Corn stove heat options

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by heavyset, May 28, 2004.

  1. heavyset

    heavyset Guest

    I am building a new house and think I want an outdoor corn stove for in floor radiant heat and my household hot water. Is this a good way to go or should I use the stove inside instead? Open to all alternatives.
     
  2. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Depends on what you plan to do if/when the power goes off. No electricity = no heat from an outside stove of any type. Also how/where do you plan to store the ton or so of corn for the stove keeping in mind varmits LOVE corn year round. Also corn is not really a renewable fuel as it takes a LOT of energy in the form of gasoline to plant, cultivate, harvest, and dry the corn for use. Wood takes a lot less energy to produce and does so without human intervention, varmits don't eat it, it stores easily, and in the right stove does not need electricity to produce heat and cooking facillities. JMO.
     

  3. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    We dont know where heavyset lives. There are areas where wood would be mighty hard to come by. I do agree that any society where grain pricewise becomes viable as one of most economical fuels is cockeyed somehow. I would expect corn to go up in price with recent big jumps in fuel cost but so will everything else unless you have your own woodlot or cornfield. And if you have several acres, you can always grow OP corn using older growing techniques and air dry it in ear form in a corn crib.
     
  4. (I grow corn, the price goes up & down on the whim of world supplies, it will hold about where it is for the next 9-12 months, but will drop to give-away prices after that again. Cost of inputs makes _no_ difference, as we farmers produce all what we can & sell for what we get, so the only market changes are world supply & how speculators feel about that trading the bulk commodity. We do not act like a normal retailer or OPEC or such & produce what the market demands, but rather all that we can. Farming will be like that for the foreseeable future, unless all independent farmers around the world sell out and just 2-3 major world corporations own all the land. Currently, the USA govt supplies those ag subsidies to try to keep the current system working, instead of the multi-nationals taking over.)

    As to the stoves, like Year-a-Round's line ( http://www.year-a-round.com ) indoor units use all heat produced to heat the building so there is no thermal loss. But, there are insurance, space waste, combustable fumes, and dust/dirt issues.

    An outdoor unit has much less muss & fuss & 'issues' but it is less efficient because the heat it gives off is wasted to the outdoors. Even with good insulation, there is always some thermal loss.

    Each has their place.

    --->Paul
     
  5. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    So what you are saying is that "corn farmers" are actually farming govt subsidies? In other words the govt is hiring you to raise cheap corn? Since nobody with a brain works continually at a loss until their capital is burned up, I would assume subsidies will have to go up then to account for doubling of fuel cost? Unless its all some fancy tax writeoff scheme.
     

  6. No, not at all John. :) Not at all. That's a half joke, half insult, but i'll just grin. :)

    Farm subsidies are the _least_ understood thing I've ever tried to talk about, and I won't highjack this thread on a topic that only brings blank stares and very odd conclusions. ;) Let's just forget about it & go on with the corn stove idea.

    The Year a Round web page I listed above has some interesting cost & energy comparisons of various fuels (or did a few months ago, I didn't look this week). Since they are selling corn stoves, corn comes out very favorable. What do you think?

    --->Paul
     
  7. Lynn & Chuck

    Lynn & Chuck Member

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    While what Goatlady said in theory is mostly correct, it only makes sense if one lives in an area where trees are an expendable commodity.

    Here in SD there are not enough trees to heat a fraction of the homes with wood and taking what few trees that we have managed to get to grow in this treeless plain to use for fuel is unthinkable.

    Corn, on the otherhand we have considerable amounts of in easy supply and if you wish to avoid the gas issue of raising it, most homesteader types would have enough land to cultivate and plant their own corn and air dry in some sort of crib and avoid the whole commercial corn growing issue if they wanted.

    Storage isn't as difficult as all that either, 3 to 6 --55 gallon plastic barrels will store most of a winters corn for fuel. They can be obtained in many areas from most commercial bakeries for a few dollars per barrel and can be covered in a variety of ways to keep corn loving varmits out of it. This may not work if you live in a humid climate. Here it is dry enough that the moisture content of the corn stays well within the burnable range provided you store it when it is sufficiently dry to begin with.

    Wood may be a great fuel provided you live in an area where wood is plentiful and cheap, otherwise corn may be a great alternative to petroleum heat.

    Lynn
     
  8. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Amazing the difference between the eastern and western parts of the same state! I'm in the Black Hills so you are correct. I have unlimited trees and no corn! But it still takes electricity to power the blower in a corn stove.
     
  9. Lynn & Chuck

    Lynn & Chuck Member

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    Oh yes the differences are incredible between the eastern and western sides.
    Here the only trees are the ones all in a straight line for wind breaks and the occasional ones along river banks. I used to live in the Black Hills and had a number of friends who heated exclusively with wood. Came back to eastern SD and wood is sort of a luxury item here. Lots of nice-to-look-at fireplaces but no serious wood stoves for the most part.

    The corn stoves do need electricity for the blower, but a number of them are set up to run off of 12v for the blower so a battery is a great back up for when the electricity goes out. Regular car battery will run it for 3-4 hours and anything larger will run even longer. 12v dc wind generator and a battery would keep it going for a significant length of time.

    We have the battery set up already (and usually have a couple that we could swipe from the tractor or the truck if absolutely necessary for longer time frames), and are looking into the wind generator in a year or two hopefully. :)

    Lynn