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Shop heat / corn stoves??

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Shop heat / corn stoves??
« on: December 24, 2007, 01:53:10 AM »
My shop is concrete block and has been heated by coal for the 30 years we have had it. Big pot belly furnace with a box fan blowing on it to get the heat arouind the 32 X 48 shop. Coal is dirty, a week every year in the spring to clean the shop. And $70.00 a ton last year at the mine!!!  Along with several trips a day to the shop just to tend to the fire.  Getting rid of the ash is dirty. Did I say that it tends to make a mess in the shop. I need something better!
Anyone out there running a 100,000btu+ corn hot air furnace? Or a wood pellet verison? Other ideas?
I'm stuck with forced air as the shop is already built. If I were to build new I would put the tubes in the floor and go with an outside wood or corn fired boiler.
 I do have a 90+ gas furnace that we installed a couple of years ago that I can keep it ~ 50 degrees for ~ 3 dollars a day.
But I really like the corn idea.


- Steve
Steve Sewell
Albany, Ohio USA

Shop heat / corn stoves??
« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2007, 02:37:25 AM »
What about waste oil burner?  I have been saving all manor of used oil to either build a waste oil burner or get a low budget commercial unit.  They are popular in my area.  One of my problems is most commercial ones are too big for my small (24 X 32) shop.

Renton, WA.

Shop heat / corn stoves??
« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2007, 01:55:49 PM »
Those waste-oil heaters use a lot of fuel, I am told. If you're going to use one check the burn rate. I had a trucking company client who installed one in their shop, planning to use the oil from their tractors. They end up having to supplement with heating oil.


Greg Hass

Shop Heat/Corn stoves
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2008, 07:59:27 PM »
I installed a corn boiler in my house this winter and just got it running about a month ago.  Mine happens to be a boiler of 100,000 BTU, however they do make a 160,000 BTU unit.  It is the "A-maizing heat" brand.  The same company also makes a forced air unit, which is a little over $1000 cheaper than the boiler.  So far I have been happy with it, and so has my wife.  

The problems I have had are mainly in the area of learning the ins and outs of the operation of the unit.  Ours is an older 2-story house built in approximately 1915.  Our temperature outdoors has been ranging between 15 and 32 degrees (F) for the last month, and we have been averaging 100-110 lbs. corn burned per day.  (You do the math.)  It keeps the house at approx. 70 degrees (F).  After 3 weeks of use, I had a little over 3 gal. of ashes to take out.  

Greg Hass

shop heat
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2008, 11:22:56 PM »
You ask about other ideas.  One idea is to burry plastic pipe and just circulate air though the pipes.  I think ground temperature is close to 65 degrees 5 or 6 foot down, with only small variations year round.  You might want to check this in your area - or even drill a hole and measure with a thermometer.  I am doing this from memory, without my data, so I could be off slightly.
Just circulating air should warm the air enough to get some heat out for your shop.  The amount of heat you get depends on how much plastic pipe you bury, air flow, pipe spacing, etc.
There is some website that is advocating this heating method for heating houses, etc.  That site has more details on it. It is worth checking out just for the information.
I have not yet tried it, but hope to try it after I get my shop built. Being in outside of Houston, I may use it more for cooling than heating, but it should work for both.

Shop heat / corn stoves??
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2010, 08:02:52 AM »
Been a couple years, but thought I would bump this back up, considering the weather. Any updates on this thread?
My brother heats his shop with corn. It is an old chicken house with 3 seperate rooms. The corn stove keeps the main area pretty warm. Also heats his house with corn. He will use about 230 bushels during the winter to heat both.

I too have wondered about the buried tile with air forced through it. Average soil temp here in western Ohio at 6 feet is about 56 degrees. May be an economical way to keep above freezing. Currently use a LP furnace in the shop.


Shop heat / corn stoves??
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2010, 12:39:10 PM »

You fooled me!

I didn't notice the dates on the messages until I got to your message.
I thought we actually had some participation on a tread!

I've had plans for a waste oil burner for years as I've thought about modifying the wood stove I have in my shop.  I must have around 50 gallons of used oil I've saved from oil changes, etc. over the years.  In fact I'm kind of out of storage at the moment and my have to take some to a recycler before I can do any more oil changes.

One of these years maybe I'll actually modify my stove and see if the waste oil burner helps.  I've always had a good supply of wood to burn, but getting rid of the waste oil and getting some extra heat would be nice.



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Shop heat / corn stoves??
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2010, 03:55:06 PM »
Interesting thread. No problem getting rid of used oil here as there is a collection tank in town for recycling. No charge and they take the filters too. I'm collecting mine now in an old 250 gallon weed sprayer tank and I don't think its half full yet. I have heard that if you have a big enough quantity there are companies that will come out to the farm and pick it up and pay for it. We'll see I guess when the tank is full.
I was surprised at the figures you guys give for ground temperature. I'd always heard that our ground temperature runs about the 40 degree mark. Thats why well water is always cold and people used to store there perishable items like milk and butter on a rope down the well.
Can't think of the name but I know the ground heat recovery system you are talking about. Although I never could quite figure how pumping 40 degree air into your house in the winter time would be of much use. :-)
Ralph in Sask.

