If you're looking into alternative, eco-friendly heating solutions for your home, one that you may come across is the corbcob stove. Also known simply as "corn stoves," these heaters are built to combust corn cobs, a common agricultural waste product, generating heat and warming your home. Is a corn cob stove right for you? Read on to learn a bit more about this heating option so you can make an informed decision.
Can a corn stove heat a whole home?
If your home is small, and you live in an area where temperatures are not regularly below freezing, then you can probably heat your entire home with a corn stove. The higher-end stoves can be fitted with an air circulation system, which distributes the heat from the stove through your home.
For large, multistory homes and homes in very cold climates, it may be difficult to generate enough heat with a corn stove alone. However, they can still be used for supplemental heating. You may want to consider having a corn stove to use on moderate days, plus a standard gas heating system to use on the coldest days.
How do you fuel a corn stove?
This is one reason it's tough to heat a big home with a corn stove alone -- you need to have somewhere to store vast amounts of corn cobs. If you're only using a corn stove as supplemental heating, or if you don't need much heat in general, you can probably get away with storing the cobs in a standard outdoor shed. You can obtain corn cobs from some heating and cooling companies or by talking with farmers in the area and purchasing corn cobs from them directly.
As the corn cobs burn, you need to add new ones to the stove. Luckily, most modern corn stoves have an automatic feeder apparatus that slowly adds new cobs to the fire. You just have to re-fill the automatic feeder every day or two.
What are the benefits of a corn stove?
The main reason homeowners choose corn stoves over heaters that burn fossil fuels is that the heating source -- corn cobs -- is renewable. Farmers are always planting more corn, whereas there is only so much oil to go around. Further, since corn cobs are a waste product, they tend to be quite affordable.
Many corn stoves are also capable of burning other materials, such as wood pellets, so if there is a time when corn cobs are hard to obtain, you can switch to another fuel temporarily. Furnaces don't work this way. You can't just put oil in a gas furnace!
If you're interested in learning more about heating your home with a corn cob stove, talk to a heating contractor in your area.