Once you’ve chopped your firewood with your hatchet or axe suitable for the purpose, another question arises: How do you store the newly chopped firewood properly?
No matter the purpose, your firewood needs to be stored in a dry place and lifted from the ground.
For obvious reasons, wet wood does not burn efficiently but it can also lead to a build up of creosote (this is “a dark brown or black flammable tar deposited from especially wood smoke on the walls of a chimney”) in the chimney flue.
Wet wood is prone to insect infestation, as well as mold and fungus growth. Thus, the importance of keeping your firewood dry when storing it outside, cannot be stressed enough.
Also, when the wood is first chopped, it may contain high levels of water. This is called “green” or “unseasoned” wood, which is hard to ignite, burns poorly, and doesn’t produce an adequate amount of heat. Unseasoned wood also adds to the creosote in your flue.
To make sure your firewood burns well, you need to be able to season it properly for the moisture to dry off completely. And to season it well, you need to store it properly.
Here are some do’s and don’ts to aid you when it comes to storing firewood outside your house.
Do’s and Don’ts When Storing Firewood Outside
In order to store your firewood properly outside, here is an easy-to-follow guide that helps you set up a storage area for your firewood.
Don’t store the firewood too close to your house
While you do want to keep the firewood clean and dry and as close to your house as possible so it is within easy reach, storing it too close to your house can be a fire hazard.
Should a wayward spark land on those logs, there is no telling how quickly they will catch fire and spread to your house as well.
Keeping the firewood too close to your house can also lead to a termite infestation which is something you definitely don’t want either, as they can destroy the base of your home’s foundation.
What to do instead…
Do store firewood some distance from your house
Instead of storing it directly on your front porch and thus encountering the challenges mentioned above, it’s recommended to store your firewood at a distance of 5 feet away or more.
That way, it is still close enough to your house if you need to step out and grab a few logs, while at the same time, being far enough to keep from endangering your house from a sudden fire or the infestation of termites.
Pro Tip: In the event that you do want to take preventive and safety measures against termite infestation, you might want to get termite detection and killing stakes which detect and kill termites before they reach your home.
Don’t stack up the firewood directly on the ground
If left lying on the ground, your firewood will absorb the moisture from the soil, making your wood damp and useless.
Wet wood also has the tendency to stick to the ground and leave behind clumps when you try to lift it.
Either way, you will waste whatever good firewood you could have had.
What to do instead…
Do store firewood on concrete, asphalt, or tarp
If you have no choice but to leave your firewood on the ground, lay a waterproof tarp down first on the patch of land you plan to use for and then put the firewood on top of that.
If you can get or build a slab with concrete or asphalt or you have a patch of ground that you can fill with concrete or asphalt, you can lay the firewood there.
That way, it is safe from moisture and you’ll be able to use every piece of wood that you chop.
Pro Tip: For your safety, don’t stack firewood more than four feet above the ground. This way, it ensures your log pile is stable and won’t suddenly collapse on something or someone.
Don’t cover the firewood completely with a tarp
While you do need the tarp to prevent the moisture from getting absorbed by your firewood, you shouldn’t cover all the firewood with a tarp, as this will keep the air from flowing freely, which will, in turn, make it difficult to dry the wood and get it ready for the fire.
What to do instead…
Do leave the sides of your stacked firewood exposed
If your wood is exposed and you want to cover it to perhaps shelter it from rain or dew, it is recommended to place the tarp only on the top of the wood and leave the sides open.
That way, the air still circulates freely around the stacked wood, and it will keep dry.
You might also want to make sure that your firewood is stacked in a sunny spot, which will let any moisture stuck on the wood dry nicely.
If you can find a spot where the sun shines but is not too far from your house for the sake of convenience, then you’ve got a perfect place for your firewood.
An outdoor firewood rack is a great and safe way to store your firewood. You can either store it in a shed or on its own, by leaving a tarp on top of the stack. There are lots of racks to choose from, so check out your options by clicking on the link.
Pro Tip: To make sure your firewood dries well, leave a few inches between the stacks for airflow, especially when you are storing several stacks of firewood side by side.
Don’t stack damp firewood against a wall or fence
If your firewood is damp and you stack it against a wall or a fence, it will stifle the air flow and reduce air circulation.
You will want to stack your firewood in a place with maximum air circulation in order to keep them from gathering too much moisture.
What to do instead…
Do stack firewood away from other structures
As much as possible, leave the sides of your firewood exposed, as mentioned above. This goes for firewood that is still quite damp yet.
Exposing firewood to wind and sun allows for proper circulation to flow through your logs of wood, allowing the ones with moisture to dry .
Once they are completely dry, you can move them to a place with one side against a wall or some other dry place. Make sure, however, that your firewood has enough exposure for the air to flow through, even the dry ones.
Pro Tip: When you place your dry firewood against a wall or a fence, leave a few spaces in between the wood and the fence so there is still air circulation.
Properly stacked firewood will ensure your safety and the safety of your house.
It all starts with proper stacking and proper drying so that you won’t have any difficulty and can get the kind of firewood that you want for your home.
It requires some work, but the effort is well worth it. Pretty soon, you’ll have that beautiful fire crackling in the fireplace. It’s perfect for cozying up with your favorite book or movie and some marshmallows for delicious s’ mores!