The Importance of Proper Firewood Storage

Stack of firewood
  • 5-40 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 150-500

Wood is a renewable clean source of energy and there is nothing more comforting than a cozy fire on cold winter nights; proper firewood storage is important if noxious fumes from badly burning wood (which can cause ill health and air pollution) are to be prevented. There are some rules to be followed so that freshly cut wood is treated in the right manner for a really clean burn.

Seasoned Wood

Wood stores water, so it is important that as soon as it is cut down, it is cut into small logs and split so the water evaporates quickly. Dry logs burn more efficiently and produce minimal smoke. If buying wood, always ask if it is seasoned and what type of wood it is. This is because hardwood like oak or hickory burns better than other types, giving plenty of heat and light and duration. For wood to be fully seasoned, it may take up from a few months to a year. Investing in a wood moisture reader is wise as it will indicate when the wood is ready for use because, on the other hand, wood that is too dry will burn too quickly.

Storing the Wood

long row of firewood covered with a tarp

After chopping, the wood needs to be kept in a dry place. You may have to put up a small shed for this purpose or find a space for it in the basement. If the place you choose is prone to damp, cover the wood to preserve it. Before storage, expose the wood to the sun to give it a head start in the drying process and prevent rotting. Make sure the place you store your firewood in has plenty of air circulation, so don’t cover the wood too tightly, and inspect the place regularly for any signs of damage. Stack the wood in an even manner, either horizontally or upright in parallel rows with some space in between for air circulation.

Storing Inside the House

wood burning fire

It is a good idea to store some wood on a rack inside the house, in the vicinity of the fireplace, but with enough distance to prevent any sparks from reaching the logs. It is handy to have the wood there because you won’t need to go out each time you need to stoke up the fire and the stacked wood will be drying out all the more in the warm temperature. Stack it loosely to allow the air to circulate. Air circulation is very important because lack of air will produce bugs and vermin in the wood.

Quick Tips

When buying wood, inspect the logs for mold or any other signs of disease. Make sure the racks you will be using are built strong enough to take on the heavy wood so as not to cause any accident such as having logs falling on somebody’s foot, which can be very nasty. Lightweight but strong racks made from tubular steel are readily available in various sizes.

It is also a good idea to have a fire extinguisher in the house in case something untoward happens.