Homeowners today (and renters, too!) are always looking for better, more efficient ways to cut on household energy costs. Some choose to winterize or better insulate their homes. Others choose to upgrade appliances or fireplaces. But did you know that there is heating alternative which offers extremely low cost fuel? Would you believe that that fuel is corn? Yes, you read that right. You can heat your home using an inexpensive, entirely renewable resource: corn.
What is a corn stove?
A corn stove is an appliance which is installed in your home or garage which is attached to a hopper, The hopper feeds full kernel corn into the firebox by means of an auger. Usually only a handful or so of corn is required in the firebox to maintain a heat output of up to 30,000 to 50,000 BTU. The corn kernels in the firebox ignite, and are kept burning by a small fan which pushes oxygen into the box, as another fan pushes the warm air into the room.
Why should I get a corn stove?
There are many reasons you should consider a corn stove. First, as stated, corn as a fuel is extremely inexpensive. The money you save on fuel will offset the cost of the unit itself, which is usually between $1,500 and $2,000 according to the EPA. The efficiency of the corn stove is excellent, as well, remaining fairly consistent at 97% for a good quality stove. Secondly, corn is a clean burning fuel, containing oil and ethanol. You’ll experience much less pollution than with a wood burning or gas stove or fireplace. Third, you’ll not need to continually stoke or maintain the fire as you would a fireplace. The auger feeds fuel to the firebox, and you’ll only need to check it every 12 hours or so. Typically a hopper can hold up to a 50 pound bag, so there is no need to constantly refill. Finally, there’s no need to have a preexisting chimney or ventilation structure. Corn stoves are convenient, inexpensive and extremely efficient additions to your home, and many attractive stoves can be found at reasonable prices.
Are there any cons to having a corn stove?
While there are a few downsides to a corn stove for your heating, they’re far outweighed by the benefits. One item to note is that a corn stove needs electricity for both the fan system and the hopper. In a power outage, some stoves may be connected to a generator or backup power source, but some will not be usable. Secondly, you may enjoy the crackling sound and the warm appearance of a wood burning stove. Your corn stove will radiate heat, but won’t generate flame as wood, or even gas, will. Finally, while maintenance is next to none for a corn stove, it may be a bit more difficult to find a technician who can assist you with any problem you might encounter. Research your manufacturer and dealer to determine the quality of customer service you’ll have available to you.
Overall, corn stoves are ecologically sound, efficient and budget-friendly additions to your home. Consider your options and come by to speak to us about what type of stove is best for your house and your budget. But most importantly, prepare to enjoy hassle free warmth all winter long.