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wood stoves to heat house

Richmond, MI(Zone 5a)

i posted befor i need to know what your friends used wood or corn pellets to heat and the best furnace to buy. and would they invest again in the furnace?
thanks for any help you can send this way this will be in michigan we can get corn and wood to burn we just don't know the way to go .

Mount Angel, OR(Zone 8a)

We heat our home with a wood stove. It really is warm and we like it a lot but the biggest draw back is that it is dirtier than a regular furnace but I wonder somehow if corn would be cleaner, would think so.

Richmond, MI(Zone 5a)

i ment to say this is a furnace that is out side and heat is piped into the house.

N.C. Mts., NC(Zone 6b)

We have a wood stove that is in a seperate building. That keeps the mess out of your house.. It also heats our greenhouse.

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

We have a wood furnace inthe basement, our eldest daughter has an outdoor wood furnace that they put in last year. After having had a wood furnace in her basement and going to the outdoor furnace, she says she wouldn't do it any other way. It keeps the dust and smoke problems outside.

Blandinsville, IL(Zone 5a)

We have a snowflame corn burner, and it is much cleaner than wood, + you don't have to worry about creosote, and you vent it though the wall like you would a dryer. It sure helps out on the fuel bills in the winter! Here is a link that you might find interesting.
Ours is the standard style with black legs.


Richmond, MI(Zone 5a)

thank you all for the help you gave my brother in law got a corn furnace for outside to heat there house and work shop. they could have gone wood but he gets sent out of town to wor and he could put a big hopper to self feed it will still be cheaper than fule heat at 3.59 a gallon. thank again. cookie

Braselton, GA(Zone 8a)

How much corn does it use on an average day? Is this the kind of corn available at feed stores? And I know this is stupid but : does it smell or 'pop' like popcorn when it's burning?

Richmond, MI(Zone 5a)

my brother in law put a corn furnace out side and it is force air into the house. he burns about 80 pounds of corn a day the house has no insultion and a old one75 years old the 80 pounds last about18 hrs. the bags of corn wt. 40 pounds a bag. at 3.10 a bag yes they are far a head this way thefurnace is still hooked up to oil but as the corn burns iol is not used at all he feels it was a smart desion he made it don't smell like pop corn, butsmells like a roast corn so good. the furnace can burn,wood pellets,cherrie pits,i can't remember all it can about 10 different things

Lisbon, IA(Zone 5a)

Cooksterann, can you please find out what type of stove your brother got? Thanks!

IA Z5a

Marine City, MI


Where did your brother in-law buy his corn stove? I am currently researching to purchase one and I live East of Richmond, Marine City to be exact.

Any help you could give would be appreciated.

Frankfort, KY

I have a Fisher Baby Bear wood burning stove in my den that I've had for 25 years. Although it keeps the large room warm as toast, if I had it to do over again I would purchased a corn or pellet stove as they are less messy.

Cincinnati, OH

As messy as woodstoves are there is nothing more relaxing than look at a dancing flame while relaxing on a cold day if you happen to have glass doors. The downdraft on a catalytic is even better to watch.

Glennie, MI(Zone 5a)

We have a Woodmaster outside furnace. It heats 5500sq.ft.
During the coldest days this winter we filled it every 12 hrs. ,now we just put enough to keep it going for the nights and of course my little greenhouse. We buy our wood by the 10 pulpcord load . we figured it saved us about 1300 dollars this winter in propane,and that was paying 600 dollars for the wood. having the whole house the same temp and not having the mess in the house ,plus the fact our insurance went down 16 dollars a month. We are sorry we didn`t do sooner . I`m going to try and grow some veggies all winter. Hubby figures it will have paid for itself in about 4 years at the cost of propane this winter.Aleta

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

That sounds wonderful, Aleta. Part of my dream home!

edited for typo

This message was edited May 5, 2006 2:26 AM

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Darius, you're now in Limbo?!?!?!? Did you move??!?!?!?!

