Learn the do’s and don’ts of how to correctly manage your firewood

There are few things more enjoyable than sitting by a wood-burning stove or fireplace during the bitter cold of winter. The warmth, comfort and homey feel it can bring is enjoyable, but is not without some effort. You need to be very cognizant of how, and where you store your firewood, and what to do when you bring it inside for burning. Below are some tips on what you should be doing to properly enjoying your firewood

Store firewood away from buildings

Firewood should never be stored up against the house or other building. Wood-boring pests can easily tunnel directly from the wood into the structure. Storing firewood against your building also increases the risk of fire

Stack firewood off the ground.

Make sure that the wood is not sitting directly on the floor. If firewood has direct contact with soil it will absorb moisture from the soil and where it contacts the soil it will make a great habitat for insects and fungus.

Build the woodpile upwards, leaving a space between the wood and any walls to allow air to circulate. Keeping the wood off the ground by the use of block, brick, log rack or other material. Doing this exposes the wood to higher airflows and quickens the drying process. Another easy way of carefully stacking wood is through the use of log rack brackets

Where should you stack your wood?

“Green” wood: If the wood is green, it is best to leave the wood outside uncovered where it will get full sun. Sun and wind will dry wood faster than if- the wood is stored under cover. Even if it gets rained on that is fine. Many claim that wood that is exposed to rain and sun both will dry faster. As hard as that may be to believe, it actually seems to be true. It may be that wetting wood keeps the outside pores open so moisture can better evaporate from deeper inside the wood.

“Dry” wood. If the wood is season and already dry, the best place to store it is away from the elements either inside a shed, lean-to or other covered area.

Covering your woodpile

Many people cover wood with a tarp or plastic sheeting. This is a good approach but avoid covering the whole pile as it will hold moisture inside. The best practice is to cover only the top of the pile, with the sides being left open so as to allow air flow.

Store firewood away from trees.

Do not pile wood next to or near living trees because insects which may be living within the firewood pile, could crawl over to the live tree, and cause severe damage.

Never stack firewood indoors.

Some people store firewood inside, but I strongly discourage you from this approach. Although storing wood indoors may seem convenient, insects can emerge to take up residence within the structure of your home. The firewood can provide attractive residence for rodents or other wildlife or insect pests to inhabit..

Practice FIFO: First In/First Out.

Use oldest wood first. This will help to keep pests at a minimum as you are not allowing infestations to build up, and ensure that you are using the most seasoned wood.

Use only local firewood.

When firewood is moved from one location to another, it can bring non-native insects along with it. Non-native insects such as the Emerald Ash Borer can then crawl out from the wood to begin infesting and breeding in new areas.

Stacking Firewood

Stacking firewood carefully does take more time than simply placing it in a pile, but it does has its advantages. Carefully stacked wood will have a smaller footprint, and provides better air circulation. For safety sake, take care when assembling your pile to avoid it tipping over. As a rule of thumb you should never stack your woodpile more than 4ft high

Eliminate surface pests.

Before bringing wood into the house, inspect the firewood, look them over, shake them, knock them together in an effort to get rid of the pests that are on the surface or beginning to emerge.

Burn firewood immediately when brought indoors.

Burn firewood immediately when bringing it indoors. This reduces the chance that insects within the wood crawl out into the surrounding areas. Consider using a wood carrier to bring your firewood inside easily

Keep clean-up tools handy

Firewood is messy, no matter how careful you are.  When you bring it in there is no doubt small twigs, bark, sawdust, and  insects may fall down to the ground. Keep a brush and dustpan or a small hand vacuum close by, so as sweep up any debris right away.

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