Q: I want to lower my heating bills and use "American-made," environmentally safe fuel. Would you explain how the super-efficient corn-burning stoves work, and can they burn other renewable fuels?
A: The new small corn-burning stoves are very energy-efficient and one can produce enough heat for an average home. Using kernels of corn as a heat source for homes means fewer American dollars spent on foreign fuel supplies and more jobs and profits for American farmers.
In addition to burning corn, with a simple modification, some of these stoves can burn small high-energy pellets made from waste sawdust, cardboard, paper, peanut shells, sunflower hulls, etc. With efficiencies above 80 percent, these corn/pellet stoves can cut your overall heating costs.
LTC Since these stoves operate so efficiently, little heat is lost with the flue gases. The flue gases (almost no smoke) are cool enough to be vented outdoors through a small horizontal pipe. You don't need a chimney, so you can locate one anywhere in your house; a multispeed blower circulates the heated air. Some models have built-in air filters.
Corn/pellet stoves are very convenient to operate. You simply pour a bag of corn or pellets into a hopper on the back of the stove. One hopperful can provide more than a full day's heat. Once you light the fire in the stove, you fill the hopper each day. It stays lighted.
For both safety and efficiency, combustion air is drawn in from outdoors by a fan and the flue gases are forced outdoors. This forced combustion airflow over the small pellets (about one inch long) or kernels of corn produces the very hot and extremely clean-burning fire.
Corn/pellet stoves are available as freestanding units or fireplace inserts. A freestanding unit is the size of a small wood-burning stove. Some models have very attractive and colorful metal cabinets with real gold-plated trim.
You can write to me for "Utility Bills Update No. 258" listing addresses and telephone numbers of manufacturers of high-efficiency corn/pellet stoves, operating cost comparisons with gas, oil and electric heaters, and product information and specifications on several models. Please include $1.50 and a self-addressed business-size envelope.
Write to James Dulley, c/o Baltimore Sun, 6906 Royalgreen Drive, Cincinnati, Ohio 45244.