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Corn in Pellet Stoves: You won't believe this one

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by stovemanken, Jan 9, 2006.

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  1. stovemanken

    stovemanken New Member

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    In the current issue of Alternative Energy Retailer (an industry trade publication) the following quotation appears:

    "It can actually be dangerous to burn corn in an appliance dedicated to wood pellets. Mixing corn & wood pellets in a unit designed strictly for wood pellets becomes an issue, as the corn will seperate from the wood pellets and then you will be feeding seperate fuels. This can plug or burn out heat exchangers and cause damage to the unit and the home." --Mike Haefner, President, American Energy Systems (AES).

    American Energy Systems makes the Countryside corn stove.

    I am doing my very best to refrain from making any comment on this. I'm sure others will not be reluctant to state their minds.

    SMK

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  2. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    Casper Wyoming
    There are several companies who have obviously tested the corn pellet mix and recommend it for their stoves so obviously it's safe. Many of them do warn that there may be increased maintenance required though. As for the separate venting types the corn vent must use a higher grade stainless or something because it is a little more expensive. Plugging exchangers? maybe with improperly dryed corn, most designs anymore are hard to plug though. Burning them out is highly unlikely, unless there is a defect to begin with. Even though corn can have more btu/lb than pellets I don't think there is a big enough difference to burn out an exchanger without the stoves high limit switch tripping and cutting off fuel supply first. Disinformation is a bad thing it can really make or break a technology.
  3. drizler

    drizler Minister of Fire

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    I have one of the AES stoves formerly the Countryside bought out by AEI last year. From the sounds of it AEI is either trying to discourage the practice to sell more of their multifuel stoves or dodge liability for their other models that aren't multifuel. Personally I wouldn't give a damn what a manufacturer says about someone elses stove. If the particular stove's manufacturer says its ok then who cares what some other guy says, especially one who stands to make money from his own comments. Shane, as for the worry about PL vent with corn guess what the manufactirers recommendation is for the AEI MAGNUM or COUNTRYSIDE was last year? Good old PL Simpson Duravent, stainless on the inside, galvanized on the outside. If its changed in the last 12 months I would like to know why. 100 corn rated using pellet vent pipe. Who would believe that. Like the man said "Follow the money".
    The one warning with my multifuel is to run it on less than full throttle when using 100 percent corn. Just keep the heat down to a reasonable level. As for the safety issue the high limiter trips out on mine often when it goes out and gets relit with a full pot of corn. No big deal. I have looked at a lot of pellet stoves and while mine is built of thick steel it certainly isn't any appreciable amount thicker than any of the rest. The weight isn't any more either. The big difference is in the fuel stirrer and ash drawer some of them lack.
  4. HarryBack

    HarryBack New Member

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    I'd agree that its likely a mixture would work with most stoves. possibly even the Harmans we sell. The problem I see here is with the folks who arent very prudent with maintenance....in our experience, thats likely over 50% of the users. Many folks just do an extremely poor job of cleaning their units while burning pellets alone, never mind burning a dirtier mixture of corn/pellets.....I dont really want to imagine going over to some persons place, fixing a problem, or trying to troubleshoot a problem, and having to tell them their warrantee is void and any work I do will be at their own expense....aack! Harman told me that burning corn will invalidate their warrantee....that being said, I do know of folks burning a mix with no ill effects as of yet, but must also stress that these folks are VERY good at maintenance, cleaning their units 1-2 times a week.
  5. FireJumper

    FireJumper New Member

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    Dec 14, 2005
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    Keep in Mind HarryBack that Harman will only void the warranty on items effected by using corn such as the burn pot and especially the igniter.
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