- When corn comes from the field, it's typically accompanied by dirt, small rocks and insect parts. The corn itself may add debris, including pieces of corn stalk, chunks of corncob, fines (broken fragments of corn kernels) and bees' wings (red chaff from the covering over the kernels). The debris must be removed to prevent the augur from clogging. A variety of commercial corn cleaners are available, from simple systems that involve pouring the shelled corn through a series of screens to vacuum-operated units that clean the corn and transfer it from one container to another in a single operation.
Clinker Removal Tool
- As corn burns, it creates a solid mass called a clinker. Some corn burners are equipped with a stirrer in the burn pot that keeps the clinker from solidifying. If a corn stove does not have a stirring rod, the clinker must be removed once or twice a day. Some manufacturers provide their own clinker tool to facilitate the process. It may consist of a flat, angled head attached to a long handle, both made of metal, or feature a thick, curved wire with a hooked end to snag the edge of the clinker. Fireplace tongs or long kitchen tongs can help grasp the edge of a clinker and drop it over the side of the burn pot to the ash drawer below.
Ash Bin and Vacuum
- The clinker is very hot when it's first removed from the burn pot. Although clinkers can be left in the ash drawer inside the stove and emptied during routine cleaning, some owners prefer to remove them from the stove altogether. To reduce the possibility of a fire, the clinkers can be dropped into a lidded ash bin. Some ash bins have insulated bottoms or sit on a raised stand for extra safety. Corn stoves tend to cool down rapidly after they are shut off, but for maximum safety, a dust-free ash vacuum designed for use with warm ashes should be used to clean the stove.
- Corn with a moisture level that's too high, an incorrect draft setting or problems with the circuit board can all lead to less-than-optimal heat output. Periodically checking the temperature of the airflow and/or heated surfaces can help you catch minor issues before they become big problems. Surface temperature gauges originally created for use with wood stoves are equally useful with corn burners. An infrared heat gun works well for assessing the temperature of the air coming from the room blower.