The Bixby corn stove was introduced to the market in 2002 by Bob Walker. His name may not ring a bell, but the Sleep Number Bed, which he also invented, surely will.
Walker’s vision of 21st century heating also includes a bio mass pellet that can be manufactured locally from whatever resources are available such as crop or animal waste. The pellets would be distributed in much the same way heating oil is delivered.
Although Mr. Walker’s vision may not become reality tomorrow, today’s Bixby corn burning stove is already in its third generation.
As the title of this article implies, these stoves don’t come cheap. Bixby’s latest, the Model 115, is priced from around $3,995 and gets more expensive with the addition of deluxe trim options.
What really sets this stove apart from the competition is its ease of use and exceptional 97% fuel efficiency rating. At 97%, the Bixby is 12-17% more efficient than any other pellet stove on the market.
To put it another way, the Bixby stove consumes 12-17 % less fuel to generate the same amount of heat produced by similar sized stoves.
Another benefit of nearly 100% efficiency is less ash. Actually, there is no fly ash at all. Rather, an ash cake about 3 inches round is automatically expelled from the burn pot into the ash drawer twice a day. With little waste to dispose of, the ash drawer needs to be emptied only once a week.
Other drawbacks associated with owning a pellet fueled stove have also been thoughtfully eliminated.
Rather than using kindling to start the fire, the Bixby uses a flameless, hot air vortex system. Just push the ON button, and the stove automatically dispenses the necessary amount of corn to ignite the fire pot in minutes.
While traditional pellet stoves use an auger to feed the fuel into the burn pot, the Bixby Ferris Wheel design feeder system rejects foreign materials that cause jamming.
The hopper on the Bixby corn stove holds 106 pounds of dry shelled corn, wood pellets or Bixby Certified Biomass Pellets. This is sufficient capacity for once a day loading. Even on the coldest days, the stove burns only 1.5 bushels of corn.
A stove owner from eastern Iowa says he heats his entire 2,100 square foot home with the Bixby stove aided by ceiling fans running in reverse to help distribute the warm air. The total cost to heat his home for the entire winter was only $250.
Depending on the outside temperature, 8 different push button heat levels are available from 8,000 to 50,000 BTU’s. This feature is useful in controlling fuel consumption when the outdoor temperature is fluctuating during season changes.
Bixby Energy Systems backs the quality of its MaxFire 115 with an industry best 7 year limited warranty on workmanship/materials as well as a 4 year warranty on mechanical/electrical. Regional service technicians are also available to fine tune the operation of your stove according to climate and altitude.
Buying any pellet stove to supplement or replace your existing heating system is a major decision. For many homeowners, spending the extra $1800 for a Bixby corn stove is simply out of the question.
Many consumers actually prefer the looks of a traditional corn stove over the Bixby, which makes considering the additional expense a moot point.