The outdoor corn boiler is
an eco-friendly alternative to
the outdoor wood furnace.
Corn boilers are also
"Biofuel." This gives you the
option to burn corn or wood
pellets, depending on which
fuel is cheaper in your area.
A typical outdoor corn boiler
looks like a small utility shed
with a smoke stack.
Water is heated in an insulated firebox and pumped to your home's heating
system through durable underground tubing.
Once indoors, the heated water travels through a water-to-water heat
exchanger to heat your domestic hot water. If you currently heat with a
forced air system, you could also install a water-to-air heat exchanger in the
plenum of your existing furnace for home heating.
Corn boilers are also a natural for homes heated by radiant baseboard,
radiant in-floor, and between the joists underfloor retro-fits.
In addition to heating your home and out-buildings, an outdoor corn boiler
can be sized and configured with various heat exchangers to heat spas,
swimming pools and greenhouses - all from one central boiler.
One of the advantages corn fired boilers have over their wood fired
counterparts is ease of stoking. Unlike an outdoor wood furnace which
requires twice daily loading by hand, the fuel for a corn boiler can be
augured directly into the firebox from an attached storage bin.
Another advantage of heating with corn is its consistent heat value. While
the heat value of low moisture fuel corn is uniform from one bushel to the
next, the heat value of hardwoods can vary by as much as 100% between
Since outdoor corn boilers are designed to heat multiple buildings from as
far away as 500 feet, the smallest units are rated around 200,000 Btu. As
a point of reference, the average gas or oil fired home furnace is rated at
According to Art Beerys, a dealer for Universal outdoor corn boilers, a
complete 200,000 Btu system will cost around $10,000. The major
components are: corn boiler $6,000, storage bin $1,000, and installation
The real wild card here is the cost of installation. In addition to a concrete
pad for the boiler, the system requires a water to water heat exchanger for
domestic hot water (free hot water during the heating season), a water to
air heat exchanger for your existing furnace (which still functions as a
backup), underground insulated piping
($10 a foot), and of course, labor.
Once you get the go ahead from your building department, visit your
insurance agent for additional input. Some homeowners insurance policies
require you to keep and maintain your existing oil or gas furnace as
Outdoor Corn Boilers | Biofuel Boilers