One of the big differences between heating with firewood and other forms of energy is that you are going to have to store the wood somewhere. Firewood storage is simple, there are just a few key things that that you should know. As you probably know, firewood should be dry to get the most efficient and cleanest burn. It is important to store the wood so it will stay dry. Or so that it will dry properly if it is wet or green.
It may seem like this would be as simple as throwing it on the ground and putting a tarp over it. And in some cases it is. But in many cases, that is a bad idea. If your wood is wet or green, a tarp can inhibit air flow and not allow it to dry, or greatly slow down the drying. Also wood will absorb moisture from the ground.
If you can keep the wood off the ground, this will help it stay clean and dry. Wood in contact with soil will also encourage rot. A concrete slab, pavement, well drained gravel are all good surfaces to store firewood on. Or anything like pieces of lumber, plywood or a tarp or plastic sheeting will help. A tarp is not ideal, since water can pool on it, but at least it will help keep the wood clean and away from soil, and is better than nothing. I have even stored wood on old discarded carpet and that worked well to keep it clean, although the bottom pieces did get wet.
A common thing I see people do as soon as they get firewood is to throw a tarp over it. This is ok if the wood is already dry. But if the wood is green or wet, it needs to be exposed to the open air so it will dry. If the weather is going to be wet and you must cover it, at least leave the sides open and just cover the top of the pile. This way air can still circulate into the pile and help it dry. I see a lot of people cover the pile all the way to the ground, which just seals in moisture ensuring that it will stay wet. The exception is in situations where the tarp will help trap solar heat to dry the wood, but you still need a way for the moisture to escape.
A firewood shed is a great way to store firewood once it is dry. But wood will often dry faster if it is outside exposed to the sun and wind, when the weather is dry. If you need to dry the wood in the shed, making sure there is good air circulation is important. This is where open walled sheds are great. A lot of people like to dry the wood in the summer or dry season outside, and then once it’s dry bring it into the shed. Wood will still dry in a shed, but maybe not as fast as outside if weather conditions are idea.
There are ideal ways to store firewood where you can do everything perfectly by the book. But then you can also consider that it is just wood that you are going to burn. Sometimes doing things the “best way” or the recommended way is not ideal or practical for your situation. Sometimes you have to weigh the cost of the labor and expense of storing it properly vs. just doing it in a way that is good enough for firewood. However you do it, simply making sure your wood gets good air circulation and keeping it off the soil will greatly improve your firewood experience.
In some cases there may be local codes and regulations for how firewood is stored. So be sure and check your local building codes and with local fire officials.
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