Burning Barrels

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Quint, Jan 3, 2005.

  1. Quint

    Quint Well-Known Member

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    I've been told that punching holes either along the bottom or all over sides of a burning barrel will make for a better burning barrel that will burn the trash more completely. I have always just put holes on the bottom of the 55 gal drum to let water drain out but have never put any on the sides.

    Does putting the holes in the sides of the barrel really help? I can see how it might increase airflow and make for a better burn. I've always wondered about installing a fan blowing into the bottom of the barrel to make sort of a high powered incinerator. Might be a fun project. Works for the little metal melting furnace I made.
     
  2. inc

    inc Well-Known Member

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    "Does putting the holes in the sides of the barrel really help?"

    yes- a ring of holes with a pickaxe

    " I can see how it might increase airflow and make for a better burn. I've always wondered about installing a fan blowing into the bottom of the barrel to make sort of a high powered incinerator"

    also good- burns plastic, noxious trash without fumes.
     

  3. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    A couple holes in the bottom is good, but if you want a good burn barrel you need to lay it on its side up on a couple blocks or whatever you have handy. It never rains in it that way, and if something in the trash is wet and fails to burn, it will be dried out and burn the next time. Everything burns up completly when the barrel is on it's side. To keep the barrel from rusting out quickly, place a piece of old metal roofing on top of it and wire it fast. I hang an old refrigerater rack over the front to keep cats and varmits out of the ashes, and prevent burning paper from blowing out. You will have very few ashes this way.
    A better trash burner is made from an old oval fuel oil tank. A square hole in the middle of one end is all that it takes to throw trash and paper in it. It only needs the ashes shoveled out about once every 4 months.
     
  4. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    The husband scouted out the inside of a washing machine tub after seeing it in use at a friend's. It isn't as big as a burn barrell, but all those holes make anything in it turn to a fine ash in no time at all. Quite impressive! We have ours on the ground... his friend has his suspended off the ground a few inches on a tri-pod, which really makes stuff go up fast. We use ours for cut ends and construction waste, but he uses his as a decorative burn for wood too punky for his woodstove.
     
  5. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    The last Barrel I got I drilled it full of holes Bottom and Sides,just burning paper in it.Seems to be doing real well.

    big rockpile
     
  6. jackie c

    jackie c Well-Known Member

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    That's a great idea about the wash tub, alot longer lasting than old oil drums, have to get me one!Thanks for the tip :D
     
  7. Bob_W_in_NM

    Bob_W_in_NM Well-Known Member

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    "Burning Barrels" have been illegal here in New Mexico for awhile. (That smoke might contain dioxin!) I haven't seen anybody quit using them though. I think I'd feel sorry for the poor devil out trying to enforce that law! He might have a short life expectancy!

    History shows that people will obey a "good" law. I think we've reached a point(and the burning barrel issue is a good example), where people will just ignore a damn stupid law or regulation.

    Oh, and they do seem to work better with a few holes around the bottom.
     
  8. Turkeyfether

    Turkeyfether Well-Known Member

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    Our burn barrel is the old tank from the oil burner.It lays on it's side.A door with hinges was cut from it so it latches closed.Burns great! With lots of room!You can probably find one at a junkyard.Ours was here when we bought the place.
     
  9. Tracy in Idaho

    Tracy in Idaho Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yep, we just shoot them with a .22

    Tracy
     
  10. inc

    inc Well-Known Member

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    That smoke might contain dioxin!)

    very right- said to develop in tiny amounts when you burn carbon(paper/wood) with plastics. i tend to think that its the other plastics besides hdpe and ldpe, they seem innocuous.
    whateever it is, a smoldering trash fire containing plastic stinks bad and will nauseate you. the key is to burn fast and completely.
    the upright barrel, yes is at disadvantage, the heat 'chimneys' straight up and carries sparks, non burned plastic smoke with it. you need to burn a good hot pile of ash with some wood in it and then toss trash bags in one at a time right after you accelerate the fire so it blazes. you need a high flame to burn off all the plastic vapor.
    a barrel on its side is most excellent, i just didnt know it was legal.
    only you cannot stack any branches in it.
    the washing tub holes will suck air inward and this draw is probably circulating the smoke/air like a tornado- burning off the smoke perfectly and giveing a really good burn. thanks for the tip.
     
  11. DW

    DW plains of Colorado Supporter

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    I'm with Tracy...that has been our son's "chore" to shoot some holes for many years.
     
