corn burner or pellet stove or?

pinch_meNovember 10, 2009

Someone asked in the fireplace forum but got no response except from me. we are looking for a small stove for use when the power goes out. They want a jotul type stove with the glass door. I'd settle for anything that would put out enough heat for one room and a space for a pan or skillet on top so I could at least warm up some soup. I've never had any kind of stove like that and have no idea what to look for.

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You might want to take pellet stoves out of the list based on your needs. The pellets are fed by an electric auger into the fire box. Without power the pellet stove will also be down and out. In a previous home I had a Vermont Castings natural gas stove in a lower level room. It had a glass front and produced a nice flame pattern on the "logs" inside. It was attached to it's own thermostat and worked even with no electricity. That type of stove is also available in LP gas and attached to a large tank in the yard if your home is not piped for natural gas. Some of the newer stoves can be vented in a manner very similar to a clothes dryer, right through the wall with just a small vent on the outside of your house. Gas Logs work without electric if you already have a fireplace/chimney to use them with but then I suppose you would just burn wood.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2009 at 12:18PM
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Some brands of pellet stoves can be run off a marine battery. We have one and if needed it can run for about 24 hours off a marine battery and then it will trickle charge it when the power turns back on. luckily, we have never had to try that.

Pellet stoves can get hot, but I have tried to cook on my old one (our new one doesn't have a grate on top) and it never really worked that well. My mom used to cook on an old wood stove when our power went out and that worked awesome. Pellet stoves are not really designed for that and we have one that heats up our 1800 sq ft house. One that is small (for one room) would not work well for cooking or warming food items. In general, they are much more insulated that wood stoves. Our first one didn't even get hot on the sides when it was going full blast. You should go and check one out, they work much differently than wood stoves. They have fans, electronics panels and augers.

I think certain gas stoves may work, although my parents have one for their sunroom and it doesn't get hot enough on top for cooking or anything.

Corn stoves also require augers but I am sure that some would run off a battery if need be.

I know it is more work, but have you thought about an old -school wood stove? That may be ideal for what you want. you can get a lot of styles now too, but you do need a chimney (unlike some pellet stoves and gas stoves that can direct vent)


    Bookmark   November 11, 2009 at 5:41PM
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>Vermont Castings natural gas stove>

March 2008 I took out my LP furnace, water heater and sold everything. LP tank and all. Stupid? Sometimes I'm sure of it. But now that the farmers are using so much LP to dry corn maybe I was smart after all. Who knows? Venting out the wall like a dryer sounds promising.

...old -school wood stove...
As of today, I am. Two years ago I was without power for 7 days. Hauled water. Ran a little generator for the furnace but now with the heat pump, my generator won't run it. I'd like a little stove that could provide heat, a little light and somewhere to warm something up. I wouldn't have to cook raw meat but a can of soup would be divine!

    Bookmark   November 11, 2009 at 7:08PM
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How about running an electric stove off of the generater? They will heat one room, and get a hot plate or microwave to heat up your soup. (Also with the generater) I don't have gas either, but will use the fireplace in a pinch. Barb in Ar.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2009 at 8:06PM
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I guess I could do that. I wasn't crazy about filling the generator every 4 hours. I thought a wood burner inside the house sounded so much cozier! I could stack firewood in the attached garage. But now that you have me thinking.....the little generator could run the space heater and some lights. and a hot plate. Maybe the toaster oven? Maybe the TV! It's pretty boring without electricity in the dark. Move my recliner to the bathroom. It's the smallest room. Thanks. Guess I was stuck on stupid today.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2009 at 8:12PM
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While we are at it(I need to say I live in an old schoolhouse) I keep a coleman lamp that runs on batteries, I have oil lamps filled, and for cozy, I have one of those small electric heaters that looks like a wood burner. Cute and keeps one room warm. I hope I am ready for power outage. Always something. Barb in Ar.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2009 at 4:37PM
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Barb in Ar, what's your plan to keep the small electric heater that looks like a wood burner going without electricity? Do you have a generator? Having lived through a whole week outage a couple of years ago, it's the pits! I'd come home from work and fire up the generator. Let it run to warm up the old two story farm house while I did chores with hauled in water. "Cook" on the table top grill in the garage. And did I mention it's dark? And it's dark everywhere! I timed the refil on the generator so I could fill it just before I went to bed. Then as soon as I was dressed in the morning, fill and fire up the generator again. All of this outside. Go to work, come home and do it all again. A litte stove inside the house is much more appealing. It won't warm the whole house but it could be good enough.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2009 at 8:05PM
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I'll second that. We live on a line with only eleven customers on it. We're often the first line to go out and obviously the last to come back on. We have two generators but they're only used for my greenhouses. A few years ago, we had a power outage for three days in a snowstorm, the g'houses were full of crops and all of them were sold already. We had to pull two hour rotations to keep the generators running and filled and it was h-e-double toothpicks. So, if you don't have a big unit hooked up to a gas main or LP tank, you do the dance, and hope you can get out on the road to buy more gas. If you can't, you're stuck. You also have to have a cut-off to the lines so you don't inadvertently feed power back into the system and possibly electrocute some poor lineman working on them. I can't remember what the one we install cost, but it cost but it cost more than the generator, and had to be to the power company's spec and approved. Also I've heard some horror stories about damage to appliances and electronics from being run on generators.

