If you’re planning to use a fire pit, either on your patio or other outdoor living area, you’ll need to stockpile plenty of firewood. The right firewood will keep your fire pit going long into the night, allowing you to get the most use and enjoyment out of this accessory. Whether you purchase a full cord, face cord or half cord, though, you should avoid making the following mistakes when storing firewood for your fire pit.
#1) Storing Firewood Against Your Home’s Exterior
The exterior of your home may seem like an ideal place to store firewood, but this isn’t recommended. Firewood can attract all kinds of pests, including termites, spiders, roaches, centipedes and scorpions. And if you store it directly against your home’s exterior, some of these pests may find their way inside your home. To prevent this from happening, store firewood at least 20 feet away from your home.
#2) Storing Firewood on the Ground
Why shouldn’t you store firewood on the ground? If it’s placed directly on the ground, it will absorb moisture from the soil. Over time, firewood can absorb so much moisture that it’s unable to light or stay lit. A simple solution is to store your firewood just a few inches off the ground using a wooden pallet. It doesn’t have to be particularly tall; just 2 or 3 inches off the ground should keep your firewood protected from ground moisture.
#3) Leave It Outside and Uncovered
Never leave your firewood outside without some form of shelter or cover. It’s perfectly fine to store firewood outside, but it needs a shelter or cover to protect it from the elements. When left exposed to the elements, firewood will absorb moisture from rain, sleet and snow. This is concerning because wet firewood has a lower combustion efficiency than dry firewood, meaning it produces more smoke and less heat. If you’re going to store firewood outside, consider placing it in a utility shed. Just remember to keep it off the ground as well. When stored in this manner, firewood will stay dry for months or even years.
#4) Treating It With Pesticide
Some homeowners have gone to the extreme to protect their firewood from damage by treating it with pesticide. Whether it’s a liquid- or powder-based, though, applying pesticide to firewood is never a good idea. It introduces a plethora of toxic chemicals and compounds that are absorbed into the wood. When you get ready to burn the firewood in your fire pit, those chemicals and compounds will be released into the air as toxic fumes. If you’re worried about
#5) Storing the Wrong Type of Firewood
It’s also important to store the right type of firewood. You can’t burn just any type of wood that you find lying around your home or yard. Pressure-treated wood, for example, is typically used and construction and contains liquid preservatives to deter microorganisms, pests and decay. When burned, pressure-treated wood will release toxic fumes because of its preservatives. So, what type of firewood can you store? The best type of firewood is dry, untreated wood logs from hardwood trees. Hardwood trees are denser than softwood trees. And with more organic matter, they burn longer than softwoods.
Some of the best types of hardwood firewood for use in a fire pit include:
#6) Overlooking the Need for Airflow
Arrange your firewood in alternating rows of logs so that air is able to easily pass through it. Some homeowners simply stack their firewood so that the logs are flush with one another, neglecting to create space through which air can flow. Without adequate airflow, however, your firewood won’t be able to dry out. Rather, moisture will get trapped inside the wood, causing it to rot or develop mold. If you discover that your firewood has rotted or developed mold, you’ll need to throw it out and start back over.
#7) Not Storing for Long Enough
You might be eager to build fires in your fire pit after acquiring some firewood, but you need to make sure that it’s dry first. If it’s fresh wood that was recently harvested, you must wait for it to dry — a process that can take up to a year for certain types of wood. Retrieving firewood from your storage area prematurely will result in a low-quality fire that produces minimal heat and a lot of smoke. Therefore, you should remain patient while waiting for your firewood to dry. Also known as seasoned firewood, dry firewood has a lighter color than fresh firewood of the same type. Most hardwoods have a brown/tan color when fresh. After drying for up to a year, however, they turn to a light brown color, indicating that it’s ready to burn in your fire pit.
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