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Burning mulch

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by sapratt, Jan 21, 2011.

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  1. sapratt

    sapratt Feeling the Heat

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    If you have dry mulch would it burn good. Or would it burn to fast and hot? I found an endless supply of mulch for free and I was wondering
    if I dry that stuff wood that make good fuel for the wood stove?

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  2. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Loading would be the hard part, and lots of ash.
  3. KarlP

    KarlP Feeling the Heat

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    Excellent fire starter material, but to burn it cleanly you'd have to add a little bit to the fire every three minutes. There is a reason pellet stoves have auger's feeding them. :)
  4. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Minister of Fire

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    Most mulch has plenty of bark - plenty of ash. Add in the part that you could probably only add a little bit at a time or it will just smolder and that = no way Jose...
  5. Mike821

    Mike821 Member

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    If you are talking about wood chips, you can dry them out in the summer to utilize for starting your fire. If it is mulch, I would not burn it at all. The mulch places do not care if they have any pressure treated, painted, or other wood with chemicals on it. It all gets loaded in the hopper and mulched. You also are dealing with added coloring if the mulch is not natural. Mulch also has dirt in it. For S&G's take a handful and light it on fire in a safe place. Smell it.....that will make your mind up. Mulch on fire stinks..not that you are having an open burn, but re-loading will cause some smoke.

    +1 for SmokingJay....lots of ash and a very HOT burn. Loading.....well if condition's were right and you did not have to be concerned with the points mentioned above, you would have to load your stove every 1hr or 2.
  6. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Take a pass . . . mulch is not firewood . . . I suspect you would find that it would tend to smolder a lot -- not because of any excess moisture (which is possible) but due to the nature of the beast.
  7. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    If you could dry it well, I think you'd need a fairly specialized burner because when loaded into a stove you would not get good air contact throughout the fuel. It's like burning wood- the air spaces between splits allow flame/combustion to develop and feed it with air. In a pile of stuff you don't have that.

    The system may have to operate like a pellet stove where air is forced through a bed that is constantly replenished (you're talking engineering), though some wood boilers claim to handle some of this material mixed in a regular fuel load. The Biomass line claims to handle material like that well. A boiler like that is in my 5 year plan, and I would have access to woodchips- but drying them in bulk would be the engineering issue.

    I have also thought about building a passive gasification firebox for my kiln that would burn woodchips, but I do fear dirt and sand that could cause issues for my pottery. It would not be that hard to do with some serious preheating, though it would be a lot of shoveling a little at a time.
  8. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like a smoky PITA
    and many places that "make " mulch not only don't care about what kind of wood it is but they dye it and lace it with chemicals to keep the ants, termites and yellow jackets out.
  9. mesuno

    mesuno Member

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    I'd avoid it in your wood stove - mulch and wood chips need specially designed burners, as described above, or they will simply smoulder. You would be thinking about forced air for a start.

    Not worth the bother.


    Here are someone's results of making a furnace for burning wood chip - they gave up on it after a while as they had too many problems.

    http://www.sredmond.com/vthr_index.htm
  10. sapratt

    sapratt Feeling the Heat

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    Another thing I thought about was the drying process. I going to pass on this one. Thanks for the feedback.
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