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Stacking firewood indoors might be a matter of convenience or part of a rustic home design. If you are heating your house in the winter or want to cozy up to an idyllic fireplace, there are some considerations before you bring in a pile of firewood.
Should you store firewood in your garage? Firewood should not be stored in your agarage. It should be stored at least five feet away from the foundation of buildings.
In this article, you will learn why firewood should not be stored in your garage and how to correctly store your firewood.
1. Bugs and Pests
If you store firewood in your garage, insects and pests that love firewood may find their way into your home.
According to Timothy J. Gibb, writing for Purdue University Extension Entomology in his research titled “Insects in Firewood,” wood should be stored away from the foundation of a building to avoid problems with pests such as rodents, termites, and other bugs.
- Wood-boring beetles are a common sight in firewood piles. Their eggs are laid when the wood is a live tree and hatch later.
- Carpenter ants are attracted to wood that is stacked on the ground and wood that is not dried out.
- Termites also prefer wood that is stored on the ground. They create tunnels of mud and may not be noticed right away.
- Other insects, such as spiders, wasps, and roaches, will leave the wood once it is brought inside, and these bugs are often an annoyance to homeowners.
How to Reduce Insects That Love Firewood
Orkin Pest Control FAQs discuss the importance of keeping firewood at least five feet from the foundations of homes or other buildings.
Some tips to reduce the possibility of a firewood-loving insect issue include:
- Cut wood as late in the year as possible. Many bugs emerge in the spring, and wood that is cut later in the year is not as ideal for many pests.
- Bring firewood inside for burning as you need it rather than stockpiling several days’ worth of wood. This will prevent bugs and insects from having time to come out from the wood and into your home.
- Stack wood away from the foundations of homes or other buildings, even garages.
- Firewood should be off the ground, as well.
2. Rodents Love Firewood
According to the Winter 2017 Pest Gazette article titled “Storing Firewood,” rodents enjoy spending the winter months in the safety of human homes.
Rodents have the potential to spread diseases and contaminate homes with droppings that can cause allergies to flare up and spread bacteria. They can also cause damage to electrical wires and insulation.
Before bringing firewood inside, inspect the firewood for animal nests.
3. Wood Won’t Dry in the Garage
Unless the garage is temperature-controlled, your wood is not likely to dry out properly, which leads to trouble with the quality of the wood and possible health issues.
Those with asthma or allergies may struggle with the mold spores damp wood might carry.
The heat from a fire does not kill mold spores; the fire will spread mold spores. The release of mold spores creates a health risk for everyone, especially those who are sensitive to mold.
Why Airflow is Important for Firewood
Wood that is thoroughly dried burns better and warmer. The sun plays a part in drying wood, but the critical aspect of drying wood is the air circulation between and under the woodpiles. Wood that does not air out sufficiently will rot.
The rotten parts of the firewood have lots of moisture and can soak up water, which will cause excessive smoke and create an unwanted build-up inside the chimney. The rotten parts of firewood are typically the home for the bugs and insects that can invade your garage and your home.
Best Way to Store Your Firewood
When firewood is stored correctly, it gives the optimal output of heat. It also burns longer and does not contribute to carbon monoxide build-up.
Ideally, firewood has less than 20% moisture. It has no sap, is pest and mold-free, and burns without too much smoke or odor. Some woods take less than a year to dry, but some hardwoods could take a couple of years.
Some places are better than others for storing firewood, such as:
- Outside storage is best for firewood because of the various issues with in-house storage.
- Find an area that drains well and is dry.
- Avoid areas that have wind blocks. You will want wind and breeze to be able to flow around the wood.
- When stacking rows of wood next to one another, leave some space in between the rows to allow airflow between the stacks.
- Keep your woodpile off the ground. Wood pallets are a good option as a base for stacking firewood. (Source)
How to Stack Wood
There are several suitable ways to stack wood properly to keep the piles from falling over.
- Stacks should not be higher than four feet, and posts on the end of the stack will help keep the ends intact.
- If you lack poles, stack the end pieces of wood side by side. For the next layer, lay the two pieces of wood side by side but facing the opposite direction. As you stack the ends, test to make sure it is stable. It helps to use similarly sized wood when stacking the ends.
- Continue to stack wood with bark side facing the ground so the moisture can continue to dry out. If the wood is already cured, it does not hurt to have it bark side up.
Build a Firewood Shed
Firewood can be an investment whether you cut it down yourself or hire someone to deliver it. Since storing firewood in the garage is not ideal, consider a firewood shed to optimize airflow.
Firewood storage sheds are typically open on one side and include spaces to allow for airflow. Some things to know before building a firewood shed:
- When constructing a firewood shed, consider using cedarwood, as cedar naturally repels insects.
- Your firewood shed should have a roof that slants to the read of the structure. This allows rain and snow to fall on the opposite side of the opening to the shed.
- Additionally, it should have a floor that raises above the dirt.
Maintain Your Firewood Shed
The materials you use for your shed should include quality hardware. Firewood sheds are exposed to harsh elements year-round, and inferior bolts and fasteners can cause problems.
If you find yourself with a broken bolt or a stripped bolt, you may have to drill the bolts out and replace them.
Another option is buying an extractor set to remove the problem bolts. If you are trying to tighten loose bolts and you notice the bolt keeps spinning, it is a sign the bolt has failed, and it needs to be replaced to maintain the firewood shed.
Storing your firewood in your garage opens your garage and home to insects and rodents. Firewood should be stored several feet from the foundation of your home and in an area that is optimal for airflow. That airflow will help to season your firewood correctly to ensure it burns with optimal heat.
Wet or moldy wood doesn’t burn as well and can cause some health concerns.
Firewood ought to be stored above the ground and several feet away from your home. A fire shed structure is an excellent option for storing wood as it keeps the elements off the top of your woodpile and protects your firewood without giving pests access to your home.