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Weegy, I'm now at my sister's in FL and we are going house-hunting in Virginia next week.

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Good luck to you!

Lisbon, IA(Zone 5a)

AFDolly, what kind of investment did that cost? My husband and I are looking at putting a corn furnace in our house and the we are expecting the cost to be about $6K when all is said and done.. Of course, it costs us something like $3K a year to heat our huge old white elephant. :)


Glennie, MI(Zone 5a)

Diann, It cost us 7500. that is for everything the furnace is 65 ft away from the house and we also heated the greenhouse. Our house is only 1500 sq ft. If we want we can also heat the 2 car garage. . They put the lines 42 inches in the ground. We have a generator,just in case the power goes out. Aleta

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Aleta, so your stove is forced air, not hot water pipes?

I want a wood fired outside boiler with oil or propane back-up for days away. Pipes run into the house, and into a greenhouse. Maybe even into a large workroom/storage area.

Glennie, MI(Zone 5a)

The outside wood furnace is water pipes . They put an exchanger in the forced air furnace that looks like a car radiator. our house furnace is propane and the heater in the greenhouse looks like one yu would hang in a garage, it is 40 thouand btus it will keep the greenhouse 60 degrees at 30 below outside. Each area has its own thermostat,so we keep the house at 72 and the greenhouse at 65. If yu have baseboard hot water heat in the house they hook it right into the water pipes . If the wood furnace goes out yur house furnace will kick in we keep that thermostat at 65.


So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Thanks. Sounds kinda like a hybrid system of water and forced air.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Just out of curiosity, why aren't you guys insulating those old houses? All they have to do is blow in insulation into the walls. Seems to me it would be much cheaper and warmer too.


Lisbon, IA(Zone 5a)

Jnette, We did insulate the attic. But as far as the walls go, it's kind of impossible for us to do that since our house is solid masonry. If you were to fall and hit your head on an outside interior wall of our house it would probably knock you out. The walls are solid brick with plaster on the interior and stucco on the exterior. It's great in the summer cause it's always 10 to 15 degrees cooler in the house than out side, but in the winter the house acts like a giant heat sink. Windows and doors are our next project, and even those will be difficult cause nothing is standard sized in this house. It's a good thing we like this old barn or we would have sold it a long time ago.


Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Ok, yeah, windows and door is about it since you already did the ceiling huh?


Lisbon, IA(Zone 5a)

Jnette, we did the attic. It's a two story house.


Rosamond, CA(Zone 8b)

They have that styrofoam looking sheet insulation that has foil on the outside of it and the r rating is higher than the average, if you glued or used a cement, concrete driver to attach some kind of fastener to the sheet and to the inside walls, you could attach some veneer, paneling, luan or beadboard to the insulation and in the rooms that you mostly stay in, in the winter, it would be much warmer and not too hard or overly expensive. They even sell thin styrofoam in sheets too, cheap. Do you guys get permits and get the firedepartment to inspect your wood stoves? i have a huge Blaze King and we want to install it but if anything caught fire or caused a fire that damaged somebody elses property, we`d be screwed. Everyone says it is a pain to install them the right way. opinion?

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Have you checked the code for the installation of them? That should tell you what is safe. Also, I'm not sure why the fire department would inspect them. I would think there would be some kind of home inspection type only someone who deals with furnaces and stoves to do it. But then every state, county, city, etc. has different requirements.

Maybe it would be worth it to pay a licensed and bonded company to install it? Or have you checked that already? I think just for the peace of mind maybe it would be worth it.

Rosamond, CA(Zone 8b)

I think you are right, here the fire men , inspect stove instalation for the permits for the town.

Des Moines, IA

I am in Iowa....I bought a house with a Fisher Wood burning stove in it. I can't remember how to do get the maximum heat . Can anyone help me??? How to use the vent knobs, etc. I have tried to get on the internet of Fisher, but unable. Thank you anyone for helping me.

