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HomeHomes
Published: Thursday, 12/21/2006

Hot New Alternative Heating Option: Multi-Fuel Stoves

(ARA) - If environmental, cost and convenience concerns put the damper on your love affair with your wood burning stove, take heart. New energy efficient multi-fuel stoves that burn environmentally friendly, renewable fuel could re-ignite your passion.

Wood-burning stoves have been a home heating staple for centuries. More recently, stoves that burn dried wheat or corn, or pellets made from dehydrated, compressed wood chips, have grown in popularity. Multi-fuel stoves are the first heating option that allows you to burn all three environmentally friendly fuels in the same stove.

Like traditional wood or other single-fuel stoves, the multi-fuel stoves, when used as an alternative heat source for your home, can cut your energy bill by up to 70 percent, says Glenda Lehman Ervin of Lehman's, an old-time general store founded by her father in northeast Ohio in 1955. "The Environmental Protection Agency rates multi-fuel stoves as the most energy efficient stoves available," Lehman Ervin says.

"Multi-fuel stoves allow responsible homeowners to take care of the environment and their wallets at the same time," says Lehman Ervin. Purchasing pellets, shelled and dried corn or hulled and dried wheat can be cheaper than buying wood and easier than chopping your own free wood. These alternative fuels are good for the environment because they are made of endlessly renewable materials that do not contribute to climate change the way fossil fuels do.

"You need to have the storage space for wood and it takes a year to properly season wood for your stove," Lehman Ervin notes. Wood must also be stored properly to ensure it is preserved and does not attract rodents or insects close to your home. Corn, wheat and pellets, however, require much less storage space and no special preparation or consideration by the homeowner.

"Anyone who doesn't have access to wood or who would prefer to avoid the chore of chopping it, or the risk of storing it in their home, would find a multi-fuel burning stove a versatile alternative," she says. Like any stove, the multi-fuel stoves require a chimney. And the convenience of the alternative fuels makes a multi-fuel stove a good option for anyone living in a more urban area.

Multi-fuel stoves cost about the same as a traditional wood-burning stove. However, fuel costs are less than buying wood and far beneath fossil fueled heat. Dell-Point Europa, manufacturers of Greenfire stoves, cite a vast difference in average fuel costs: more than $1,500 per month for electric, $1,000 for oil and just $385 for corn.

"Depending on where you live in the country, finding fuel can be as easy as visiting the local feed store," Lehman says. Or, you can find retailers on line at www.pelletheat.org, the Web site of the pellet fuels institute, or by searching online for corn and wheat sellers in your area. In bread basket states, corn and wheat are popular fuels. In the Pacific Northwest and Northeast, wood pellets may be more readily available. Courtesy of ARA Content



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