Corn stove or pellet stove???

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by RedTartan, May 25, 2006.

  1. RedTartan

    RedTartan Icelandic Sheep Supporter

    Messages:
    3,344
    Joined:
    May 2, 2006
    Location:
    Northeast Ohio
    I have been researching corn stoves. My new house is really big and I'm concerned about my potential heating bills. I hadn't heard of pellet stoves until yesterday.

    I was at the local feed store and they had a funny little stove in the corner so I asked them if it was a corn stove. She told me it was a pellet stove and she thought they were better than corn stoves. I've never heard of a pellet stove so I asked her to go on. She said that the problem with corn stoves was that you have to buy really dry corn or they can get gummed up. She also thought that the pellets (I presume these are wood pellets) burn a little hotter than corn. She also told me that she installed a large pellet stove in her basement that heated her whole house (2400 square feet) and her heating costs this past winter were between $800 - $900!!!

    Does anyone here have a corn stove or a pellet stove that would care to review them for us?

    Thanks much,

    :) RedTartan
     
  2. LagoVistaFarm

    LagoVistaFarm Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    912
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2006
    We've used a pellet stove for the past ten years. They work great. Load them up and just clean out the tray once a day. Larger clean up every three days or so.
     

  3. ericjeeper

    ericjeeper Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    940
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2006
    Location:
    Indiana
    A cornstove will burn pellets. where a pellet stove will not burn corn.
     
  4. danb98577

    danb98577 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    169
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2005
    Shame you aren't closer-I am taking out a nice brass trim Lopi pellet stove this week. Cabin is small and the fans seem to tickle that raw nerve after a while...They heat well and can be put in about any location. Try to buy your pellets in summer-the price drops tremendously out here to 130.00-140.00 ton in summer. Buy more than you think you will need. AND KEEP THE STOVE CLEANED OUT INSIDE!!!! These things are a little picky about gunk building up. Going back to wood-it is SO much quieter!!
     
  5. Deenie

    Deenie Active Member

    Messages:
    39
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    We have a corn stove and looooove it!

    We have burned both pellets and corn.
    Pellets burn faster than corn. Corn burns cleaner and slower.
    Yes it can get "sticky". It is not a huge problem.

    If corn more attianable than it might be wiser to go that route. I know
    our area businesses often run out of pellets, then you wait till they restock..

    Just my thoughts... good luck!
    :)
     
  6. RedTartan

    RedTartan Icelandic Sheep Supporter

    Messages:
    3,344
    Joined:
    May 2, 2006
    Location:
    Northeast Ohio
    Is the cost similar? Since the corn burns more slowly, you don't need to buy as much of it, right?

    All this feedback is great everybody! Thanks!

    :) RedTartan
     
  7. RedTartan

    RedTartan Icelandic Sheep Supporter

    Messages:
    3,344
    Joined:
    May 2, 2006
    Location:
    Northeast Ohio
    Hey all,

    I just found a site you may be interested in. It's www.iburncorn.com

    I'm gonna head over and check it out now. It looks like it's full of good information.

    :) RedTartan
     
  8. fixer1958

    fixer1958 None of the Above

    Messages:
    1,741
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2005
    Location:
    NE Kansas
    I wouldn't buy either one. It's like feeding a horse, unless of course you planning on eating it later.
    Nothing beats a chainsaw and a big pile of wood. Unless the McMansion factor is involved.
     
  9. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    8,360
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    MN
    With a pellet stove you will be dependant upon a sullpy of manufatured pellets for the next 20 years or so. Will they keep making them; will they keep selling them in your area? Will the price remain steady? Lot of 'ifs' there......

    If you get a corn stove, you can burn either corn or pellets - whatever you find at the price you can in your area. We will likely have corn available for the next 20 years, whatever happens to pellets. ;)

    Here in sounthern Minnesota, a lot of folks say they burn about 200bu of corn in a year to mostly heat their house. Locally corn is $1.95 this week.

    Many folks will spend $100-400 a month on LP, heating oil, etc. to heat a house with a regular furnace.

    Pellets are close to $4 a bag if I remember right? Locally, that would make corn a much better deal.

    Anyhow, I sure would prefer the flexability of 2 fuels, vs being stuck with just pellets...

    The negative would be storing corn in the house - need to be very careful, or attract little fuzzy fellows.

