Proper Storage of Firewood

There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction you feel after spending an afternoon chopping and splitting firewood. It’s a hot, sweaty job, but the thought of the crackling, cozy fires you will be enjoying on those cold winter nights is well worth the effort. But improper storage of all that firewood can cause problems you don’t want to deal with.

Seasoned FirewoodProper Firewood Storage - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney Sweep

Whether you are cutting the wood yourself or buying pre-cut wood for your fireplace, you want to make sure that the wood has been seasoned, or dried, for a proper length of time. According to, firewood that is not dry will burn poorly or not burn at all. Firewood needs to be dried for six months to a year to ensure a good fire. You can tell if your firewood is ready to burn in a couple of ways. First, look at it. Seasoned wood should be greyish and dry looking, and could have cracks or splits in the ends. Seasoned wood is also more light-weight than fresh wood. When you hit two pieces of wood together, seasoned wood should make a dull thunking noise.

Buy or Cut Your Firewood Early

Although these indicators can be used to determine if your firewood is properly seasoned, the best way to know is to buy or cut your firewood early in the spring before you intend to use it. If you do this, you will need to use proper storage techniques.

Where to Store Your Woodpile

It would seem logical to pile your firewood right next to the house for easy access. Who wants to go too far out in the cold in the subzero temperatures, right? Fight this temptation. Wood piles hold a natural attraction for insects and animals; the closer to your house your wood pile is located, the more likely that these critters will find their way into your home. If you do wish to have some wood next to your house, make it no more than a two week supply. According to Home Guides, it is wise to keep your woodpile at least 30 feet from your home.
It is also important to keep your woodpile dry. If your wood lays on the wet ground, it can become moldy or infested with bugs, and it will soon become worthless. Stacking your woodpile in between trees, under a canopy, or under a roof can help alleviate this problem. It can also help to stack your wood on a pallet to keep it off the moist ground. If you don’t have a place to put your firewood that’s under cover, you can place a tarp loosely over the pile, but don’t wrap it tightly or cover the ends – it is important that air can continue to flow through the woodpile to help keep the firewood dry.

How to Stack Firewood

When stacking your firewood, be sure to allow for airflow to reduce moisture entering the wood. Firewood-for-life recommends stacking the first layer of wood side by side, tightly enough to keep the woodpile stable, but not so tightly that air can’t flow freely. Tree bark provides a natural water barrier, so when stacking firewood, place it bark-side-up on the upside of the pile, and bark-side-down if it is coming in contact with the ground.

Proper storage of your woodpile will ensure a fire that burns hot, which will help keep your chimney clean and safe. However, yearly inspections and cleanings are still necessary, so remember to schedule these using a CSIA certified sweep, like the professionals at Pozzi Chimney Sweep, Inc.