Rosamond, CA(Zone 8b)

I wish I knew, we are still trying to figure out what type to get. A stove store could tell you, just act interested in buying a stove similar to yours.

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)


I'm not familiar with whatever kind of Fisher you have but on most woodstoves the "drafts" are located at the bottom (you referred to them as 'vents'). Then, along the stove pipe there is a "damper" which regulates the airflow/smoke going out of the stove/heatbox and up the chimney.

When lighting the stove, have both the drafts and the damper wide open to allow air to help the fire get started.

Once you have a good fire going, and hardwood is burning well, you can start closing the drafts a bit (halfway for starters) and also the damper (roughly halfway). This will regulate the air coming in and also help keep the heat from all going out the stove-pipe/chimney.

Once there is a good bed of coals and a hot fire burning you can easily regulate your heat by opening or closing the drafts and the damper. (Once my fire is going good I close my damper about 3/4ths...that allows the smoke to continue out the chimney, allows a decent airflow, and keeps the heat in the stove/house. If it gets too cool in the house and there is still wood in the firebox "simmering" I open the drafts a bit. This allows air to flow into the firebox and "fans" the coals to increase the flame around the simmering wood.)

Hope this is helpful. One woodstove is different from another so just play around with it, I bet you'll catch on quicker than you realize!


Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)


Have you tried getting an instruction book on the net? Most appliances etc. that I need them for I just google the brand and take it from there. Sometimes you can print them out and sometimes you have to pay for them and get them in the mail. But, I have found it is no big deal.


Barrington, IL(Zone 5a)

ok, everybody. i just read in mother earth news that there was a shortage of corn and pellets last year. do your homework before you spend a lot of money.

Rosamond, CA(Zone 8b)

yes, it seems to be another year that we have time to think about it now as most of our winter is probably over. You can never tell here anymore.

Hartford, WI

Last fall I had installed a Royall 6200 outside wood boiler which worked well until recently. It was 10:00 P.M., February 25, 2007, snowing and 30°F when I fired the boiler for the night (the last forecast I heard was for a low of 20°); shortly after, I turned down the thermostat from 71° to 67° and went to bed. My wife and I slept comfy and warm until 1:30 A.M. – that was when the drama began.

The Royall 6200 is a 200,000 Btu closed system with a blower-induced draft controlled by an adjustable aqua-stat. Through the winter I learned to adequately heat my home by setting aqua-stat at 185° and adjust the manually operated draft damper according to outside temperature, wind direction and speed, type of wood and solar heat gain – all elements impacting heating/draft requirements. Also, to meet standards, the boiler has a 30 psi relief valve manufactured by Conbraco Industries.

The boiler supplies our hot water heating system through 1 ¼” pex tubing (Rehau Insulpex). The tubing is buried for 75’, enters the basement wall and then continues for another 15’ where it makes a transition to 1 ¼” type M copper.

Like I said, it worked all winter: So, what happened? At 1:30 A.M, a deafening explosion actually rocked the house, causing my wife and I to bolt from bed and shout in unison, “What the hell was that?” She thought an airplane hit the house but I, retired but with 33 years of metro firefighting experience, knew what it was by what I heard after the blast – high pressure steam.

Just like back in the day, I immediately dressed, put on boots and began processing a plan of action. Hot steam pushed around the basement door so I reached in with a gloved hand just to turn on the light; then I went outside and opened the cellar door, releasing enough steam so I could enter to shut off the heating system’s power and water supply – I was separated from the rupture by 30’ and a wall. I then scrambled to the boiler and filled the firebox with snow. Okay, with everything under as much control as I could exert and the sound of rushing steam replaced by dribbling water, I reentered the basement to determine what happened.

