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Old 01/13/12, 01:44 PM
Belfrybat's Avatar  
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: West Central Texas
Posts: 6,389
Burning cardboard in fireplace

The central heater is failing and I'm using a combination of space heaters and the fireplace to warm this house. The fireplace is a pre-fab "typical" mobile home one with a blower. Pretty but too shallow to be of much use in really heating the house. This morning I needed to get rid of a cardboard box and I cut the box into 4" wide strips and burned about a dozen strips at a time. To my delight, the temperature in the house rose from 59 to 65 in about 20 minutes. So.... a question. Is it safe to burn cardboard in a pre-fab fireplace with a metal chimney? I did allow the fire to burn down before throwing more cardboard on as I didn't want to risk getting the chimney too hot. It was so nice getting the house warm fast but I don't want to risk damaging the firebox or chimney. Opinions, anyone?
I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it. Attributed to Voltaire
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Old 01/13/12, 01:56 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Idaho
Posts: 11,431
I don't know about your system, but we heat the house with left over newspaper that we get from a distributer. We roll it up by hand and tie it with wires.
any other paper, cardboard ect is used for heat.
We choose days when we don't have much else to do and then clean the furnace before going back to wood heat because there is so much ashes. The paper does need to be tended more than wood does as it can put it self out, and needs stirred alot.
squashnut & bassketcher

Champagne D Argent, White New Zealand & Californian Cross Rabbits
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Old 01/13/12, 01:59 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: SE tennessee
Posts: 1,737
I set the yard on fire burning cardboard in a wood heater.Cardboard is bad about big flaming particles coming out of the chimney.This was a brick chimney,open on top.If you have a spark arrestor on your chimney I wouldn't think it would be a problem.But keep it small,like you did.
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Old 01/13/12, 02:08 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: S.E. Ohio
Posts: 1,145
Corrigated cardboard has a tad of glue in the middle to hold the outsides to the wavy center, but it isn't that much of a problem. I use cardboard all the time to start fires in my wordburner. Il tear it up to get rough edges that catch easily, and fold up a bit so it holds the other combiustibles off he bottom so the air can get to the fire. Works pretty well.
I knew a guy that for half the winter heated his house by burning all the junk mail and magazines he had saved .......
Ohio Rusty ><>
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Old 01/13/12, 02:26 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: north Alabama
Posts: 11,256
The way you are doing it, you should be fine. Sometimes I'll split a cardboard box, roll it up, and stick it in with a log on top to hold it down. You'll get more ashes with cardboard, and you need to have a screened cap on the chimney to avoid those "catching the field on fire" moments mentioned, but plain cardboard is fine.

Be warned when burning other paper that many inks still require chemicals you might not want in your garden. If you use the ashes, try to stick to cardboard and paper with only black and white printing.
George Washington did not run and hide.
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Old 01/13/12, 05:24 PM
BillHoo's Avatar  
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,158
I've burned cardboard in the fireplace with no problem. Yes, it's brings up the temperature very quickly.

You have to watch out that the metal insert in the fireplace doesn't warp or start glowing red.

Small batches at a time are good. Avoid a big roaring blaze.
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Old 01/13/12, 06:24 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: West Central Texas
Posts: 6,389
Thanks for you comments/ cautions/ recommendations. Much appreciated. I got four boxes from my neighbour today and will be using them over the next few days. I figured I should overdo it with the cardboard, but it was so nice to get the house up to temperature so quickly.
I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it. Attributed to Voltaire
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