    My 2 cents - I know people with pellet & corn stovers, but haven't used one myself. And I raise corn, so I'm probably biased. :)

    --->Paul
     
  10. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,058
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2006
    I don't like the idea of having to rely on suppliers for corn/pellets. At least for where I live, there are lots of trees and wood is what makes sense for me. It's free if I haul, or cheaply purchased. People have pellet stoves but I kinda think they're lazy. They all sware by them of course, so it's all about researching.
    Consider your location, and if you don't mind hauling wood, or if depending on others is ok in your eyes too.
     
  11. zookeeper16

    zookeeper16 Karaoke Queen

    Messages:
    964
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Central Wisconsin
    Actually, corn burns hotter than pellets. You can avoid the "clinkers" (referred to as gumming up in a previous post) by adding calcium (like the stuff you supplement your chickens with cuz its cheaper than the calcium the stove dealers will recommend) or burning a corn/pellet mix.

    Corn will leave you less ash.

    The biggest downfall we've had is the extra dust in the house that we've had with both corn and pellets.

    As far as dry corn goes, if you buy it through a feed mill, its dried down enough to burn. Buying it from a local farmer is a little more risky.

    Storage: you can buy both pellets and corn in bulk and store them in gravity boxes. Or you can buy pellets by the bag.

    We reduced our heating bill (based on figures over 6 years ago) from $1200 to $1800 a year to $4-600 a year. I couldn't imagine what we would have spent in the last few years heating with either fuel oil or propane! It would have been astronomical!

    On another note, look into corn furnaces instead! I'd love to have one of those instead....but they weren't available when we bought our stove.
     
  12. susieM

    susieM Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,117
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Location:
    France
    We've got really ogly little stoves, here, that are called 'brule tout'...means burns all..and they do. Many get sawdust, from limber mills, and use that, in those little uglies.
     
  13. 4sarge

    4sarge Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    200
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2005
    Location:
    Sweet Owen County - Indiana
    Corn, Corn, Corn

    Did I say corn. That is if you live where corn is a local crop, cheap and plentiful supply. I cut my LP bill by about 75%, enough to make the gas Company inspect my meter twice this past heating season :)

    Iburncorn.com, great site but has been having DB problems and not sure if new posts can be made.

    Buy a good corn stove, do your homework. Most Corn stoves are multi fuel, wood pellets, corn and other grains including cherry pits.

    I buy my corn from a neighbor, filling Rubber Maid 18 gallon containers. My neighbor burns his corn in his stove. Dry, clean #2 corn is not that hard to find. Farm Co=ops should have plenty on hand. One bushel weighs 56 lb (or 2 - 5 gal buckets) and I think that about 2 bu or close will fit in one of these containers. I have about 8 of them and use them to transport and store my corn.

    I've used wood and I have all of the free wood that I could ever use. I burn corn. Wood heats you twice - Once too much for me.

    Time to buy a corn stove is this summer, while it's hot out. Dealers will have them and want to open the floor space. Corn stove shortage last year ( I was lucky to get mine) increased prices and long waiting lists.

    Do your homework :nerd: don't buy the cheapest stove - talk with owners about corn supply, cleaning and reliability of particular models. You must empty the ash pan at least every other day if you are running the stove 24/7. Every day is recommended but with my model, I can get by doing it every other day.

    Good Luck :hobbyhors
     
  14. tiogacounty

    tiogacounty Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,069
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    I just picked our corn stove up last weekend. It was ordered at Thanksgiving. Our dealer is a farmer who sells them from his retail store. I don't think the advice about getting one cheaper in summer applies at the moment. The brand he sells is taking production orders for the first quarter of 2007 and is building 8x the number of units they did in '05. The comment about doing your homework is critical. there are small number of truly successful manufacturers out there. There is also a handful of producers making garbage that doesn't work. I have a "baby Countryside" made by American Energy Systems. This company has been around for decades and has a proven record of success. The dealer received a handful of stoves from another manufacturer recently. Prior to offering the units for sale, he pulled his AES unit out of his own home and tried the other brand. He tried for a few weeks, but never sucessfully operated the thing. You can't overcome a design that is inheritently flawed. That brand simply doesn't work. As to the comment about being unable to get corn that is suitable, sorry but I don't believe that is much of a problem. I live in the mountians of Northeast PA., hardly corn country, yet I can watch my fuel being grown in the same valley we live in, and drive a mile to the local farmer to pick it up. This farmer has been heating his house and retail store with corn stoves for years. As for those that claim that pellets are an unreliable source of heat, there were some issues this year, but it will get better. Last year I read that 30 manufacturers produced 180,000,000 lbs. of pellets. Supposedly, there are more plants being built and existing ones are being expanded. My local Home Depot, Wal-Mart, and locally owned lumber yard all have pallets of pellets in stock. I doubt pellet stoves are going away any time soon.
     
