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Still trying to get it hot enough after 3 months

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  • Still trying to get it hot enough after 3 months

    I bought the bin in May but despite much reading of the advice on the site have never quite managed to get it working consistently, my first mistake was to use too much grass & newspaper, The bin briefly hit 60 degrees for a few days & then became anaerobic, I pulled everything out removing as much newspaper as possible & mixed with a sack of shredded paper & more bulking agent. I hve always been careful to always follow the mixture guidelines. I did not put in any more grass but still it was too wet. Tried digging out wet mix from the bottom & drying it in the sun & it started to run between 30-40, particularly on days when I opened the bottom hatch to the sun & made air holes in the mix but it clearly was still sodden all the way through the base area. Yesterday I emptied it completely. I have bagged up the wet stuff to gradually to dry on a large mixing trays when the weather is good. I have created a new base layer of reasonably dry semi composted material & the more recent kitchen waste with of course more shredded paper and bulking agent. I will leave it untouched for 3 days & then go back to adding the mix of kitchen waste caddy with half of shredded office paper & 1/3rd bulking agent every 2 or 3 days. I really hope it works this time.
    Last edited by Paul W; 09-05-2015, 06:36 PM. Reason: Update 5th Sept - Running at about 30degs , stiill struggling to get the magic 40.

  • #2
    Is your valve set the minimum open setting? Once, when I closed my valve it really heated up then went anaerobic. When I have my valve fully open the internal temperature gets to about 32°C. The thermometer in the lid reads much lower unless the hotbin is really full. The hotbin works best on the minimum open setting.

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    • #3
      Grass clippings are fantastic for getting the bin up to temperature, but they are rather wet and will release their moisture, causing the bottom layer to get soggy and this will block air flow. I have found that you can easily dry your grass clippings a bit by simply spreading them out for 24 hours before adding them to the bin. And of course, use some shredded paper and bulking agent. If you do this you can compost large quantities of grass clippings without it getting wet and anaerobic.

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      • #4
        I've also struggled to maintain a good temperature, even when adding a 'kick-start' hot water bottle regularly. I suspect a limited supply of kitchen waste may be the main problem, but I'm wondering about the valve position too. I've read that the valve on the lid should be open 2mm - does this mean that there should be a 2mm gap visible, when looking down onto the valve or that the top edge of the valve should be 2mm above the surface of the lid?

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        • #5
          I also wondered this ecoAndrew, and came to the conclusion that it must mean that there needs to be a small gap visible when looking down onto the valve as airflow is essential for the 'chimney effect'.

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