Cheap heat | Living the Country Life

Cheap heat

Try an alternative method of heating your space this winter. Waste oil and mixed-fuel burners use cheap, accessible fuels to create a warm workshop.
Mixed-fuel burners, such as this model by Baxi, use wood pellets and corn to heat your space. Generally burning for 24 hours or more without stirring, mixed-fuel burners are perfect for heating your shop with sources that may be right in your backyard.

Mixed-fuel burners

You may consider using a mixed-fuel burner, which burns wood pellets and corn. Though corn prices are rising alongside propane, natural gas, and electricity, mixed-fuel burners heat your shop with a source that may be nearby.

Clean-burning corn stoves surpass EPA emissions standards and don't create dangerous kerosene buildup. They burn corn kernels, which can be converted to ethanol by a fermentation process, instead of stalks or cobs. Unlike wood-burning fireplaces, corn burners don't need a chimney, though many do install as fireplace inserts. Most exhaust directly through any outside wall through a dryer-like vent.

Once lit, a corn stove can burn for 24 hours without stoking. Corn stoves generally self-feed by an electric auger, and you can set the auger speed to control the heat output. After burning, there will be some residue to remove from the firebox.

To avoid mold, clumping, and smoking, shelled corn should be clean with a moisture content no higher than 15.5%. If you don't have your own corn, contact your cooperative Extension to find local suppliers. Several manufacturers in the U.S. and Canada make quality, efficient multifuel burners, ranging from simple models to those with a number of high-tech features. Determine your needs based on your shop size and access to fuel.

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