Corn Burning Boiler | Corn Burning Furnace
The furnace or boiler you consider should be UL listed. The boiler tank should also be
certified by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). A UL listed boiler or
furnace should have no effect on your home owner’s insurance policy, but check with
your agent to be sure.
When you’re shopping for a corn boiler, make sure it’s a closed system. A closed
system has many advantages over an open system.
An open system is vented to the atmosphere and needs a constant source of water to
replace the amount lost to steam and evaporation. The oxygen in the water of an
open system facilitates the formation of rust and will cause problems with the water
A closed system is filled one time with about 18 gallons of water and then sealed. No
oxygen means no rusty water jacket. Boilers operate at 12-15 psi with the safety
relief valve opening at 30 psi.
The boiler normally maintains temperature between 160 and 180 degrees. This is too
hot for an in-floor hydronic system which normally operates at 90-110 degrees. But
the addition of a mixing valve will bring the water temperature down to the
Standard features on the Traeger boiler includes a domestic hot water coil and a
hydronic water pump for in floor/under floor radiant heat. The A-MAIZE-ING unit doesn’
t offer a hydronic pump and the domestic hot water coil is optional.
Corn furnaces, like conventional furnaces, are available as updraft or downdraft units.
Updraft units are used when the furnace is installed in the basement, below the
heated floors. Downdraft units are used when the furnace is installed on the same
floor as the one being heated.
Horizontal, or lowboy installations, where the furnace is laid on its side, are also
possible with corn furnaces.
Corn Furnace or Boiler Venting
Proper venting is very important to the health and safety of your family. Keep the
distance from furnace to vertical flue as short as possible. The rule of thumb is 15 feet
You can use inexpensive black flue pipe between the boiler/furnace and chimney, but
in damp basements it corrodes quickly and will probably have to be replaced every 3-4
years. A permanent but more expensive solution is double wall stainless steel black
Your chimney will need a stainless steel or crack-free clay lining. Galvanized steel or
aluminum won’t work because the condensation from burning corn is more corrosive
than from gas or oil. The prices for stainless steel chimney liners start at $450 for a 25
How Much Does A Corn Furnace Or Corn Boiler Cost?
The price of a corn furnace or boiler depends on its size measured in BTUs. A 100,000
BTU furnace should sell for around $3,600. The larger, 165,000 BTU furnace is $4,200.
Add $1,000 to these prices for corn boilers.
Once you’ve decided which brand of boiler or furnace to buy, make sure it’s the latest
model available. Don't buy last year's model and pay extra for optional equipment that
might come standard with this year's model.
The corn burning boiler and
furnace are becoming
extremely popular, especially if
you live near a grain elevator
where you can buy corn in bulk.
The difference between a corn
furnace and corn boiler is
exactly what their names imply.
The furnace provides forced air
heating and the boiler is used
for radiators, baseboard
heaters or hydronic (liquid)
radiant in floor/under floor heat.
Both systems have fuel efficiency ratings of 80-85% and can be installed either as an
add on to an existing system or as a stand alone unit.
Hopper capacities vary according to manufacturer. The Traeger
GBU-130 furnace comes equipped with a 160 pound hopper,
while the hopper for the similar sized LDJ-620 series
boiler/furnace from A-MAIZE-ING holds 14 bushels, or 784
pounds of corn. Winter time consumption of corn is around 2
bushels per day.
Both of the systems mentioned above offer variable BTU input
rates. For the Traeger it’s 85,000-130,000 BTU/ hour vs.
80,000-165,000 for the A-MAIZE-ING. The ability to control the
BTU input rate is an important tool for managing heating costs.
Your furnace doesn’t need to output the maximum 130,000 BTU
to take the chill off your house on a frosty fall morning.