Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Corn or Biomass Stove Primer

A few of you expressed interest in my corn stove experiences, so I decided to write a post about it:

We've been using our corn stove for three winters now. It is made by Harman and has proved to be reliable and uses about 400.00 worth of fuel each winter.

Biomass stoves are not pellet stoves. Pellet stove do not have agitators in the burn pot and are not designed to burn things other than pellets. Pellet stove are simpler and cost less.
That said, many pellet stove owners have mixed 10 or 20 percent corn in with good results.

Biomass stoves can burn almost any dry flowable material--oats, pellets, corn, barley wheat, cherry pits, buckwheat etc.

What are the pros and cons of these stoves?

Huge savings over fuel oil, electricity, propane or natural gas
Inexpensive fuel.
Local fuel from your neighboring farmers
Most can ignite and extinguish themselves via thermostat.
Can maintain a set temperature--like 68 degrees; does not overheat like a wood or coal stove
No chimney required--horizontal vent pipe out through the wall instead.

Much more expensive initially than a wood or coal stove
Require electricity to operate (or battery backup if electricity goes off)
The fans and blowers make some level of noise--not quite the same charm as a woodstove
Must be fed twice daily, ash removed daily or every other when burning biomass.
Monthly ash removal if burning pellets

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