Why You Should Store Firewood Outdoors
During the winter, you may enjoy relaxing with your family in front of a roaring fire. Many homeowners think it makes sense to store firewood inside the house, near the fireplace, where it’s easily accessible, but that can actually lead to problems.
You Don’t Want to Bring Insects and Animals Into Your Home
If you store wood inside your house, you may also bring in some uninvited guests. A stack of firewood can serve as shelter for insects, including termites and spiders, as well as mice, snakes and other small animals. If they get loose in your home, you may have to hire a pest control company to get rid of them and pay a contractor to repair damage they cause.
Firewood Needs to Season
Wood has to season, or dry out, before it can be used as firewood. Wood filled with moisture won’t burn long or produce much heat. It can also produce a lot of smoke and release carbon monoxide, as well as creosote, which can lead to a chimney fire.
Where and How to Store Firewood
Freshly cut wood should be stored outside, where it can season. There isn’t enough airflow in a typical house for wood to dry out thoroughly. Wood stored outdoors may take six months or longer to dry out enough to be burned in a fireplace or wood stove.
Keep firewood at a good distance from your house so that insects and animals living in the wood pile don’t have easy access to your home. Choose an area with good air circulation.
Storing wood right up against the side of your house may seem convenient, but it can be dangerous. If a spark from a barbecue, a fire pit, an unextinguished cigarette or another source causes the stack of firewood to go up in flames, your house may soon follow. Stacking firewood next to the house can also limit air circulation, which can allow mold and fungus to grow.
Store firewood on a pallet or rack at least a few inches off the ground so the wood doesn’t come into contact with moisture that could cause it to rot. Arrange logs in rows, leaving enough space between them to allow air to circulate, and stack them about four feet high with the cut ends exposed.
You can use a firewood cover or tarp to protect the top of the stack from rain and snow, but leave the sides uncovered so the wood is exposed to air and sunlight and able to season. If you decide to store wood in a shed or barn, make sure the building has enough air circulation for the wood to dry out.
Only bring enough firewood for one day at a time into your house. Don’t set logs near the fireplace, as a stray spark could cause them to ignite and your entire home could catch fire.