Burn Barrel questions.

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by manfred, Dec 25, 2006.

  1. manfred

    manfred Well-Known Member

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    I haven't seen this discussed before. What is the proper way to prepare a barrel to burn trash in for the best result. By that I mean the proper incineration of the products put inside. Vent holes made low down in the barrel? Various heights up the barrel? None at all?
    I've been ending up with a lot of unburned material and trouble lifting the heavy barrel into my pickup too often I believe.
     
  2. TwoAcresAndAGoat

    TwoAcresAndAGoat Well-Known Member

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  3. donsgal

    donsgal Nohoa Homestead

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    First, you must separate the items which can be burned from those which cannot (i.e. cans, glass, etc.). Once that is done, you slowly feed the items into the burning barrel rather than dumping them all at one time and hoping that the fire does its job.

    DH often spends more than an hour at the burn barrel when we have a fair-sized amount of garbage first of all to make certain that the fire does not go out (or smoulder, which is actually worse), and to make certain that bits of paper, etc. do not fly out of the barrel (even though we do have hardware cloth over it to help prevent this). There is also a hose nearby just in case. We believe that it is irresponsible to leave any fire unattended.

    donsgal
     
  4. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you want a really good trash burner, locate an old 275 oval fuel oil tank. Either stand it up on its legs or put some concrete blocks under it to keep it up off the ground. Cut a square hole in one end as wide as the drum. Leave the top and bottom portion of that in intact. The trash you put in there will burn almost completly if its not glass or metal. Mine only has to have the ashes shoveled out the end hole about twice per year. To lengthen the life of the tank, lay a piece of sheet metal over the top. This slows the rusting of the top when it gets rained on after being burned off during use.The one hole is all that it needs. No other holes for air, of smoke outlets. If your trash has something wet in it, it will be dried out the next time you burn and also get completely burned.

    A barrel laying on it's side will also burn everything. Put a couple concrete blocks under it, and lay 3 or 4 bricks in the open end to keep the ashes from falling out. It will take a long time before you will need to empty it.
     
  5. manfred

    manfred Well-Known Member

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    I never thought of laying it on it's side. My only problem would be the dogs digging the wrappers out. I do see a problem here though. A common theme seems to be raising the barrel off the ground. This one thing may help me a lot.
     
  6. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    We put ours up on bricks and shoot holes in it at varying heights with a rifle or large caliber handgun. :viking:
     
  7. PyroDon

    PyroDon Well-Known Member

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    Make a good screen (hardware cloth or metal grate top)
    cut a hole in one side near the bottom and weld a 1"&1/2 pipe in the hole (this is to attach your shopvac exaust to .
    on the other side cut a small door (sawzall or jugsaw ) and attach a hinge and latch.
    Now put an old cast iron grate in the bottm .
    drop your burnable trash in the top and put your screen on.
    open the door you made and light from the bottom ,close and latch the door turn on the shop vac . fast hot and clean burn :)

    Or you can actually buy a special barrel top that has an attachment for your shop vac that will do basicly the same thing . believe its called a vortex burner lid or something like that
     
  8. KCM

    KCM Well-Known Member

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    If the barrel is upright then in or near the bottom are a must to allow rain water to drain out. These holes will also help bring air into the bottom to fuel the fire. After that, use an old oven shelf or something similar for the top when burning. I use 8"x16 building bricks underneath to keep it off the ground.
     
  9. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    i just wack holes in the bottom and sides with the ax
     
  10. mamajohnson

    mamajohnson Knitting Rocks! Supporter

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    i agree with mtman, we just get a metal barrell, whack holes with a hatchet, and seperate the trash, burnable or non-burnable. I have 2 trash cans in my house for that reason.
     
  11. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    A lot of trash burn barrel problems it caused by rain in the barrel. Once wet the stuff never drys out and burns. Either put a lid on the barrel, or lay it down which gets better results.
     
  12. topside1

    topside1 Retired Coastie Supporter

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    I used .22 LR ammo to create breather holes for my burn barrel...My 14 year old son also found it fun....Rose we think alike.
     
