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
A typical outdoor corn boiler
looks like a small utility shed with
a smoke stack.
Water is heated by an insulated
firebox and pumped to your
home's heating system through
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
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 different species.
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 80,000 Btu.
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 $2,500.
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 backup.
Outdoor Corn Boilers | Biofuel Boilers