Earl Rogers has found that firing up a corn stove on a porch can warm a house — with savings. Rogers had a corn stove installed three years ago in the enclosed front porch of his two-story, approximately 1,500-square-foot house in Bloomington, Ill.
Earl Rogers has found that firing up a corn stove on a porch can warm a house — with savings.
Rogers had a corn stove installed three years ago in the enclosed front porch of his two-story, approximately 1,500-square-foot house in Bloomington, Ill.
The porch has double thick windows enclosing it.
“My wife was using it like three seasons. She loved it and wanted it year-round. So, I put a corn stove in there,” said Rogers, who added that the house is 85 years old this year.
The corn stove worked well on the porch, when someone suggested that Rogers “open the front door” and “turn your stove on.”
“I did that. It heats the bedrooms and the hallway and part of the living room and into the kitchen,” Rogers said. The corn stove is meant to supplement the heat of the house’s gas furnace.
The corn stove reduced Rogers’ monthly “budget” bill plan with the gas company by $30 a month.
“Most of the bill was heating the old house,” said Rogers, who added that the cooking stove and water heater use gas.
Rogers is sold on corn stoves — and he sells them, too, as manager of Agri-Fire of Illinois Inc. Based in Towanda, Ill., the business sells the Amaizablaze brand corn stove manufactured by NESCO Inc., based in Cookeville, Tenn.
The Amaizablaze corn stove Iroquois Model 4100, which Rogers recently had on display, can be freestanding or a fireplace insert.
The model includes a 75-pound capacity hopper, air circulating blowers and air filters. The BTUs (British thermal units, which measure how much heat the unit puts out) can be adjusted from 8,000 to 50,000. It has a hopper burn time of up to 38 hours and heating capacity of up to 2,000 square feet. The model also features adjustable controls.
As a freestanding model, the corn stove pulls combustion air in from the outside through a direct wall vent, so no chimney is required.
Cecelia Connerton of Pleasant Plains, Ill., likes the steady heat and glowing warmth that her corn stove outputs. Hers is in the living room of her nearly 900-square-foot home.
And while the stove has saved her money on heating costs, Connerton bought her small Amaizablaze corn stove from Agri-Fire of Illinois Inc. two years ago because she cares about the earth, she said.
“Anything that I can do to reduce consumption of oil and cause, hopefully, a little less pollution, that’s my motivation,” said Connerton, who also has a propane furnace.
She said the stove heats most of her home.
“Admittedly, I haven’t used my corn stove yet this year,” Connerton said late last month, adding that the corn stove is “kind of supplemental.”
“I usually just use the corn stove when I’m at home, rather than when I’m away. At least I’m cutting back a little bit on the propane,” said Connerton, who couldn’t recall an exact amount in savings.
“I want do it for the good of the world and not as a money-saving issue.”
An Amaizablaze corn stove uses shelled field corn with 15 percent moisture or less. A corn stove burns about one bushel of corn a day to heat 1,500 to 1,800 square feet, depending on a home’s insulation.
“That’s a 24-hour day. People, they’re thinking … they work a day — eight hours — so, they go, ‘Oh, that’s a lot for 8 hours.’ No. That’s 24 hours,” Rogers said.
Corn stoves vary in cost from $1,500 to about $2,600. Fuel prices vary by area: As of Oct. 22, corn prices at the Towanda grain mill were $3.50 per bushel, while the Bradfordton Co-op on Oct. 27 was selling 50-pound bags of corn (6 pounds shy of a bushel) for $4.35 a bag.
Because corn can be grown and harvested season after season, its renewability is a plus, but some people are against burning corn because they believe it should be used for food, Rogers has found.
While the Illinois Corn Growers Association doesn’t have an official position on the issue, Mark Lambert, communications director, said he doesn’t know that there’s any organized opposition against corn burning stoves.
“But I don’t know that there’s been the outright promotion of them from some folks that there might be, because they work very well,” Lambert said.
“When you’re burning the corn, you’re burning the corn. People need to understand that up until just recently, corn supply was not an issue. We were buried in the stuff, and it was dirt-cheap. It is something that if you look at the energy efficiency of it, it’s great.”
Buying the right size corn stove and installing it in the right place in a house are important factors in realizing a reduction in heating costs by 70 percent, Rogers said.
Making that determination is an individual decision, he added.
“We can do it once they come in and tell us about their house and draw us a little sketch,” Rogers said.
“Everyone has to be done different. Every house has to be evaluated. For me to say, ‘You need to put it in the basement,’ the next guy in, that isn’t where it belongs. It belongs somewhere else.”
Tamara Browning can be reached at (217) 788-1534 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What you need to know before buying a corn stove:
- Buy the right size stove.
- Consider fuel supply.
- Consider the cost.
Did you know?
- A bushel of corn contains about 500,000 BTUs compared to a gallon of heating oil that contains about 125,000 BTUs and a gallon of LP gas (liquefied petroleum gas) that contains about 93,000 BTUs.
- Corn burners have no smoke and no creosote.
- Corn stoves don’t need a chimney.
- Corn burners burn so cleanly that they are exempt from EPA regulation.
- U.S. farmers grow between 9 and 10 billion bushels of corn yearly.
- Corn heaters produce very little ash, as they burn 98 percent of the corn.
- Burning the corn produces potash, which later can be crushed and used as fertilizer.
Source: Agri-Fire of Illinois Inc.