Proper Firewood Storage Tips
The Best Way to Store Your Firewood Until You Need It
Assuming you've already finished bucking a tree and using your log splitter to split your firewood, now you've got to store it somewhere.
So you've maybe seen some inventive ways online to store your firewood, and you're wondering: which way's best?
There is a "best" way to store firewood, and you won't believe what it is. No, it's not keeping it in a decorative bundle beside the fireplace. It's not even setting it beside your back door.
The best answer to the question of how to store firewood is to stack it in an organized pile far outside your home or building! Who'd have thought, right? But here's how to do it properly.
Knowing How Long to Store Your Wood
Wood that's been freshly cut is called green wood. Green wood is not wood that you want to burn in your fireplace. Instead, it's best to wait to use your firewood until it's "ripe."
That's right. Firewood has to age, which is also called seasoning or curing the wood. If you use freshly fallen trees to warm your fireplace, you'll wind up with lots of creosote buildup in your chimney and a dangerously smokey home.
Other problems that can result from not properly seasoning your firewood range from inefficient to life-threatening:
- Minimal heat output from the fire
- Short burning times
- Carbon monoxide buildup
The general rule of thumb for aging most types of wood is to "season for a season." Giving your firewood at least six months to cure will rid it of most of its moisture.
Finding the Best Place to Store Firewood
Knowing where to stack your firewood is as important as knowing how to stack it. Some people like the convenience of stacking and storing their firewood in the house beside the fireplace.
This is not the recommended place to store firewood for one important reason: when carrying firewood into your home, there are likely to be a few hitchhikers.
Unless you want spiders, mice, ants, termites, or a number of other pests crawling around your home, keep the wood outside. Besides, it's less likely to age well in the house where there's less airflow to dry it.
Other tips for finding the perfect place to store your firewood include the following:
- Choose a dry, breezy area of your property
- Keep the wood about 20 feet from the nearest door to your house to prevent pests from having a direct route inside
- If you're stacking wood next to a structure, stack it at least a few inches away from the structure to allow airflow behind the stack
Properly Stacking a Rack
Now you might wonder how to stack firewood for the best results. Wood should be stacked in rows no more than four feet high. You can either use a log rack or pallets and posts.
If the firewood isn't fully seasoned yet, stack it bark-side down so the moisture can continue to easily evaporate from the wood. You can stack the logs bark-side up once they're aged to naturally shield the wood from rain and snow.
If you're using pallets and posts, simply place the pallet on the ground and hammer the posts or stakes in on each corner. Be sure the posts are close enough together to keep the firewood pieces from rolling off the sides, and pile your wood on top of the pallets to keep it raised off the ground a bit.
If you're using a firewood rack, simply set it in place and begin stacking your wood, ends facing front and back, until you've reached an even four feet in height all the way across.
Whatever you do, don't toss your logs in an unorganized pile. Doing so won't provide proper ventilation to the wood in the middle of the pile, causing it to rot rather than dry.
Protecting Firewood from the Elements
To protect your firewood from snow or rain, you can use a firewood cover. Make sure to leave the front and back of the stack fully open until it's aged so the ends of the wood can breathe.
For seasoned wood, there are full-sized firewood covers that will protect all of your finely aged wood until you're ready to bring it inside.
You can also place your stack in an open barn or shed, or under an overhang. Just be sure not to stack fresh wood in a closed-off barn or shed that doesn't get optimal air flow. Doing so will lead to bad aging and a possible nesting place for pests.
No matter how you choose to cover your firewood, a few extra steps will keep your wood and your property in good shape:
- Keep your storage space open and well ventilated
- Don't leave scraps or kindling lying around
- Trim brush away from the pile, and use a string trimmer for tall grass or weeds that sprout up
After you've taken the time to season your firewood, it only makes sense to store it properly so that you can enjoy the fruits of your labor. Good firewood storage will keep your wood ready to burn throughout even the wettest, chilliest months.