  15. RedTartan

    RedTartan Icelandic Sheep Supporter

    Messages:
    3,344
    Joined:
    May 2, 2006
    Location:
    Northeast Ohio
    Wow, such great advice! I definately want a stove that can burn both pellets and corn. It's only logical. I'm probably in a position where I could buy corn from a local farmer directly, though I haven't met one yet.

    My husband's not sure he wants to buy a stove yet. Our place has 12.5 acres and over 10 of them are covered in trees. He wants to open the fireplace (it was boarded up and wallpapered over at some point for some reason) and burn some of our trees. You'll probably think I'm silly, but I'm (remember I'm a city girl still) nervous about him using a chain saw... :( There I said it.

    When I told my husband what I was worried about it, he looked at me incredulously and said, "How do you hurt yourself with a chainsaw?!!" My less than convincing reply was, "Hello? It's a chainsaw. You'll cut your leg off or something..."

    I'm actually kind of embarrassed now,

    :) RedTartan
     
  16. tiogacounty

    tiogacounty Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,069
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    There is little chance you are going to suceed at using a "boarded up" fireplace without a great deal of expense. First of all, most board up fireplaces were covered over for a reason. A lot of times the reason is that they were either unsafe, or built so poorly, that they were useless as a heat source. If you find a working fireplace with a safe chimney and a modern damper (highly unlikely) you will still probably have one of the poorest way to keep warm know to man. Jefferson was a big fan of the "Rumsford" fireplace which had a very shallow firebox to actually allow wood to heat the room instead of the chimney and the great outdoors. Franklin invented his famous stove, as he too was tired of freezing his butt off due to the poor design of typical fireplaces. Most that heat with modern fireplaces have some sort of device to increase it's efficiency. anything from a tubular fire grate that heats air in the tubes, to stove inserts that turn the firplace into a wood, pellet, corn or propane stove. The fact is, if you guys have hopes of pulling down some sheetrock, throwing a few logs in there and having a nice, comfy home that you heat safely and for free, I would give you about a 1% chance of getting so lucky. Not being pessimistic, it's just that I've been down that road a time or two. Good luck. BTW, your gut feeling is correct. There are few things that a homeowner plays with that are more deadly than a chainsaw. They can be incredibly useful to an experienced and safe operator, they can also cut you so bad you will bleed to death before the ambulance gets out of it's garage. Maybe he is just being a wise guy, but, If you hubby has to ask what's so dangerous about a chain saw, he should probably spend some time with somebody that can teach him how to safely operate one.. good luck with everything.
     
  17. Madame

    Madame Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    4,278
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2003
    Location:
    WI
    I saw one recently in a store. Guy said it takes $6 a day to heat the place. Only drawback I saw is that it depends on electricity. If your power goes, no heat. Otherwise excellent.
     
  18. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    9,569
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2003
    Location:
    CHINA

    this was a problem in our area....my husbands workplace carries the corn stove only because of the wood pellet shortages...there are plenty of feedstores within driving distance....
     
  19. turtlehead

    turtlehead Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,390
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Location:
    Central WV
    I'm basically city, too, and I worry about my hubby using the chainsaw as well. In fact, for Christmas I gave him a pair of kevlar chainsaw chaps. He wore them once, to make me happy, and now they sit in the pickup. That's okay by me - I won't try to make him do anything, but I feel better just knowing he has the option.
     
  20. RedTartan

    RedTartan Icelandic Sheep Supporter

    Messages:
    3,344
    Joined:
    May 2, 2006
    Location:
    Northeast Ohio
    Turtlehead, kevlar chainsaw chaps? That would put my mind at ease! Thanks!

    TiogaCounty, I know. I'm not sure we'll be able to use the fireplace right away. The house was a restaurant before we bought it. It was called Down on the Farm. :) I'm hoping they boarded it up because it would have been considered against code (dirty) to have an open fireplace in a restaurant's diningroom. Oh, and my husband grew up in the country so he's used chainsaws before. He thinks you'd have to be... well, let's just say he's doesn't think he'll hurt himself... I'm still gonna get him some of those kevlar chaps if he insists on cutting our own wood.

    :) RedTartan

    P.S. Can anyone recommend a good manufacturer of stoves that burn both corn and pellets besides American Energy Systems? Thanks for the "thumbs up" on that company, Tioga.