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!
Dec 5, 2012
What exactly is a corn pellet stove anyway?
This question is likely in response to the confusing term “corn pellet” more than people wondering about a pellet or corn burning stove. With so much information online, the people we talk to often know that some pellet stoves can burn corn. Therefore, the search term, “Corn Pellet Stove” gets used to research appliances and information related to what the industry calls a flex-fuel or multi-fuel stove.
American Energy System’s pellet stoves burn corn and a variety of renewable fuels, which makes them flex-fuel appliances. However, our stoves burn corn kernels. Instead of a “corn pellet”, our appliances are technologically advanced to burn pure shelled corn for an intense, readily available and efficient source of heat for your home. We recently published an article outlining the benefits of Magnum Countryside and Country Flame pellet stoves equipped to burn a multitude of renewable fuels.
“When you’re picking the fuel that works best for you, it often comes down to cost, availability and personal preference”
If you have a topic on which you’d like to see more information or have a question we can answer, please leave us a comment or contact us today.
Oct 18, 2012
American Energy Systems has been manufacturing corn stoves in Minnesota since they first developed the technology in the mid-1980′s. The company relocated to Hutchinson, MN to expand operations in 1984 and has continued to lead the hearth industry in renewable fuel appliances.
Minnesota is one of the top corn producing states in the country and has a rich history in both agriculture and natural resource preservation. Minnesota is also a manufacturing hub, with technological and engineering innovations recognized around the world. Minnesota corn production and manufacturing technologies pair well, as is evident in the production of Magnum corn stoves shipped to every corner of the United States and Canada, and the vast ethanol production facilities found throughout the state.
If you are looking for a corn stove in Minnesota, we’re proud to be just down the road! For those in other areas, we have a vast network of dealers and can ship anywhere in the United States when purchasing online.
May 22, 2012
Energy codes and national certification agencies require that a fresh air source is brought in from outside of the home and hooked directly to the appliance. It is estimated that 80% of homes in the USA have negative pressure in the home. It is a severe problem, especially on lower levels. Negative pressure means that your appliance may not run correctly, will burn dirty, and the safety systems will shut it down. Who wants all that?!
Fresh combustion air is important to make sure that your pellet stove does not spill smoke back into the home. Fresh combustion air also ensures your venting does not get plugged, and most importantly it helps fuel to burn clean and efficient. ALL MagnuM and Country Flame appliances from American Energy Systems are designed and certified to be operated with an outside fresh air source. You can be assured of total safety of operation.
In addition to supplying fresh air to the pellet stove, you need to check your home itself, and if needed, supply additional fresh makeup air to the home.
Apr 15, 2012
Alternative Heating Systems and Supplies, LLC is a family owned business located in Coward, SC. They are dealers of our MagnuM Countryside appliances, and share their story of how owners, Mack and Karen Evans began searching for a better way to heat their home that was more economical and Eco-friendly. After researching online as well as reading everything they could find on the subject, they traveled to examine other heating systems. Finally, they came upon what they had been searching for – Magnum and Countryside Heaters. Alternative Heating Systems and Supplies offers on the spot financing and go out of their way to insure their customers are happy.
They recently shared this customer story with us, highlighting one customer’s savings over the past eight years!
“I purchased my Magnum Baby Countryside Corn and Pellet stove heater eight years ago and it has served me well. It has worked trouble free; all I have to do is keep it clean and keep the fuel clean and dry.
It’s safe! If I open any doors on the unit, it will shut off (except the feed door.) There is no smell inside or outside of my house and there is no smoke; just clean heat. My heater heats all five rooms!” Jerry McRae
Anyone in the Coward, South Carolina area looking for corn or wood pellet burning stoves and fireplaces should stop in and see Mack and Karen at Alternative Heating Systems and Supplies on Hwy 52; directions and map.
Apr 11, 2012
Do you know what a clinker is? If you own a corn stove, you do! A clinker is a condition of fuel bonding together during the burning process. If your firepot is filling up quickly and you have overflowing clinkers, it’s likely that one of a few things is happening.
First, the most common reason for excessive clinkering would be the quality of the fuel, installation errors or maintenance. If the firepot is overflowing check your venting system, make sure that you have fresh air hooked to the appliance, check your home for negative pressure and clean your firepot out more frequently.
Then, if the firepot continues to overflow after just a couple hours it probably is fuel quality related. Check your fuel and if it is bad, replace with a quality fuel source. If the fuel is good, then check the firepot for proper fit, make sure the venting is clean and there are no problems with the draft blower system. Check all cleanout ports to make sure that the heat exchangers are not plugged.
There are complete maintenance, installation guidelines, and troubleshooting in your operations manual.
Can’t find your manual? Check our online manuals.
Apr 2, 2012
Yes, Magnum Countryside and Country Flame furnaces, fireplace inserts, and stoves can be connected to a low voltage or millivolt wall thermostat. The control boards are not designed however to work with an electronic thermostat that requires power from the appliance.
When the wall thermostat calls for heat the appliance will go to the heat setting that has been pre-selected. When the wall thermostat has been satisfied (the room is up to temperature), the appliance will go to a pilot fire that is pre-programmed into the appliance. If you have the auto ignition system and are operation on fully automatic, the appliance will shut down completely until the wall thermostat calls for heat and then it will light the unit and run at the pre-set heat setting.
If you are ready to buy, but have some very specific questions for us, we’d love to help you get the answers you need. Call 1-800-495-3196.
Jan 3, 2012
Yes, pellet stoves and corn stoves on the market today need electricity in order to work. If you want to run your corn stove during power outages, you will need to purchase a battery backup and inverter. These can be purchased at local retailers such as Best Buy and Circuit City, and many people in areas prone to bad winter storms and power outages find comfort in having a battery backup, even if it’s seldom needed.
Wondering how much electricity a pellet stove uses? Read, “How Much Electricity Does It Take to Run My Pellet Stove ?”
Dec 6, 2011
Dear American Energy Systems,
The years have gone by, and I have had the same results every time so I wanted to share them with your company. I am heating approximately 4500 sq feet of office space and warehouse.
Another heating season is starting, and I am very happy to inform you that I just had another flawless start up of both my heating units. I have an old 6500 furnace along with a baby corn stove. I am an extremely busy person, and maintenance is not one of my strong points. I am scared to confess that the past few years I have neglected to clean them after the heating season ended. In fact, I simply let the corn/wood pellets run out, the unit turned off, and that’s the way I left them all summer until just today. After a lot of vacuuming with my ash vac, I filled it, started it, and let them take off. These things are unbelievable. So, I simply wanted you to have my thanks for building such a solid unit, that even I can run it.
Ps, I will try to do a better job servicing my units this year. I want them to continuing saving me boat loads of money. One more thing: with natural gas it was costing up to $1000 a month to heat my office area. Now, it takes a pallet of corn which runs around $300 a month. HUGE savings there. Thank you very much for helping me buy my snow mobiles.
Nov 30, 2011
Can I burn treated seed corn in my corn stove?
Sorry, but it is not safe to burn treated seed corn. Seed corn is often treated with chemical pesticides that are harmful or fatal if swallowed; therefore, seed corn is dangerous to even have in the house, especially where children and pets can reach it.
But, untreated seed corn makes an excellent fuel so check with your local seed dealer.
Still have a quick question you’d like answered? Leave your question below in the comments or contact us.