrounded by corn in our little town, and it's the only way to go for us. We also drive an ethanol-fueled Ford Ranger.

It's a little more work cleaning the stove from time to time, but worth every moment as far as we're concerned.


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

Thanks to all. Very interesting reading. We have electric heat for our 4000 sq. ft. home which is very well insulated. Our last electric bill was $780. for the month of January. December's was at a lower rate and, of course the temperatures were milder...but it was $410. Our hot water is on a timer to reduce costs and we do turn off lights...lol.

Since we're in Central Illinois we're surrounded by corn fields so I am very seriously considering using corn heat. I suppose the only reluctance would be the aesthetics of a hopper alongside the house and trampled flowers...but frankly...many more electric bills over $700/mo. and my scruples will change. I'll pocket the savings and spend a month in Spain each year!

I appreciate your comments.


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we are thinking of buying a corn/pellet heater..the American Harvest Model 6039...we find one with Northern Tool and Rural King farm stores....has anyone info on quality, efficiency, service, etc on this make and model...we will be heating a ranch style home with propane backup...this is our lst corn stove.


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

I am experiencing the same problem as Dean. We bought a Country Flame Winslow free standing wood pellet stove two years ago. The first year the stove kept shutting down, they replaced the computer in it. Now it's not shutting down but we just don't get the heat output we were expecting. The stove is supposed to heat 2,000 square feet. Granted we have an old brick house but the stove won't even keep the first floor of about 800sq feet warm. Our second floor is heated with a gas insert. The dealer keeps blaming the wood pellets, but we've had the same problem with three different brands of pellets. The stove is also supposed to burn 50/50 corn and wood pellets, the corn does burn hotter but if you don't dig clinkers out two or three times a day the stove shuts down.
Honestly our cheapo gas insert on the second floor puts out more heat than that $3,000 piece of junk on the first floor.

The cost of using our gas furnace is just outrageous, even though it's a Trane and only 4 years old. We were hoping to only use the furnace as a supplement on the coldest days. With the rising cost of pellets/corn and having to run the furnace I'm beginning to wonder if it's worth it. Anyone else have this experience with their pellet stove?


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

I have a question about buying corn. If I buy direct from a farmer should it be cheeper than buying it from an elevator? How much does the elevator mark up the corn price? And do farmers have corn that has gone bad that they can't sell to the elevator that could still be used in a burner? I'm just starting to use my corn burner this winter and am pretty excited but have no clue on how to or where to buy my corn. I live in northern Illinois so there are farmers and elevators all around. Z


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

The elevators in our area all sell at current market prices. We buy our early supply at the elevator, until our farmer/neighbor has his wagon available for our main supply. He sells it at that days market price, and we use his wagon at no charge.
We do enough odd jobs, and neighborly favors through the year that he takes that into consideration on the corn bill. ( dh fixes small motors, etc., charging only for parts. The labor is in exchange for the corn)
This will be our third winter burning corn, and we hope we can continue for years to come.

Jan


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

I put in a Bixby corn stove about two months ago and generally like it. It burns various fuels including wood and corn pellets, either of which are available here for about $240 a ton.

I've tried both corn and wood pellets and there are some interesting differences. The corn does burn hotter and the stove seems to generate more heat for the same amount of fuel. Also, burning wood pellets generate more sparks which throws more ash up out of the burn pot and onto the floor of the stove; as a result, the stove has to be vacuumed more often. With corn, the ash that falls into the ash drawer is mostly in the form of hard disks whereas with wood the ash in the drawer is powder. The disks fill the drawer faster than the powder, so the drawer needs to be emptied more often using corn. With corn, when the ash disk is dumped, the fire keeps going whereas with wood the fire goes out (it restarts automatically). If you humidify the disks they will break up easily (say, for spreading on your lawn).

Wood pellets come in 40lb bags whereas the corn that I buy comes in 50lb bags. The 40lb bags stack better and are easier to carry. I think they stack better because corn is more slippery and so the bags are less manageable.

I have a suspicion that wood pellets are more ecologically friendly than corn, though I really don't know for sure. My rational is that fertilizers are used in growing corn and these fertilizers are derived from oil or natural gas. Use of fertilizers for growing trees is rather limited and the bags of wood pellets I am now using say that they are made from waste saw-dust.

For those considering a pellet stove, an issue to consider is how combustion air is brought into the stove. Failing to bring in outside air for this purpose will cause a suction in the building that will bring cold air in from the outside. The Bixby does this through a pipe that is built inside of the exhaust pipe, with the result that the combustion air is pre-heated and the exhaust is cooled. This is the best way to do it.

If you are in the market for a pellet stove you should plan to also buy an ash vacuum (about $200). The reason you need a special vacuum is that these vacuums are built to withstand occasional hot coals that may be picked up.


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

looking to get a corn/pellet stove for this winter.

anyone able to recommend a brand. like to here about bad products also.


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

I've come back to say more!