I discovered a one foot catastrophic rupture of the Insulpex tubing where it entered the basement from the wall. I was amazed, wondering what could have caused the (reported) highest quality pex transfer system to fail so disastrously, but, moreover, I was thankful the blast did not occur while working on a project or when I sent one of my grandkids down to fetch canned goods. Since only a few gallons of water stood on the basement floor and steam’s expansion ratio is 1,600 to 1, the system failure could have yielded almost 30,000 cubic feet of scalding steam.

What I’ve learned since the disaster:

Rehau Insulpex: Like all pex, it is rated for a maximum of 80 psi at 200° F. Speaking to a Rehau engineer, he stated – off the record – they test Insulpex for other applications at 240° without failure. So why did it fail?

Was it my entire fault? The boiler obviously became overheated. On the night of my disaster, the weather forecast I heard said the low would be 20° so I set the draft damper at 1/3. But, in fact, the temperature rose to 35°. Had I known that, I would have set it to about 1/6 open.

The relief valve: Conbraco Industries told me their relief valve was the safest thing on the boiler and that it absolutely would release at 30 psi. They also stated that the installed valve was not suitable for the application. He told me to read the tag affixed to the valve – I did. “4) DO NOT use this valve on a coal or wood boiler having an uncontrolled Btu heat input.” Since my boiler has a manually operated damper, it is uncontrolled. (A controlled boiler would be one where the aquastat not only stops the draft motor at a set temperature, but would also automatically close the draft opening.)

I kept digging because the Insulpex “should” have withstood up to 240° at 80 psi and the relief valve should have released at 30 psi despite the boiler’s lack of draft control. I found the answer when I discovered a steam temperature/pressure chart. At 30 psi, steam is 274° F. Somewhere below 30 psi – 29 psi @ 270°, for all I know – the superheated water entered the pex within the basement. At that point, free from the pressure of 4’ of compacted cold earth and exposed to room temperature, the pex softened and expanded, ultimately exploding the return tube. At the moment of rupture, the pressure within the tube became 1 atmosphere, allowing all the water above 212° to directly become steam which caused the violent and instantaneous steam release.

Appraised of the facts as I knew them, I contacted the installer who came to the site within 8 hours – he scratched his head in disbelief. He said he had seen these boilers reach 240° with Insulpex installed with no adverse effect. In fact, I had noticed my boiler reach that temperature several times whereupon I immediately closed the draft and turned up the thermostats to use up the accumulated heat.

I then contacted the Royall manufacturer who nearly immediately told me that over-fired boilers voided the warranty. I told him that the instruction booklet had no directions for setting the aquastat and the draft, that the relief valve was not the proper type, that the boiler should have a temperature/pressure (T&P) relief valve much like a hot water heater, that his boiler should have an automatic draft damper and that pex tubing (something Royall recommends under a different brand) could not withstand the boiler’s potential output. He said he would get back to me.


Anyone with a Royall boiler, or one with its characteristics, who installed pex supply tubing with its terminus inside the house, should immediately shut it down until a transition to copper is made outside the building. The below-ground pressure and temperature keep the pex intact but catastrophic failure is likely when the tubing is relieved of pressure within a warm basement. If in close proximity, one may expect injury or death from shrapnel, a steam-burned airway and extensive 3rd degree burns.

Additionally, if the boiler (closed system) is not refitted to limit its output to 200° F, one can expect buried pex tubing to fail prematurely.

This recommendation does not apply to open systems and those boilers equipped with a properly rated T&P relief valve and equipped with an automatic damper control.

In Conclusion:

I’ve heard nothing more from the installer and manufacturer. I believe justice indicates they should make things right, so, if they make light of this experience, I’ll be forced to litigate.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Bob, I certainly hope you live up to the Badger part of your name. I hear they are part tiger. LOL In all seriousness, I sincerely do hope you go after them. That could have been so much worse than it was. Fortunately you knew what to do. So many people, including myself, would not.

Please keep us posted as to the outcome.


KC Metro area, MO(Zone 6a)

WOW. Thank god no one was hurt. keep us posted.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Lots of good information there... what TO DO and what NOT. Glad you are okay.

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