  12. Mastiff

    Mastiff Well-Known Member

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    Punching wholes certainly helps a lot.
    They just banned them here last year.
    Problem was to many people were burning noxious plastics - pvc etc.... so everyone else got penalized as well.
    Seems a lot of people did not have a clue what their burn regulations were.
    Many states have bans against burning plastics - car tires etc...
    Now some fools just throw the crap in their wood stove or fire place.
     
  13. Quint

    Quint Well-Known Member

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    I keep out my metal and glass but burn everything else that is burnable.

    I don't mind the chore actually. I sit out by the burning barrel and tend it and just enjoy the quiet. I normally burn in the evening when the breeze lays and it just makes kind of a pleasant way to wind down and watch the sunset.

    I'm gonna punch some holes in the sides of my barrel and see how it works. The old one first before I mess up my good one.

    Yeah I have a "good" burning barrel. I'm an official redneck hillbilly hayseed hick.
     
  14. Chas in Me

    Chas in Me Well-Known Member

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    You burn your trash. Well, I bet that is something to be proud of. No wonder the air in this country is bad. You really are a hick.
     
  15. BobBoyce

    BobBoyce Well-Known Member

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    Looks like someone doesn't know what happens to their trash once it's hauled off.

    Many landfills, especially in the smaller and poorer towns/counties, still burn trash, and the way they do it is much worst than burning in barrels. Those landfill fires usually smolder for days, releasing all sorts of noxious emissions.

    Burying trash is even worst for the environment. It gets to hang around for a lot longer, polluting the groundwater.

    Even those recycling trash disposal plants usually burn what does not get recycled, they just do it a lot hotter so it burns more thoroughly. Some even use the heat to make steam and turn generators, supplying power to their operation.

    Bob
     
  16. Oilpatch197

    Oilpatch197 Well-Known Member

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    OK, somone is having a bad day!

    My parents burned their trash for over 20 years, in a Brick pit, just clean out the soot once a year, and we filled up the old root seller(dating back to the great depression) with ashes.
    Now every Township has to have a "dumping site" where they got a steel container to dump trash in, somthing about a EPA requirement?
    the Bruning pit didn't work real good.

    BTW Chas in Me, my uncle has a Little Bertha, he burns used motor Oil(we supply him with 20 gallons a year) and burns tires too, the Oil is fed from a dripper, and the fire gets hot! now we live in the country.

    But would you rather have the tires sitting around and holding water for the Mosquitoes?

    the only way to get rid of tires is making tire swings, and (?)
     
  17. Chas in Me

    Chas in Me Well-Known Member

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    We have lakes in this part of the country that are DEAD because people in your part of the country can't seem to stop polluting the air. If you are proud of that, then you have no respect for the earth. If your communities still use open burning landfills, don't support them, make them change.
    Do you think because you live on a homestead, you are exempt from the laws of nature? If so, you really are a hick.
     
  18. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Unfortunately, you come off as one of those do-gooders that tells other people how to live, but doesn't realize that their own actions create far more problems....

    We all leave a footprint on this world, and for you to talk so snotty to people, makes one wonder just how big your footprint is?

    I'm not trying to talk down to you, just pointing out that you will never get people to warm up to you with the snotty 'tude. Perhaps you really are a perfect person.

    One can burn yard waste - makes a little smoke. One can landfill yard waste - it uses up some land & space for other stuff. One can composte it - and in decaying, it releases about the same stuff into the air as if you burned it!

    So your comment about city burn sites is way off base.

    As to burn barrels for household waste, we leave a footprint, and bagging up the wastes, hauling 20 miles to a collection site, & then having it all trucked 120 miles to a landfill, where it has the potential to leak into groundwater for centuries..... Or burn it locally. Which really is better for our globe? I do not believe the correct answer is as clear & proper as some do-gooders such as you believe.

    --->Paul
     
  19. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    Our burning barrel is a 55 gal drum on a couple of concrete blocks. I cut a hole in the side at the bottom for air and to empty the ashes. The hole is big enough for an ash shovel and lets air in and water out. I knocked some holes in the side about 1 ft. from the bottom and stuck a couple of pieces of old rebar in the holes which crisscross and form a grate to support the fire. The ashes fall thru the grate and can be scooped out thru the side hole. I have an old oven rack to cover the top while burning to stop any flying burning material.
     
  20. punkrockpilot

    punkrockpilot Well-Known Member

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    Don't mess with little holes all around, not enough air flow. I take a cutting torch and cut a BIG OLE HOLE in one side at the bottom, makes cleaning it out easy too. For fun I toss in alum cans now and then and you end up with little ingots eventually.
    Greg