Firewood Storage Tips
Alborn Supply of Ocean County provides some tips on how to handle and store your firewood
If you have a wood-burning fire pit or fireplace, you are going to need firewood. This, of course, means that you are going to need firewood storage. This may seem like a simple thing, but how and where you stack your firewood is more important than you might think.
An improperly stacked or poorly placed wood pile could lead to critter infestations, mold, fungus, snake bites, and wood that just does not burn as well. While it might not be possible to completely guarantee that your stack will be mouse, snake and mold free, there are simple steps you can take to keep your pile as clean, safe and dry as possible.
So, before you start stacking wood, check out these seven firewood storage tips that will help you properly care for your wood pile.
Always properly stack your firewood.
Tossing your firewood haphazardly in a bin or pile will not allow for proper air circulation, which is required for your wood to dry into good firewood. In particular, the wood in the middle of the pile is likely to retain moisture, which can lead to premature decay, mold or fungus.
A pile of wood that is not properly stacked is also more prone to infestations by insects or rodents.
Regardless of what you are using for firewood storage and the pattern you choose for your stack, your wood should be stacked with the cut ends exposed. These cut ends are where most of the moisture is released, so keeping these ends exposed is an essential part of allowing your wood to dry. Since most people stack their firewood in a single row, this will mean placing each piece so that the cut ends are facing the front and back of your stack. This may vary if you use different stacking methods, such as some that involve placing each layer in a different direction to optimize airflow.
When placing each layer of wood, avoid straight, vertical rows. Think of stacking your wood like you would stack bricks. For example, a straight column of bricks is sure to topple. By overlapping each row, you add stability to your stack.
Wood should be stacked loosely – rather than packed tightly to save space – to allow air to circulate between each piece.
If you are working with split firewood (bark on just one side), then you should also pay attention to the direction in which you stack each piece. For example, if you are stacking your wood on the ground and you are concerned about excessive moisture in the soil, stack your wood with the bark side facing the ground. You should also stack your wood with the bark side facing the ground if your wood is still a bit green and needs to continue drying. If your stack is not covered, you can help protect your dry wood from rain and snow by stacking it with the bark facing up, which will more readily allow the rain and snow to roll off of the wood to avoid absorption.
The simplest, most convenient firewood storage is a firewood rack. You can purchase racks in different sizes and styles, and these handy structures keep your firewood organized and off the ground, while making stacking easy. Alternatively, you can make your own rack by providing a foundation and hammering stakes into the ground to stabilize the sides of your pile. If you are stacking under a covered patio or under the eaves of a shed, you may already have posts, columns or a fence that can support the sides of your wood stack.
Do not store firewood indoors.
Do not store large amounts of firewood inside your home. It is best to bring in only what you plan on burning that day. Bringing in enough firewood for that day’s fire allows you the convenience of not having to go out to your wood pile every time you need another log. The convenience of having your firewood close at hand may tempt you to store larger amounts of wood inside your home near your fireplace, but this is not a good idea.
You can be pretty certain that your wood has some combination of spiders, termites, ants and other bugs that you do not want in your home. In some cases, there may even be mice – and, even if there are not mice in your wood when you bring it inside, an indoor stack of firewood that is rarely moved provides the perfect spot for spiders and mice to make their homes inside your house.
Additionally, storing firewood indoors does not allow it to dry properly; therefore, it is even more important to store green firewood outdoors.
Once your firewood has aged appropriately, it can be stored indoors in a shed, but it is still best to keep it out of your home to avoid providing a home for pests and to reduce the risk of errant sparks from your fireplace igniting this highly flammable material.
Some folks store firewood in their garages to keep it dry and conveniently located. This is an option and a good compromise for some, but you have the same issue with potentially bringing spiders, termites and mice into your garage or providing a cozy spot for these critters to make future homes.
Since most areas of Southern California do not get enough rain or snow to threaten your firewood, there is really no reason for most folks here to look for indoor firewood storage solutions. The amount of rain and snow most of us get can be countered by other measures to keep your wood dry.
Keep your firewood storage area clean.
Most folks do not pay a lot of attention to their wood piles, especially during the warmer months when they are less likely to burn wood. This is unfortunate, since an unattended wood stack can become quite unsightly, take away from the overall appearance of your yard, become infested with critters, increase fire risk, and start having moisture issues.
One example is allowing grass or weeds to grow around your wood pile. The first problem with this is that it reduces much-needed air circulation under your pile and around the base of your pile. Allowing weeds or nearby plants to grow around your wood stack also increases the chances of moisture staying in the area and affecting your wood. Additionally, foliage around your firewood storage provides cover for critters who will be more inclined to use the area as a home or as a hiding spot as they move around your yard. And, of course, unchecked weed or grass growth simply makes your firewood stack look unkempt, which takes away from your yard’s overall visual appeal.