Your fireplace can be a focal point in your home, providing warmth, beauty, and value. In order to enjoy it to its fullest potential, you’ll want to make sure that the wood you are burning is properly stored and cared for. Here are our top five tips for storing and maintaining firewood for your fireplace:
- Location, location, location
When it comes to storing your firewood, it’s best to take a page from the world of real estate and focus on location, location, location. It might look nice to keep a stack of wood right next to your fireplace, and it might be more convenient to keep your firewood stored on your porch next to your house, but neither of those places are ideal. The most important reason is when you bring wood into the house, you are very often also bringing in some unwanted guests—termites and other pests can hitch a ride in with your firewood, making for some unpleasant moments, not to mention the possibility of damage or health risks.
Storing wood close to your home or stacked up on your porch against the wall of your house invites the same problem. To avoid unwelcome guests, create a space to store your firewood that is at least 30 feet from your house.
- Ventilation is key
Your firewood needs to be stacked in a way that allows for optimal circulation of air to aid in seasoning (see the next tip!) and help prevent rot. The best place to store firewood is in an open-ended shed, making sure the wood is elevated so it’s not laying directly on the ground. The way you stack the wood is also important. Throwing the wood onto a log rack or into a shed in a disorderly pile will not provide the air circulation needed to keep it dry and free of rot, so be sure to stack the wood neatly and evenly.
- Better with age
Firewood needs to be aged, or seasoned. Freshly cut wood is called “green”—it has a lot of moisture still in it, and if you burn it you’ll get more smoke, more creosote build-up, and less warmth and longevity from your fire. Use your older firewood first, and as a rule of thumb allow wood to age for six months before you burn it.
- Protection from the elements
If you are storing your wood outside—which is the best option to avoid pests in the home—you will also want to be sure that you are protecting it from the elements. The key is to keep the wood safe from rain and snow while still allowing for that much-needed ventilation to stave off rot. An open-ended shed is ideal for this, but if you don’t have a shed you can buy a firewood cover.
- A clean burn
While it’s understandable that homeowners would want to guard against termites and pests in their firewood, the best way to do this is to store it properly—not to treat it with insecticides. Remember that anything you put on your firewood will eventually be breathed in by you and your family when you burn that wood, so steer clear of chemicals and solutions.
Do you have questions about the storing and care of your firewood? Ask the firewood experts at JerseyFirewood™.