In an effort to keep their firewood from getting wet, many homeowners keep their firewood stacks and racks covered. While many kinds of fitted covers can be purchased online or at big box retailers, keeping your wood covered outside may not be best for your firewood.
How you store your firewood can have an impact on how well your firewood burns. To help your wood burn its best, firewood should be stacked correctly and only partially covered. Doing this can keep the moisture off of the wood without affecting the entire wood pile.
The importance of firewood seasoning
By leaving your firewood partially uncovered outside, you can aid in the firewood seasoning process. When it comes to firewood, seasoning doesn’t refer to spices in your spice rack; instead, seasoning is the process by which exposure to sun and wind removes excess moisture from wood.
Freshly cut wood can have a moisture content as high as 50%. When put on a fire, this green wood burns sluggishly and at low temperatures; the popping and large amounts of smoke green wood are known for are actually the moisture in the wood evaporating. Instead, wood should be seasoned for at least six months after it is cut. Doing this greatly reduces the moisture content of the wood; well-seasoned firewood should have no more than 20% moisture left!
Why your wood stack needs to be covered
Although exposure to the elements in an integral part of the seasoning process, too much exposure can cause rot throughout your wood stack. To prevent wood rot – while still allowing the seasoning process to continue – the firewood should be partially covered outside.
By only covering the top of your wood stack, the wood is protected from exposure to rain and other moisture; without protection, this water can accumulate and cause wood rot, not just on the top layer of wood but throughout the wood stack. Likewise, leaving the sides of the wood stack uncovered allows air to continue to flow through the wood. This airflow is an integral part of continuing the seasoning process as well as helping any moisture that gets into the wood evaporate quickly.
Other considerations for firewood storage
Even good firewood storage won’t matter if you don’t buy the right kind of firewood. First and foremost, it is important to try and only buy seasoned firewood. Wood that has undergone the seasoning process has lower moisture content, allowing the wood to burn more efficiently and at higher temperatures. Buying wood that is already seasoned will allow you to enjoy a hotter fire without the wait. Additionally, storing your partially covered wood stack outside, the seasoning process can continue and you will be left with dry wood for your next fire.
In addition to buying only seasoned wood, firewood should be stored outdoors until it is needed. Most wood has insects that can go dormant in cold outdoor temperatures; when kept at room temperature, these insects can become active again and get into your home. To avoid this, only bring in the amount of firewood that is immediately needed. Keep the rest of your wood outdoors to keep your home insect free!
Call New Buck Chimney Services for all your chimney and fireplace needs. We serve Shreveport, LA and the surrounding areas and will deliver impeccable customer on every job.