The practice of storing firewood outside is a common one, embraced by many homeowners and businesses globally. It is especially prevalent in regions that experience harsh winters, where a steady supply of firewood is essential to maintain warmth. In this discussion, we delve into the aspects that influence the period you can store firewood outdoors and tips to optimize its longevity.
Understanding the Lifespan of Stored Firewood
Firewood can technically be stored outdoors for extended periods, ranging from a few months to several years. The exact duration is dependent on several factors such as the type of wood, the climate of the area, and the method of storage. Seasoned wood, which has been allowed to dry for a period of 6 to 18 months, generally has a longer outdoor lifespan compared to green wood.
When storing firewood outside, it is paramount to consider the environmental factors that might affect its quality and usability. High humidity levels, heavy rainfall, and snow can impede the drying process and foster the growth of mold and fungi, which will degrade the wood over time.
In contrast, storing firewood in arid or dry climates can facilitate quicker seasoning of the wood, naturally reducing its moisture content to below 20%. This creates firewood that burns more efficiently, producing more heat and less creosote, a harmful substance that can build up in chimneys and pose a fire risk. Understanding the climate of your location can guide you in devising a robust strategy for outdoor firewood storage.
Preparation for Long-Term Outdoor Storage
Before placing firewood outside for long periods, one needs to prepare it adequately to ensure its longevity. One primary step in this preparation is seasoning the wood, a process that entails reducing its moisture content to make it a more efficient fuel source. The seasoning process involves splitting the wood into logs of a consistent size and allowing them to dry for an extended period.
Moreover, protecting the wood from ground moisture is vital. Creating an elevated platform or using pallets can prevent the logs from absorbing moisture from the ground, thereby reducing the risk of rot and infestation.
Optimal Storage Practices
To maximize the lifespan of firewood stored outside, adopting optimal storage practices is essential. A well-thought-out woodpile configuration that promotes airflow and reduces moisture retention can significantly enhance the lifespan of your firewood. The conventional method involves stacking the firewood in a manner that allows air to circulate freely, reducing the risk of mold growth and pest infestation.
In addition to stacking methods, choosing an appropriate cover for the woodpile can prevent water logging and speed up the drying process. A good practice is to cover the top of the woodpile while leaving the sides open to facilitate air circulation. Using a tarp or a specially designed firewood cover can effectively shield the wood from rain and snow, preserving its quality for a long time.
Regular Maintenance for Quality Assurance
A crucial aspect that governs the duration for which you can store firewood outdoors is regular maintenance. Routine checks for signs of rot, mold, and pest infestations can help in timely interventions, preserving the quality of the wood. Re-stacking the woodpile to promote better airflow and replacing damaged covers are maintenance practices that can enhance the lifespan of outdoor firewood storage.
To sum up, the duration for which you can store firewood outdoors largely depends on various factors including the climate conditions, the type of wood, and the storage practices adopted. With the right approach, it is feasible to store firewood outdoors for several years without compromising its quality.
Employing a meticulous storage strategy that involves proper preparation, optimal storage practices, and regular maintenance can potentially allow you to store firewood outdoors indefinitely, as long as the wood remains dry and free from decay and infestation.