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burning items other than wood

 
Posts: 12
Location: Cape Cod Ma
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Hi all, we new to owning a wood burning stove and so far have enjoyed it. One thing that surprised me was the installer told us never to burn cardboard or other paper scraps. I was really disappointed  because we have a lot of boxes come to our home and I always burned all the paper and cardboard in our fireplace which the wood stove is now in.  Do any of you burn cardboard? Paper or boxes such as cereal boxes? Any issues? Seems like such a waste of energy source to send all of that to our local transfer station.
 
steward
Posts: 8841
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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Does your wood stove have a catalytic converter in it?  Some stoves have those to burn up more impurities.  I've heard that they can be damaged when you burn things other than wood.  I have a "non-cat" stove and I'd be fine burning a bit of cardboard and paper with each fire.  We don't burn the printed advertising newspaper and I probably wouldn't burn cereal boxes either because they seem to have more ink per unit of cardboard.
 
Patricia Lemme
Posts: 12
Location: Cape Cod Ma
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Hi Mike..it doesn't. Its a Jotul F500 series.
 
pollinator
Posts: 427
Location: North central Ontario
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I burn up any cardboard or paper that has been soiled and cannot be recycled. As mentioned above its not recommended to burn large amounts if you have the ceramic catalytic in it. if its just a plate or tube secondary air type you should be good. not too fast though as it can spike the chimney temperature. Its also high in ash content.
 
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might use a little paper or clean cardboard to get kindling going but thats it, cardboard and paoer gets burned in barrel outside after plastic and tape has been removed. thats just the way i do it
my new epa rated wood stove only burns well with real dry hardwood
in fact i understand some new high efficient wood stoves have catalitic converters, or something like that, that can get ruined by burning anything other than dry wood
 
pollinator
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I think you would be fine burning cardboard. Okay, maybe not going all crazy like which is what my grandmother used to do, but within reason, I think you would be fine. What is cardboard anyway? Ground up wood...
 
Patricia Lemme
Posts: 12
Location: Cape Cod Ma
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Thanks everyone!
 
pollinator
Posts: 613
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
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Cardboard is more likely to cause a chimney fire. It burns hot and pieces that are burning can float up the chimney igniting creosote.

On the other hand I'm not seeing why I couldn't burn the stuff in my wood gasification stove which gases downwards.
 
Posts: 67
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We use old non shiny print newspaper or brown paper wrapping from pine shaving bedding wrappers to start the stove with wood and kindling when it's been cold (ie: not running continuously). We have a CAT but the paper should be burned up by the time the stove gets shut down and the CAT engaged.
 
pollinator
Posts: 286
Location: Ozarks
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I use cardboard and newspaper, both non-glossy, to start fires or get some flames going after having reloaded the stove, 10 minutes earlier. I also use newspaper to start my charcoal chimney which has actually never had charcoal in it. I start with twigs and then sticks and work my way up to about 2 inches in diameter. This is for my smoker but I adapted the technique for my wood stove. I use cardboard as the chimney in that case and stack stuff in there the same. I tear a hole at the bottom of the cardboard chimney to have a place to light the paper. With the cardboard chimney, I don't go over 1 inch in diameter because the chimney collapses pretty quick. Once it does, I continue to stack sticks on the burning twigs.

The shiny cardboard/paper leaves a burnt plastic like film that hinders the flame plus there's heavy metals in those inks. None of my stoves are catalytic. I do have one with the stainless steel tubes with a bunch of small holes that introduces fresh air into the top of the burn chamber.

My favorite stove is a Fisher Papa Bear and we also have a Fisher Grandpa Bear. It works as good as the Papa Bear but the Papa has a bigger flat spot for cooking. With the stove at the right temp, it's the best way we've found to cook bacon. We use our 12 inch cast iron skillet and it all cooks evenly. If we use that skillet on the electric stove or propane camp stove, the middle is hotter than the outer area.Right now we have the little high efficiency with the burn tubes because it will go a long time with just a little wood but when it gets colder, we'll swap it out for the Papa Bear for winter and then swap back in Spring. The little stove does have a flat top and we can heat things up in a sauce pan with it. I wouldn't buy a stove that didn't have a nice flat top for setting pans on. I've made pizza, cake and corn bread on the papa Bear. I use a lid from one of those small Brinkmann smokers and set the cake pan on a thin wire rack.

I did read on a forum once where a guy said he doesn't have a lot of creosote, unless they burn their trash in the stove. Crazy but in a case of an emergency ....
 
Travis Johnson
pollinator
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My understanding was, it is burning plastic that is corrosive...
 
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