Stoves for heating are experiencing a resurgence in popularity as people look to alternatives for heating oil and gas. Some places have restrictions on the use of wood or coal burning stoves due to air pollution concerns, but fortunately there are stoves that can heat homes while burning other products. Today's energy efficient multi fuel stoves burn renewable, environmentally friendly fuels, and are great options for those who want to heat their homes without using extra natural resources.
For centuries wood burning stoves were popular, and they still are, but today there are stoves that burn waste products like dried corn or wheat, or pellets made from compressed wood chips. Some stoves burn things like olive or cherry pits. So not only can a multi fuel burning stove process what are considered to be waste materials, they can cut your heating bills by up to 70%. Better yet, the US Environmental Protection Agency says that multi fuel burning stoves are the most energy efficient available.
If you buy a multi fuel stove, find out if the efficiency is rated on it. Stoves with efficiencies greater than 75% may qualify for US federal tax breaks for installing energy efficient appliances in homes.
GreenFire is one brand of multi fuel burning stoves. The pellets, hulled and dried wheat, or shelled and dried corn are usually cheaper than purchasing firewood, and they're certainly easier to cope with than wood you have to chop and split yourself. Unlike fossil fuels, the materials that go into these fuels are renewable. That they don't attract termites and don't require all the storage space of firewood are two other bonuses of using alternative fuels. They're also ready to use from the bag, whereas firewood will take a year to "season" properly.
The cost for multi fuel burning stoves is about the same as the cost for wood burning stoves. In some cases the savings in fuel costs can be huge. Those who spend $1,500 per month for electric heat can end up paying just $385 a month for corn. Sources for retailers of alternative fuels include the website of the Pellet Fuels Institute (www.pelletheat.org). Corn and wheat are popular fuels in the Midwestern and Great Plains areas of the US, and in the Pacific Northwest and the Northeast, wood pellets are generally more easily available.
If you're looking to burn alternative fuels, make sure that the biomass burning stoves you select from can burn more than just one type of product. Some stoves that burn corn, for example, won't burn wood pellets correctly, but true multi fuel burning stoves can be a great alternative to heating oil or burning wood or coal.