With the increase of heating fuel prices in recent years many homeowners are searching for an alternative to the more common natural gas and oil burning furnace to reduce their utility costs. Corn or Bio-Fuel furnaces have gained a great deal of notoriety for not only reducing heating costs but for doing so using a renewable energy source that pays dividends to the environment.
Corn furnaces burn corn or other bio-fuels such as soybeans, wheat, etc... Bio-Fuels burn very cleanly without leaving the chimney build-up common to wood burning stoves which is a potential fire hazard. The furnaces burn dry shelled corn that are free of debris like cobs and stalks.
In many respects corn furnaces are similar to wood pellet stoves. Both burn a granular dry fuel that is fed to the furnace from a hopper. The rate of the fuel being fed can be regulated to control the amount of heat being produced. Depending upon the individual model a corn furnace may not need to have it's hopper filled for more than a week making it a very low maintenance form of alternative heating.
Corn can be purchased from most corn farmers or elevators and is commonly about $2.50 a bushel. It is generally agreed that a corn furnace will cost somewhere between 1/3 -1/2 the price of heating with natural gas. To put it into a real dollar figure a natural gas heating bill that is currently $1,500.00 for the year would be cut down to $500.00 - $750.00 by using a corn furnace!
Corn furnaces do require sourcing out and purchasing corn fuel a step that some will find too much trouble. However, using a renewable energy source that can save a significant amount of money each year is proving to be an enticing idea to a growing segment of the population.
We had recently moved to this area and didn't have the ‘built in network’ of friends and family to suggest a good contractor. Knowing you pre-screen the contractors you work with took a lot of pressure off the entire hiring process.