How to Make a Burn Barrel to use a 55-gallon drum?

You can follow these directions to create your own burn barrel for emergency trash disposal or for use on a rural property.

At the end of this article, you’ll find links to commercially available burn barrels.

The best way to reduce smoke and ash is not to “make a burn barrel,” but rather to use the correct materials and assemble them appropriately.

Burn barrels are an integral part of country life, whether you like it or not.

To save money, more and more people are reverting to using burn barrels in their backyards to dispose of waste.

The smoke and odor from a burning barrel of trash are occasionally an issue, but if you burn it correctly, those issues should be minimized.

What is a burn barrel?

Standard burn barrels are 55-gallon open-head metal drums that have been modified to safely and cleanly burn household trash.

(The inside diameter is 22.5 inches, and the inside height is 33.5 inches.)

In a nutshell, it’s a personal incinerator. In the event that you don’t already have one and are contemplating making one, please check with your city’s regulations.

As a last resort, you can purchase a burn barrel pre-fabricated. (It’s at the bottom of the post, so see it if you’d like)

Do you want to use a 55-gallon drum to make a burn barrel?

Burn barrels allow you to safely dispose of yard waste, such as brush and leaves, in your backyard.

This eliminates the need to haul things to your local waste management facility and eliminates the need to move all of your yard waste to the front yard for pickup by the waste management company.

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Because burn barrels are so effective at igniting waste, there is very little smoke produced when they are used correctly.

We’ll walk you through the process of turning a 55-gallon barrel into a burn barrel in this article.

Two concrete blocks are all that are required for this project.

We’ve also put together a short video to show you how we do it:

Need 1 hour of your time.

Make your own burn barrel with these easy-to-follow instructions:

1. Buy or Get Your Burn Barrel

A feed and seed store or a local hardware shop may carry them.

We buy ours there.

One of the most recent purchases was from Rural King, which typically costs $20.

Rural King’s barrel isn’t as thick as a drum’s, but it does the job just fine and there’s no need to worry about it.

Also, if you search Home Depot, you’ll find something pre-drilled and with a lid.

In our opinion, it’s better to make our own food.

2. Choose Your Barrel Location

For this, you’ll need a good spot in your backyard.

A minimum of 25 feet away from your house or your neighbor’s house is required here.

Keep the area around the barrel clear of bushes or grass, and make sure it is not under a tree canopy.

3. Add Cinder Blocks On Bottom

Cinder blocks should be placed on top of your burn barrel.

This aids in air flow, which in turn aids in efficient burning.

In addition to the holes in the bottom of the burn barrel, placing it on the cinder blocks helps drain rainwater.

4. Add Holes to Your Barrel

Most of your time will be spent on this. With a drill and bit, we find it more efficient to use a hammer and metal punch.

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Cobalt and titanium are the best drill bits I’ve found for drilling metal.

Even though cobalt is more expensive, it will last longer.

Starting with a smaller bit and working your way up to the 3/8 bit may be necessary depending on the thickness of the material.

Enough holes must be drilled to ensure proper ventilation.

On the inside of the 55-gallon container, we drilled 18 holes, with an additional 11 in the bottom.

A lot of people say that you only need four in the bottom, but the last one we had with four just wasn’t enough drainage for us.

3/8 inch drill bits were used.

As long as your holes are at least half an inch in diameter, four should be sufficient.

5. Use Grate Cover to Keep as a Screen

A small grate on the top of the barrel is an additional safety measure to prevent sparks or other debris from escaping.

In the sheet metal section of Lowe’s, we came across this one.

To put it another way, those are the first steps in building a burn barrel.

You can go as in-depth as you’d like.

Take a look at this “vortex burner” for yourself.

We’ve had great results and a clean-burning brush with these simple steps, despite the fact that some swear by them.

It is our hope that this article has given you the information you need to build your own fire barrel.

Where to Locate a Burn Barrel

Choose a location for your barrel that is away from trees and other combustible materials and downwind from your home.

You may see some locals excavating the sod beneath their barrels, which is nice but unnecessary.

Using Your Burn Barrel

Once you’ve made your barrel, it’s important to know what can and cannot be burned.

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There is no need to put food scraps in the trash barrel.

Paint and other potentially hazardous substances should be properly disposed of.

Non-recyclable plastic, food wrappers, and non-recyclable paper and cardboard can all be burned when the barrel is used.

The plan is to incinerate one garbage bag at a time.

The barrel will not burn completely if there is too much trash in it.

Burning one bag of trash at a time is preferable to burning two bags at once.

To keep trash dry while waiting for it to be burned, some people use an extra barrel with a cover.

The plan is to incinerate one garbage bag at a time.

The barrel will not burn completely if there is too much trash in it.

Burning one bag of trash at a time is preferable to burning two bags at once.

To keep trash dry while waiting for it to be burned, some people use an extra barrel with a cover.

What can I burn in a burn barrel?

Every household generates waste.

It’s an unavoidable fact of existence.

Your kitchen is where the efficiency of your barrel begins.

Burn Barrel Safety Tips

If you’re going to use a burn barrel, exercise caution, and common sense at all times.

A fire ban may be issued if it’s windy or hot and dry, so don’t burn.

It’s imperative that you avoid igniting aerosol cans. The barrel will be blown up by the cans.

For example, if your barrel is rusted, an exploded aerosol can could cause the barrel to burst into flames.

Finally, show consideration for your immediate surroundings.

They don’t want to be exposed to the smoke and fumes from the garbage fire. Use the barrel at a mutually convenient time.

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