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Q: Newspaper --- Efficient Burning For Home Heat ? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Newspaper --- Efficient Burning For Home Heat ?
Category: Family and Home > Home
Asked by: nronronronro-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 24 Aug 2003 19:16 PDT
Expires: 23 Sep 2003 19:16 PDT
Question ID: 248349
Hi There !

Is there a way to efficiently burn newspapers to heat a home?
I can think think of two possibilities, but don't know if they exist:

(a)  A stove which is so efficient (gas-fired?) that it generates
btu's from the newspaper without leaving lots of newspaper ash.
(b)  A newspaper log-rolling machine which allows one to burn 
newspapers in a regular fireplace.

If it exists, I would prefer (a).  That's because I'm lazy and would
prefer to just dump the loose newspapers into a stove/furnace without
having to roll or otherwise prepare the newspaper.

A 5-star answer would be 2-4 paragraphs of discussion, even if that
discussion tells me burning newspaper efficiently as in (a) or (b) is

All comments greatly appreciated !
Subject: Re: Newspaper --- Efficient Burning For Home Heat ?
Answered By: missy-ga on 24 Aug 2003 20:26 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi Ron!

It's nice to see you back again!

As a child, I remember being completely enthralled with a gadget I had
seen on TV (mind, this was during the energy crisis of the late
'70's).  It let you roll your old newspapers up into fireplace logs,
and was marketed as a good way to both heat your home, conserve
resources, and reduce landfill waste.  Of course, it also recommended
that you don't try to heat your home *completely* with newspaper logs
- newspaper, no matter what you do to it, tends to leave quite a bit
of ash behind, and it burns faster than wood, even if it's compressed
and rolled.  The typical recommended ratio was 2 newspaper logs for
each wood log.

Being that we lived in a house with gas heat, I never did get to find
out for myself if these gadgets were worth the time and trouble, or if
the heat produced was truly efficient, but it seems that quite a few
other people have given it a try.

So was/is it worth the time and effort?  I suppose it depends on who
you ask.

There's a discussion about the merits of burning newspaper for heat,
both in log form and just dumping it in the woodstove/fireplace at
Homesteading Today, and the general consensus there says "Don't
bother, not worth it":

"I've tried newspaper logs several times and have found them more
trouble than they're worth for the heat that you get out of them."


"Generally the BTU's for amount of time for newspaper logs isnt worth


"We tried this once, it was a lot of work and of dubious return. To be
even partially sucessfull the paper must be broken down by tearing up
and soaking in water. Then compressed into shape and dried which might
take most of summer. The heavier the finished 'log' the better it will
be, a light-weight log produces only ash and burns in no time at all.
You can add combustable stuff like saw dust and coal dust to the wet

Using Newspaper Logs in Wood burning stoves

A similar discussion at KountryLife is split - the folks selling "how
to" books say newspaper logs are great, the rest say they're a royal
pain in the hindquarters:

"They weren't very satisfactory and Dad gave up on them after a couple
of years."


"There's gonna be one of them rollers coming up on my folks' estate
auction. I remember using it when I was a teen. Didn't like it then,
and wouldn't want it now. Dad only used it for two seasons before he
gave up on it."


"You can purchase a book with a lot of different ways to make
newspaper fire logs, both wet and dry. There is also directions for
fire starters and "bricks"."

Newspaper logs 

The publication mentioned is "Newspaper Logs Made Easy - The Ultimate
How-To Book", and is available here:

The Paper Log Place

(WARNING:  Embedded MIDI.  Turn your speakers off or down if you go to
this site, unless you like being blasted with MIDI music.) advises against using paper logs at all, because they
aren't efficient and can muck up the works of your stove with
excessive ash:

Is newspaper a viable fuel in a furnace/stove? Are those "roll-a-log"
kits the right way to handle paper?

No- newspaper is not a good fuel- you'll drive your self nuts trying
to roll up tons of logs ! It make a lot of ash and fly ash - and is
hard to burn. Better to recycle it !"

Burning Newspaper in Stoves

"This type of log does not burn well, and probably is not worth your
time. You can try to dampen the paper a bit, which will make it roll
easier....But I don't know anyone that enjoys burning these logs in an
open fireplace."

Newspaper Fire Logs

I recently heard of a product called a log press that you can use to
make logs for your fireplace out of newspaper (we currently burn
wood). It sounds like a handy gadget to have around. What do you know
you know about? Since I haven't been able to fing any retailers of it-
I wonder how useful a product it might be.

These items are really not too useful in the "real world". The logs
produce lots of ash and also send this flyash up the chimney and
outdoors. Stick with real wood."

Log Press

"It's not even the amount of ash that represents the problem. It's the
type of ash, and the way it is deposited. In my experience, these
paper logs flake into ash, and the resulting ash tends to mix with and
affect the glowing embers from the wood. In other words, these logs
have poor "coaling" qualities. The combustion air in newer stoves is
also very finicky. These logs can play havoc with the air flow inside
certain stove."

log press-newspaper logs

James Dulley, who writes the syndicated money-saving tips column
"$ensible Home", offers instructions for making your own paper logs,
but warns that an all paper log fire will just smolder because certain
essential fire-burning components of wood are removed during the paper
making process:

Make your own newspaper logs

I found no mention in my research of a stove which would fill this
need.  Quite the contrary - there were plenty of sites advising that
one *never* burn newspaper in the fireplace or stove, because it can
damage both and create a fire hazard (all variations on this theme):

"Don't burn newspapers or other trash in a fireplace because they burn
too hot and can ignite a chimney fire."

FDNY Home Heating Safety

It would seem that the bottom line is that you can use newspaper logs
as supplemental material, but it's not terribly rewarding in terms of
value over time spent, and the energy produced is negligible.

I hope this answers your question!  If I can be of further assistance,
please just ask for clarification.  I'll be glad to help.

Search terms: [ newspaper logs ], [ heat home "burn newspapers" ]
nronronronro-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Missy---wowie zowie !   Red hot answer !
Fantastic work, as always...

Thank you.

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