Site is currently under construction to better promote and feature available equipment and active Earthsaver projects. Apologies for any pages not working properly. Please call anytime!

Prevent Grinder Fires

Posted by Powell Clinton on Mar 17th 2023

Prevent Grinder Fires

Prevent Grinder Fires

What Causes Grinder Fires

Tub Grinders and Horizontal Grinders can be especially vulnerable to fires because of the many hours they operate and the dry wood pieces and mulch that can collect on them. During hot, dry weather, the wood pieces provide an excellent source to fuel flame.

Many machine fires are the result of overheated bearings and belts, exhaust components, electrical malfunctions and sparks caused by damaged or improperly adjusted components. Welding on machines without properly cleaning them first also leads to a large number of grinder fires.

If a machine catches fire, common damage may include: Burned electrical wiring, from minimal to complete melting and fusing of electrical components, severe engine damage, melted conveyor belts and hosing, as well as fire damage to frame, mounts, and other structural pieces.

Most grinder fires actually occur after hours after the grinder has been shut down and everyone goes home. Fuel or oil soaked wood material left on the machine begins to smolder and ignites. If your grinder is located in your recycling facility then you have a lot more at risk than just your grinder if a fire begins.

How to Prevent Fires

In order to prevent grinder fires there are some basic maintenance and checks that should be performed on daily basis.

  • Machines should be kept free of residue, as well as fuel and oil leaks. If your grinder does not come with an air tank mounted, keep one handy to clean off the grinder at the end of each day.
  • Keep a mounted portable fire extinguisher on your grinder.
  • Regularly inspected and maintain bearings, seals, and exhaust systems to minimize possible ignition points.
  • Maintain the electrical system, keeping a close eye on components that draw heavy electrical loads, such as starters, actuators, and heating & cooling systems.
  • If possible, move your grinder at the end of each day so that it doesn’t sit next to the wood waste or mulch pile. This is probably the best method for drastically cutting down on fire hazards; especially if your machine is track mounted.
  • Keep a cell phone handy. Some fires can be contained if emergency personnel can respond quickly.

What Should I Do After a Fire?

If you have insurance (hopefully) the fire should be reported to your insurance company immediately and a claim filed. For major fires the machine may be considered ‘beyond repair’ and you may be able to collect an insurance check for the total fair value of the machine (although many insurance companies now prefer to try and replace the machine). Important note here is that insurance companies will only pay out the fair value of the machine, not necessarily the amount on your insurance policy. Many operators sign up for a policy when they purchase a grinder at the original purchase price, but never adjust the policy amount to account for depreciation of the machine. As a result many operators overpay on their grinder insurance policy for years without knowing it.

After a grinder fire most operators need a replacement machine fast. For great deals on used Tub Grinders and Horizontal Grinders to replace your burned or damaged machine, visit us at Additionally, we buy / salvage burned and damaged grinders and will take them in on trade to help offset the cost of a replacement machine. If you are the victim of a grinder fire, we look forward to working with you to get you up and running with a quality used machine as soon as possible.