Finding proper firewood storage solutions is not only important for keeping the wood from rotting, but also for keeping a fire burning. Unseasoned or wet wood just doesn't burn that well and won't produce the heat that dry and seasoned wood will. Wood that has just been cut (or green wood) can contain up to 50% water. For those who don't know "seasoning" is the process of water evaporation inside the wood (basically a drying out). This can take several months to a year. This article assumes you've already got your wood and you are just needing a little advice on firewood storage.
Firewood Storage Inside The Home
It's necessary to keep a certain amount of firewood inside your home near your fire. Just how much depends on several factors such as temperature, the space you are heating, and whether or not the fire will be the primary heat source. You want to have enough dry wood under roof where you don't have to go out and get it every day (don't forget to knock off any bugs before bringing it inside).
Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to firewood storage inside the home is the distance between the wood and the fire. Keep the wood several feet away and in a place where sparks from the fire can't pop out onto the wood. It's also a good idea to have a fire extinguisher fairly close by.
Now you can just place the wood on your floor, but it is much easier and a lot less messy to just buy or make a rack for firewood storage. These can be found in many places nowadays (even on Amazon) in a variety of shapes and sizes. Be sure and get one that is made from heavy gauge steel if you want to store a lot of wood on it. Wood is heavy and will bend lighter gauge steel or poorly made racks. The one thing you don't want is for a stack of wood to fall down onto your leg (ouch!).
Firewood Storage Outside The Home
If you're planning on using up your wood over the winter or in a short amount of time it won't be too big of a deal how you store your wood. As long as the wood was cut within the past year and looks in good shape you won't have to worry about it rotting. Keeping it off the ground (though not necessary) will help keep bugs out of it and covering it with something will keep it from getting it wet. If you do decide to cover it make sure there will be plenty of air circulation (don't cover it up tight).
If you've decided to always keep enough wood around so that it will last for a few years (in case of emergencies) you need to stack it, cover it if possible and use the older firewood first. Outdoor firewood storage needs to be a priority if you have a lot of wood as keeping it inside your home all year around could attract insects. It's also important to not place the wood too close to your house for the same reason.
Wood kept outside for longer periods of time should be loosely stacked to promote good air circulation, kept off the ground, and be covered in some way if possible. Also try to stack the wood with the bark side facing upwards. This will keep rain out a little bit better. You can do this by using a firewood storage rack or using a firewood storage shed.
â€¢ Firewood Storage Rack: These are the same as you can use for inside your home, though probably heavier and sturdier. You can make your own by driving some posts into the ground and having something to lay the wood on to keep it off the ground. If you cover your wood with a tarp leave both sides open and uncovered to encourage plentiful air circulation.
â€¢ Firewood Storage Shed: There are plenty of layout plans for firewood sheds on the internet. You can just do a Google search for "firewood storage shed plans" and then decide which is best for you. Keep in mind your shed doesn't have to be fancy or even look good if you don't want it to. Build or buy sheds with the sides open to allow plenty of air circulation (which is important for seasoning the wood), and it should some sort of a roof, of course.
Buying firewood for cold weather is often the easy part (unless you are actually cutting and splitting the wood!). Firewood storage, though, takes a little thought and some manual labor as well. It's a wise idea to have everything figured out before cold weather hits. Now all you have to worry about is starting the fire and keeping it going through the night. Stay warmâ€¦ and safe.
Photo credit: snow covered firewood (Nino Barbieri/Wikimedia Commons)