The crackle of warm winter fires might be months away, but if you have a wood-burning fireplace or heating stove, the fire-burning season likely is on your mind as you prepare the firewood your need to keep your home warm this fall and winter. Before you stack your firewood, consider these firewood storage tips to keep your wood dry and free from mold and decay.
Firewood should be stored off of the ground. When firewood comes in direct contact with the ground, it picks up moisture that can cause mold, mildew and decay. Putting your wood into direct contact with the soil also invites insects to find a home in your wood pile. If you don’t have a concrete area on which to stack your firewood, consider stacking them on wooden beams or pallets, or invest in a wood stacker made just for this job.
Cover your woodpile.
While your firewood is still being seasoned, exposing it to wind and sun can help to dry the wood out. Once the lower moisture content has been achieved, however, it is important to cover your woodpile to keep the logs from reabsorbing moisture. If you don’t have a covered area designated for your wood pile, a simple tarp over the top of the woodpile will suffice.
Store firewood away from your home.
It can be tempting to build your firewood stack adjacent to your home, where you can easily access it when your fire is burning. Logs stack against the home, however, invite pests like termites to make a home against your home’s foundation. Make your firewood pile away from your home, and bring in smaller stacks of wood — perhaps a day’s worth — into your garage or in-home wood rack as needed.
Stack wood loosely.
Don’t try to minimize your wood storage space by cramming logs too closely together. You want air to be able to circulate around the woodpile to keep logs dry and free from decay. Either stack logs loosely, or consider stacking them in a alternating directions to allow for airflow. If you are stacking multiple rows of woodpiles, keep each pile six to 12 inches apart to allow for air flow between them.
Don’t stack wood too high.
The height of your woodpile should be limited to around 4 feet, so you don’t compromise the stability of the structure. If you are not using a manufactured wood stacker, you might want to consider placing posts at each end of your woodpile to prevent the pile from toppling to one side or the other.
Check to make sure your wood is seasoned.
Properly seasoned, or dried, firewood burns hotter and more efficiently. That means you get more heat from your fires and less creosote is allowed to develop within your chimney. Before you burn wood from your pile, make sure it has dried properly. The wood should be grayish in color, the bark should be splitting and separating from the wood, and two logs should make a hollow “thud” when banged together. When you light the wood, you will be able to tell for sure that it has been properly stored: seasoned logs will crackle pleasantly, while wet wood will steam and hiss.
For more fire burning tips or to see our selection of wood-burning appliances contact Fireside Hearth & Home.