Mar 12, 2013
We want to share one of our customer’s stories with you. Their story addresses their decision to burn wood pellets versus corn at the current rate (2012-13) per bushel, and they are willing to share their experience with you. This family is in the Upper Midwest and owns a Magnum Countryside 3500P.
Last summer when he watched the severe drought sweep across the country, Steve’s mind naturally wandered to our nation’s farmers and their crops. When the rain just didn’t materialize, crops failed and the price of corn steadily rose. By fall it was clear that the price of corn was going to be considerably higher than last year at the same time, so Steve started discussing his best fuel options with his wife.
Four years ago they purchased a Magnum Countryside, and immediately started burning corn. They fell in love with the hot, consistent heat that corn provides. No matter how cold or stormy the harsh Northern winter got outside, corn was able to keep their two-story home on a hill very comfortable. Yet, they bought the stove to save money and they needed to make sensible decisions.
After consulting a farmer, their local supplier of corn, the decided they should switch to wood pellets for the winter. Burning wood pellets would save them a little money, although they really debated whether or not they should just buy corn at the $7.50/bushel price. In the end, they opted to buy a good quality wood pellet with low ash content and give it a try. “He actually told us he wasn’t planning to burn corn in his own stove, so we thought we should strongly consider wood pellets,” says Steve.
The first thing they noticed was less ash in the pan, which was nice. However, wood pellets seemed to create more smoke and ash in the burning area (that just didn’t make it to the ash pan), and they continually fought to keep the glass clean. Eventually, they gave up trying to keep the glass clear and realized burning wood pellets would be a different experience than corn.
While the heat output was sufficient, it wasn’t near as hot as corn. When they usually burned corn in the stove on a level 1 for mild winter days and a level 2 for colder winter days, they had to burn wood pellets in the stove on a minimum of a level 3 to reach the same level of comfort. Higher levels burn through fuel faster, and while they knew they were saving much more than burning propane, they started to doubt wood pellets were actually saving them money from corn.
They report that their biggest struggle with burning wood pellets was an inconsistent flame and pellet build up that just didn’t happen with corn. They had to continually adjust air flow, shut down to clean up all the excess ash, etc. In hindsight, they wished they would have at least mixed wood pellets with shelled corn for a steadier and hotter flame.
It was a good experience burning wood pellets for an entire season, but Steve and his wife now appreciate the benefits of burning clean, dry shelled corn. Furthermore, they are thankful they decided on a flex-fuel appliance that will always give them options; leaving them in control of what they burn.
Do you have a story you’d like to share with us? We’d love to hear from you! Contact us today!