"I Burn Ear Corn In My Furnace"

Dave Devito, Mora, Minn., contacted us recently to say he burns ear corn in his Aqua Therm outside wood-burning furnace -- just like the Michigan reader we featured in our last issue.

"I've been burning ear corn in my wood boiler for three years with no modification at all. If I run out of corn, I just switch back to wood," he says.

He plants a field of corn specifically for burning and harvests it with a corn picker. A gravity wagon full of ear corn is parked next to the shed that houses his furnace. He loads corn out into a wheelbarrow and shovels it into the stove. In normal winter weather he burns about two wheelbarrow loads of corn a day to heat his 2,400 sq. ft. home, stoking the furnace every 12 hours. When temps get to 0 degrees or colder, he uses three loads. For every wheelbarrow full of cob corn that he burns, he takes out about a scoop shovel full of ash and clinkers.

"I actually think ear corn burns better than wood because it packs in better with no open spaces. You can really pack it in," notes Devito.