Can you heat your house using old newspaper?
11:59 26 October 2015
Back in the halcyon days of summer I invested in a contraption to help me make briquettes from old newspaper.
This £20 device was going to save me a fortune in winter fuel. I planned to make a ‘batch’ of briquettes each day from a bucketful of newspaper ‘mush’. By the time winter arrived, I hoped, I would have a stack of free fuel ready for burning.
I do indeed have a stack of free fuel. The only problem is that it is slightly smaller than I envisaged back in the early days of summer, when everything seemed possible.
The briquette maker proved to be laborious. And the ‘logs’ took ages to dry. So much so, that when my ‘stack’ was about 30 bricks strong I was a spent force. The briquette maker was stored away in the garage, along with the still damp ‘logs’ I had managed to make before caving in and ordering a load of firewood.
But now, as October draws to a close and evening fires are the norm rather than the exception, I’m regretting my lack of tenacity.
Finding myself gazing into an empty log basket the other evening and not wishing to venture out in the dark to replenish supplies, I remembered those damp briquettes squirrelled away on a summer’s day that now seemed so long ago.
I headed to the garage to claim one or two for the fire and found they were no longer heavy and damp. Instead they were dry and rock hard to the touch. And what’s more, once on the fire they burned beautifully - for - up to an hour with the air supply to the stove tightly controlled. I really should have stuck with that briquette maker a little longer, I mused. There’s always next year....
And anyway, without the load of firewood I bought in when the briquette making got too tough, I would have had no need for my most recent thrifty success story - my homemade wood store, built from a cut down crate pallet given to me by a neighbour. It’s doing its job perfectly so far, keeping its stash of winter fuel perfectly dry and ready for burning.
In fact, I’ve made not one but three such log stores. I’ve included a picture of them this week, after receiving an email from a reader who wanted to follow my example but wondered, somewhat cheekily, I thought, when a photo wasn’t immediately forthcoming, if the thrifty log store was a figment of my imagination. Rest assured, it does exist. Weak and feeble women like me can master simple construction projects although, as the accompanying picture illustrates, my photography skills are somewhat lacking.
Write to Sheena at firstname.lastname@example.org, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, tweet #ThriftyLiving.