  13. fantasymaker

    fantasymaker Well-Known Member

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    Solve the drainage problem by usinf a long steel prybar to poke a hole in the middle of the bottom ,the idea being to bend the bottom down a bit as you make the hole. That way everything drains to there . Raise the barrel off the ground. I stick 2 pieces of rebar in each direction across one foot up from the bottom to make sure of good areation then remove them as the barrelfills
     
  14. mwhit

    mwhit Well-Known Member

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    I can't believe that nobody else has commented on this (where are the staunch environmentalists when I need one?) so here goes... I'm seriously disturbed that so many people seemed ready to offer up advice, but nobody spoke up to criticize such irresponsible behaviour...?? Do we not realize that open burning of household trash releases dioxins, flurans and other carcinogenic particulates into the environment?? Why must you poison yourself, your children, your gardens, meat and milk by burning trash??

    Do not try to justify this by responding with a 'people have been doing it for years' or 'have you any idea the price of trash removal?' I really could care if great grandpa always burnt his trash or if they want to charge $2 per bag at the dump... My health, that of my children and future generations should not be based upon you saving a few bucks. People from previous generations did not realize the impact of such practices and I can assure you that 75 years ago trash was nowhere near as toxic as it is today with modern packaging, styrofoam, plastic, colored papers etc...

    Maybe I'm in the minority here, but it seems that people who are so concerned growing/raising their own 'healthy' food would refrain from poisoning it?? I, for one, do not want to feel responsible for contributing to childhood (or adult) cancer, breathing disorders, neurodevelopmental problems and general poor health. Let's not forget all of the chemically sensitive individuals that suffer due to open burning. It is not only polluting the air and water, but our meat and milk supplies are affected as well (dioxins accumulate in fat and never break down to a less toxic substance).

    Seems people are more concerned if someone kills a feral cat or may cut down a tree an endangered bird calls home??

    Here is a whole bunch of scientific data to support my opinion:
    http://burnbarrel.org/Resources/Resources.html

    I know many of you will question the data, but this is not like some studies posted here-- this is replicated, peer reviewed, validated data based upon years of research, not just one small study. Many people will post a study that was completed, never replicated and base their opinions on it-- not the case here.
     
  15. manfred

    manfred Well-Known Member

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    Why don't you complain about all the people using wood stoves while you're at it?
     
  16. mwhit

    mwhit Well-Known Member

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    ???

    A modern stove, managed properly, burning dried wood emits very little harmful particulate matter. And yes, breathing large amounts of woodsmoke can be harmful to humans, but it does not harm the environment. The hydrocarbons that are released blend back into the soil-- they do not contaminate it. Smoldering fires are another story, they do emit particulates, but still the mentality you use is flawed-- people burn wood to stay warm instead of using unrenewable resources such as fuel oil. What use do you have for the burn barrel aside from saving a few bucks??
     
  17. NWMO

    NWMO Well-Known Member

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    Fill the landfills? Sorry, but the burning barrel to get rid of paper products and other refuse is better put my barrel than in acres and acres of landfill. Sorry but I do believe I am doing my part of the future! And hauling it off to the landfill and paying to get rid of something I can get rid of on my property is much better alternative to me!
     
  18. Farmerwilly2

    Farmerwilly2 Well-Known Member

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    Do you lay awake at night thinking of boogey men things? Burn baby burn.
     
  19. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    Do you drive a car? The site is concerned mostly with burning of plastics which is understandable. We try and buy with as little packaging as possible and burn only paper products. Is it perfect, hardly, but burning or creating heat with any fuel is bad in it's own way. Should everything be recycled, of course it should. Unfortunately we're not working towards this in most places.
     
  20. KCM

    KCM Well-Known Member

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    mwhit:

    I burn paper products, newspaper and junk mail (especially the credit card offers and convenience checks). I do put small amounts of shredded paper in the compost pile, mainly kleenex's and letters. Kitchen scraps (fruit and veggie) go into the compost pile, as does straw, old hay, livestock munures, yard trimmings and cuttings, leaves, and garden waste.

    You have brought up a very interesting study regarding the harmful effects that a burning barrel could cause. If you do not burn your own paper trash for that very reason then what Do You Do? Do you drive your trash to the landfill? How far do you drive? Or do you put it on the curb and let the garbage truck pick it up? How much pollution does that garbage truck emit?

    Your link is interesting though and gives us something to seriously think about. Now it you'd take that link and put it along side a comparative analysis showing the harmful effects of decomposing the same waste in the landfills, and then include another analysis comparing the pollution the automobile would make in transferring the paper waste to the landfill, then maybe we'd all be better able to make an informed decision as to which is the lesser of the destructive practices. Do you have a comparative study you might share with us all?