Multi-Fuel vs Pellet-only
Multi-fuel stoves have the advantage of operating on several fuel types, usually including wood pellets, shelled corn, cherry pits and several other possibilities. (Read permissible fuel types listed with the unit). This allows the owner to choose a fuel based upon local availability, convenience, and relative cost. If a particular fuel type is in short supply during the heating season one can switch to another fuel and still realize the benefits of heating the home or business with alternative fuels.
This fuel flexibility is not possible with a pellet-only stove. These units are designed to safely burn wood pellets only. Burning other fuels in a pellet-only stove is not recommended by the manufacturer, will void the warranty, and will present safety and fire hazards to the stove, the owner, and the home/business. As an example corn burns very hot when it is both clean and dry, as is the case with SPARKS FARMS high quality corn fuel. This is why WE DO NOT RECOMMEND AND DO NOT WANT PEOPLE TO BURN OUR CORN FUEL PRODUCT IN A PELLET-ONLY APPLIANCE. EXTREME HEAT DAMAGE TO THE STOVE/FURNACE AND A FIRE HAZARD ARE LIKELY RESULTS.
There is ample evidence to support that high quality corn fuel burns hotter than hardwood pellets. Several multi-fuel stove manufactures recommend a stove fuel feed rate setting one-position lower when burning corn verses wood pellets in recognition of this increased heat potential.
So the question begs to be asked, what happens when the owner of a pellet-only stove is faced with a wood pellet shortage, such as has occurred in our area two of the last three heating seasons? Some owners have had to put their names on a waiting list for pellets. What happens to the expected heating benefits of using a pellet-only stove if pellets are not available?
What good is an alternative heat source if the owner can't use it when they need it most.
Multi-fuel stoves are generally more expensive than pellet-only units, but SPARKS FARMS believes the peace of mind in knowing fuels will be available throughout the heating season easily justifies the added investment. If you are reading this from some distant location where it is unlikely you will ever see or have access to a bag of our corn fuel we still offer the same recommendation. Think of it as hedging (Protecting) your bet when it comes to an alternative fuels heating appliance investment.