Personal Experience with Corn/Pellet Burning Stove (Heat Other)greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
We've had our Countryside Corn & Pellet Stove for one year now. The initial cost is expensive (with pad ours ran about $2400), but with our fuel & heating costs, it will pay for itself in 3-4 years. Ours also came with a free ton of pellets courtesy of the State of Wisconsin, as well as an installation kit. Corn stoves can burn wood pellets, corn, paper pellets, cherry pits, etc.
When buying corn, my first advice is to buy good, clean dry corn. By dry corn, I mean dried to about 10-12%. Our biggest drawback at this time is that we purchased our corn from our neighbor and not from a feed mill. The feed mill provides cleaner and dryer corn. Live and learn. Our biggest drawback right now is the amount of dust that is produced when we feed the stove. Dryer and cleaner corn will burn cleaner, therefore less ash, less debris, less dust, etc. Also, the dryer the corn, the more heat it will produce. With wood pellets, we don't have the degree of dust as with corn. However, it doesn't burn as hot either and there is a little more ash. At this time, we are burning only corn and emptying the ash pan once a week.
Also, with burning corn, a calcium additive must be used so that the sugar doesn't solidify on the stirrer. The dealer where we bought the stove from sells 40 lb bags of compressed calcium (they look like pellets) for about $26. However, we have found that if you use large ground oyster shell, available at the feed mill for $5 per 50 lb bag, this works just as well.
Another consideration that must be taken is the use of circulation. We live in a two story, 2700 square foot farm house. The only way to circulate air at that time we installed the stove was through a stairway leading upstairs. We have since added floor vent though the ceiling to create circulation and to get heat upstairs. We will soon be adding a second vent in the kitchen area. We still haven't figured out a good way to get heat into the basement.
When installing, try to install the stove in a central area of the house, thereby allowing more evenly distributed heat. Ours is intalled in the far southwest corner of the house, because we had no other option. The installation kit is very simple to use. It took my husband two hours to install. The pipe from the back of the stove just goes out through the exterior wall and sticks out less than 2 feet.
Another consideration: Corn storage! It can be difficult to come up with a way to store tons of corn easily! My husband built a gravity box for our basement, beneath a window. He also built a chute so that he can just dump the corn down the chute through the window and into the gravity box. Works nice. Be sure you put the outlet for the gravity box high enough so that you can fit a five gallon bucket beneath it. Also allow for small chute there too.
With the cold winter we've been having in Wisconsin and with the cost of fuel oil, we have fared very well. In previous years, we spent $1200-1500 to heat from October through April. This year we will have spent about $400. If we would've bought corn this year instead of last year, this figure would have been less. My husband fills the stove up with two five gallon buckets of corn in the morning and then tops it off again at night. This has been working well for us. In the bitterest of weather, we have turned on the furnace just to get the initial chill out of the air. We have used less than 1/8th of a 250 gallon tank of fuel oil. We have also purchased an air purifier help control the excess dust we have with the neighbors corn. Next year we'll get it delivered by the feed mill!
Maintenance is pretty minimal. Once a week, my husband cleans out the pipe and empties the ashpan. About three times week, he takes a brush and knocks down the ash in the inside and pushes it down into the pan. In spring, he caps off the pipe so no birds or rodents decide to build a home!
We purchased our stove from Earth Sense Energy Systems in Dale, Wisconsin. The owner, Jed Martin, is very helpful! There is also a referral incentive in place...if you mention who referred you, the referrer gets $50 in pellets.
-- Lisa Lehman (email@example.com), February 22, 2001
Lisa, I enjoyed your report on the pellet stove you own. I live in the Baltimore/Washington DC area and I am considering a pellet stove to place in my basement--mainly for heating the basement where my family spends most evenings watching TV, playing games, and surfing the net.
Many thanks! j s paret
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 25, 2001.
Try using a blower and a vent to get the heat into your basement.
-- Lorraine Sane (email@example.com), October 22, 2001.