I started looking for ways to be comfortable off the grid we could depend on. If you are on a gas main or use propane, there are some really efficient gas grates and fireplaces you can get for heat, not dependent on electricity for thermostatting. The one in our kitchen is cast iron. We have a huge old farmhouse and the one grate keeps three rooms comfortable if necessary. It holds heat even when the fire is out for awhile. I even installed a pitcher pump in the kitchen so we wouldn't be dependent on the electic pump to bring in water from our spring water cache basin. As soon as a gas line came through, I got rid of the electric stove and got a gas cook-top with a pilot light. I have lanterns in each room and seriously am considering installing a gas light in the kitchen. You can get them code-approved for U. S. use from a company in Canada. I even have a treadle sewing machine. Non electric kitchen gadgets like a manual can opener. And I keep a stocked pantry.

We may not have a television for a few days, or a computer.......but I also don't have to listen to a gas engine running night and day.

There are small wood-burning heat stoves you can buy with surfaces suitable for a pan or pot to cook on. My folks used to have one in their river cottage. It had a small fire-box and had to be tended and cleaned out more often than a larger stove, but served the purpose. It didn't take the larger pieces of wood like you'd maybe use in a fireplace, either.

This doesn't look just like it, but is similar.

Here is a link that might be useful: small woodburning stove you can cook on

    Bookmark   November 13, 2009 at 12:06AM
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I like the price on that one a lot! Too bad it doesn't ship here. A glass door would be perfect.I'm also going to have to give up a significant amount of floor space for it; and hopefully it isn't something I'll HAVE to use often.
Yes, to get out to buy gas was also added to my day. And then I had 5 gal. gas cans stored too near the house to suit me. I just don't want to do it again. One day, maybe, but not longer.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2009 at 5:52AM
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O.K. I have you all beat!Two weeks without electricity. Fireplace going 24-7. That is work! A generator to heat up the water (I did have water) and sometimes for the heater or tv.I have a battery radio.Roads were blocked until a neighbor came with the chainsaw. I am so old I remember those days of no electricity. Came in handy, and I learned some new lessons. One is, be prepared. later, I had to teach a few hurricane refugees too. Sorry, I meant Evacuees.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2009 at 6:24PM
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Be prepared. Makes me think of the Homeland Security site. Now THERE'S a joke! Three days worth of food and water, a roll of duct tape and a package of plastic. You'll be fine. I'm more prepared than that every day of my life. Maybe it's because I don't live across the street from a grocery store. I expect to be snowed in so I keep everything on hand I might need. I'm so old I know how to do it.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2009 at 7:18PM
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Same here. I took a lot of kidding about my survivalist mentality until the person in question found out what it's like to go a week without electric. Or was snowbound for the first time. Three days of supplies is a joke and I agree. Three weeks is more like it, minimum. I grow most of my own food, and am big into canning and preserving. In wintertime, I always keep rations for the chickens stocked up so they'll never starve to death if I can't get out. We could eat for six months without ever going to a store. LOL.

Even though we have main gas backup, we have about a month's supply of seasoned firewood set back too. DH never understood why I make him trim up the downed trees and stack it, and I hope he never has to find out.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2009 at 9:04PM
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calliope, I've cooked oatmeal and baked corn bread for the chickens! They give me eggs in exchange. Good trade, don't you think? Yeah, I have almost as much critter food stored as people food. Stores easily in the winter, I don't keep as much on hand in the summer. And the chickens and horses can eat off the land in the summer, too.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2009 at 9:20PM
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My sister and BIL run a pellet stove business... I don't know the correct 'lingo', but when they installed my little pellet stove (that I *LOVE*!) she told me there are pellet stoves that you can buy that will run for at least 3 days without power. By "run", I mean that they will continue to feed pellets automatically and continue burning. I don't remember the technology used to accomplish that, but they are specifically equipped so that they will continue working for fairly long power outages.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2009 at 9:55AM
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party_music50, could you ask for some details or a web site for me?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2009 at 9:12PM
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pinch_me, I'll ask my sister.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2009 at 8:47AM
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pinch_me, I re-read your original post. Are you interested in the pellet stoves that have the backup power system to continue running when there's a power outage, or are you interested in pellet stoves that have top heater units (like to warm soup on)? I'm pretty sure that both kinds exist.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2009 at 8:54AM
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I guess both. If the power is out, I need to be able to run it. And if the power is out, I have no way to "cook". It doesn't look like I'll get it this year but if I can get my research done now, I'll be set for next year.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2009 at 9:09AM
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My sister says:

Thelin is the only one that has back up for days - you can buy battery back up for any stove but that will only last a couple of hours, and it's $$$$ to get a generator instead. Any cast iron stove will keep food warm but not cook it (like bake bread or a roast) but would probably warm up soup.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 8:38PM
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Thanks. I'll investigate the Thelin. I have a generator but it won't run the heat pump. I guess it could run an auger for little stove though. How long will one of those run on a fill of pellets? An hour? A day? Something inbetween? Can you hand fill them? I could do that while I'm here.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 10:21PM
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Of course you can cook on a simple little cast iron heat stove. I've eaten more than a few meals cooked on them and I'm not talking just warming soup. No batteries, no generators and no looking for pellet fuel. I used to work in the section of a home improvement box store where we sold alternate fuel stoves. I got call after call all day long of people looking to buy the fuel. They went clean into the next county to try to get it. The next year, there was plenty of it available but the price went waaaaay up.

You can find really inexpensive, decent little wood burners used. And if you have land or connections, the wood is cheap or free.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2009 at 3:22AM
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