Corn tankers never spill killing wildlife, but tankers and truck carrying the crude oil used so heavily in corn production have (thats right, corn is made with a lot of oil) and fertilizers are leeched out of the soil, the crown of thorns star fish destroying the great barrier reef are reproducing at ~200 times the natural rate because of fertilizers leeching out of the farm fields. Wood does take more fossil fuel to harvest per acre but you get much more caloric content from that acre and it can be harvested economically with out fossil fuel. Homesteading is as far as I can tell primarily an exercise in becoming independent, if the oil supply were disrupted next year the corn supply would run out at the same time, the wood supply would be unaffected. You may not want to eat field corn but lots of animals do.


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

Hey you folks fighting over whether it's better to burn wood or corn, cease fire! I know some posters have talked about their wood stove, but assuming most people these days are considering a wood pellet stove or a "corn stove", as far as I can tell most or all "corn" pellet stoves will also burn wood pellets. I.e. the "corn" stoves are actually "multi-fuel" stoves. I may buy a pellet stove to supplement the oil heat in my house, and am considering a multi-fuel stove, i.e. one that can burn corn pellets, not because I expect corn to be less expensive now, but because it may be less expensive some years in the future as corn prices might swing down. Burn whichever is more economical, wood or corn pellets.


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

More economical may simply mean more tax payer subsidy (wood gets nothing). the flex fuel nature of the stoves does not solve the inadequacies of Zea Maize as an energy crop, so as I see it a cease fire is not in order.


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

I guess I want to start buy sayin' that my handle on here was mostly a joke and that I am neither a conspiracy theorist nor a tree hugger. I love my computer, I like electricity, hell I even have a flush toilet. That all being said I really feel like I need to mention a few things that stopped me from going this route...

Corn (or the growing of if you prefer) is directly responsible for blue baby alerts in IA, the algae blooms at the end of the mississippi river, the loss of the small American farm and current scientific evidence seems to indicate it is responsible for obesity and diabetes (in the form of HFCS and other additives). That being said who would want to support that industry?

All of you who think that corn is the great stuff...take the time to think and research that industry from both sides. Coming from a farm family I've watched farmers in the midwest (where my family is from) try and survive as corn/soybean farmers and the truth is it just doesn't work. They struggle, and struggle, trying to get more land, bigger tractors, GM corn, more bushells, greater yeild but the more they do the more the comodity price drops and the less they make. In my opinion you need to look at the growing of corn, cheap corn, as a sweat shop and ask yourself why Iowa (as just one example) is one of the most fertile areas of the US and imports 80% of its food (feel free to doubt it, I did, but do the research)...


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

just bought a ST croix multi fuel stove it comes with corn burn pot. it said not to burn wood pellets in that pot, replace it with a wood pellet pot, can any one tell me the difference


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

Hi Jon
I'm not sure about the difference in the corn vs. pellet pot, but recently experienced a few days of burning pellets, and found that the pellets burn to loose ash, and the corn formed a solid clinker. The reason for burning the pellets -- we had run out of corn and its so expensive this year, we just aren't going to buy more right now. Hopefully, our heating season is nearly over.
We've had our Snowflame corn burner for more than 6 years, and have been very comfortable with the heat each winter.
I am the original poster of this thread, and recently read through it to see what the activity was like.
There are lots of valid arguments for all heating/ecological/economic issues, but we are happy with our decision.

And Jon, there may be a better answer for your post. Good luck with your stove.

Jan


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RE: anyone heat with corn?

Building a new house and looking at a corn furnace. We researched fo a while now. Seems to make sense for me due to my brother in law is a farmer and I can help harvest and in return he'll supply all the corn we need. I enjoy helping out and he could use the help so its a win win. A couple of saturdays each fall spent in a big tractor helps me unwind and will heat my house all winter. I will also have lpg since in Illinois havinh options and/or a back up is wise. Plan to uses lpg for hotwater. Corn is not always cheap but available and with alot of folks that live in farmlands something that can be bartered.


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Heating with pellets

I saw several programs on You Tube concerning heating with other than oil, propane or electric. It demonstated how to make your own pellets with a simple piece of machinery. A demonstration of various types of fuel, from paper, cardboard, overgrown greenery.. all things that were free or nearly so. Cutting down the material and transporting it to your property was the cost. These scenes were from upstate NY. I KNOW burning corn is very much against good stewardship of the land. The use of gasoline, fertilizer and loss of topsoil and fertility. Scrap wood products particularly from remodeling or destruction of wooden structures that are unsuitable for reuse is a better choice. A friend used scraps from a wood turning business. If she had not taken them the local dump would have been enlarged.There are many choices. In Germany in addition to paper, glass, plastic and metal, a separate container for all natural materials, inc. kitchen waste must be used. I know a person in NJ who does not separate ANY of her garbage. I had heard all pickup was to be done in clear plastic. That way any unseparated garbage would NOT be picked up but left at the curb. Much progress only needs stricter backed up rules and things would improve. I also recycle all medications and batteries to the county. All electronics are not picked up by trash collectors in Ocean County, NJ. They must go to the recycling center. Ocean County MAKES money from their recycling. Meds flushed down the commode end up in the ground water, inc. the ones, such as birth control, consumed by people. That along with plastic chemicals cause MALE FROGS TO GROW ovaries. Please treat the earth as if it were the only place you can live -- BECAUSE IT IS !!


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