Shop heat / corn stoves??
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2010, 07:51:29 PM »
As a youngster, there was a local repair shop that used wood stove for heat. He modified the stove with a steel "J"  tube in the top of the stove connected to an elevated waste oil tank. When the fire was hot, he would open the valve to the tank and let the oil run through the tube. The heat would vaporize the oil before entering the stove and burned very well. He used this system as long as I can remember being around.

My brother built a 60'x100' building for his repair business. Originally had a radiant LP gas system. He later installed a commercial waste oil system for heat. He doesn't generate enough oil to keep it running, but customers and neighbors bring their oil for him and he seldom runs out.. It does have a fuel oil backup.

I have discussed this before on the ground subsurface temperature and I for one believe the local climate dictates the subsurface temperature, at least to a moderate depth of less than 20 feet. My well has a water level of about 20 feet and does not have what I consider cold water, never below 56 degrees. Goethermal recirculating systems are becoming popular here where the residence has enough area to bury the pipes. Systems usually are at 7 feet to 8 feet deep. They mostly use plain wateras there is no danger of freezing here at this depth. The system then runs the water through a heat exchanger to increase the temp to about 85 degrees for heating and reverses for air conditioning. They are now installing the systems vertically in a 3 foot hole drilled in the ground.

For my shop the LP furnace is set at 42 degrees  to keep it above freezing. I think if I could use the 56 degree air through a tile would eliminate the need to use any heat to maintain above freezing.


Shop heat / corn stoves??
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2010, 08:14:08 AM »
Back to the corn stoves.

My brother Gary made the deal of the year at Portland swap meet this spring. A friend of ours had a corn burning furnace in very nice condition. Gary bought it for $400.00. Replaced the smaller one in his shop. He got all the pipe with it to run the flue. Took it home and installed it with no changes in his installation. He will now have plenty heat to keep warm next winter. His shop is an old chicken house with 3 sections that he has insulated and makes a nice shop as he can close off the unneeded rooms and only heat the work area.


Shop heat / corn stoves??
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2015, 03:19:03 PM »
Well with all the zombi shows being popular I think resurrecting this thread is OK...

I heated my shop with a propane furnace from a trailer. I mounted it up in the "attic" area and added a cold air return system by simply covering the front panel and adding a pair of 8" ducts that go into the corners and down to about a foot off the floor. Works great for a 30X40 shop that is fully insulated. The small shop has a stand alone propane "fireplace" unit made in the 70's (I think) Works well enough but has a hard time when it's real cold because the "doors" are simple plywood panels.

The radiant heat in the new shop is great BUT if I had thought it out better I would make a few changes to the drainage system. Namely I would have added slit drains around the "parking" areas and I would have added a small circuit in the front apron area and increased the diameter of the outer perimeter circuit. Extra drains because the town now uses a calcium additive with the salt and it creates a BIG mess. The extra drainage might have made that easier. The heated apron would have helped with icing. I did add a couple ceiling fans to help circulate the heat better. Those made a big difference. Then I up an let a couple relatives use it.....  Someday I'll learn...

Have a neighbor who opened a garage for general repair and he wasn't getting enough waste oil to keep the big unit filled. He put it up for sale and has installed a smaller unit and a fuel oil tank as reserve. I take all my used oil to him but that's only a few gallons a month.
I know a few guys who are running pellet stoves and furnaces. They seem to work well as long as you do your part in cleaning the ash out and adjusting the unit to match the pellets you have. The units were expensive but they do give off a nice heat.
Not many use corn/coal in this area, hard to find fuel unless you pay a premium for the bagged stuff.

Shop heat / corn stoves??
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2015, 12:01:05 PM »
Steve, I am in the preplanning stage for a new shop. Will be 28' x 36' stick built on a foundation with 6" walls and fully insulated. Size is dictated by location. Will likely heat it with propane. My present shop is heated with propane with an all position 90 plus furnace. it is on an angle iron frame laying horizontally about 5 feet above the floor. No ductwork, just a sheet metal deflector to circulate the heat. I like this setup very well.


Shop heat / corn stoves??
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2015, 01:58:35 PM »
If you can't build out, build up...   :-)

I stuck mine overhead to get it out of the way. Added the cold air returns and a duct along the ceiling just to distribute the heat better. I like the propane because it's easy to work with and cleaner to deal with than other fuels. Plus, if you live near an outfit that repairs/strips mobile homes you can usually get them for a lot less than other heat sources. My next shop will also have AC ducted in. I HATE walking around a shop with cold/warm spots, the radiant is good for that but it wasn't cheap!