Since the fuel prices are rocketing worldwide, we try to invent new cheaper ways to heat our homes. It is very expensive to install such advanced heating devices as solar systems and heat pumps. We need something more down to earth. Fortunately cheaper alternatives to heating are available. Corn stove is one of the alternatives. Under certain circumstances you might be able to grow what you burn.
A corn stove is a heating appliance that provides heat by burning shelled corn. Corn stove, if bought from an established company, has to come with a certificate of safety. Regrettably, many customers are buying fake stoves or burners made by private craftsmen. To add to their problems they use corn stove with an unsuitable burning material. To avoid extra outlay and keep your home safe, always buy from a trustworthy dealer and ask to see the certificate. Lately it has become a problem that many people are burning wood pellets or other materials in a corn stove, especially in countries where wood pellets are cheaper than shelled corn.
You have to be aware that with a particular type of corn stoves, burning wood pellets is very dangerous. Before deciding to switch from shelled corn to wood pellets you need to check back with your dealer and ask him if the corn stove model you use is fit for burning wood pellets. Without going into too much detail, there are two types of corn stove – a positive pressure and negative pressure. Positive pressure feeds from the shelled corn stock kept in the hopper. The hopper is also used as a seal to keep poisonous gases from escaping. As the amount of shelled corn in the hopper decreases, some poisonous gases can get out. It wouldn’t be a problem if you were to burn shelled corn because it produces only carbon dioxide, which is relatively harmless. Wood pellets are a different story. When burnt, they also generate carbon monoxide – a potentially lethal gas.
Negative pressure corn stove can burn wood pellets, but again, you have to check with your dealer. It is also possible to convert a positive pressure corn stove to negative pressure with a DIY kit. Gases are not the only issue. To form wood pellets a bonding agent is added. If it is wax-based, it can produce sticky residue and jam some narrower parts of the corn stove.
Corn stove is designed to supply homes with cheaper and greener energy. From the environmental point of view, converting from shelled corn to wood pellets woudn’t be environmentally friendly any more as pellets would generate considerable amount of carbon monoxide and add to pollution.