The weather is growing colder. If you have an indoor fireplace or wood-burning stove, you may now be thinking of stocking up on wood so you can enjoy roaring, crackling fires all winter long. But buying and storing firewood is not as simple as it might seem. Here are some do's and don'ts to follow when buying and storing the logs you plan to burn this winter.
Do: Buy Seasoned Wood
If you were to chop down a tree and try to burn the wood immediately, it would not burn very well. The wood really needs to be aged, or seasoned, for at least six months - ideally longer - before you burn it. Wood that is not properly seasoned will generate extra smoke and creosote, which can coat the interior of your chimney and lead to a chimney fire.
Before purchasing firewood, always look it over carefully to ensure it has been properly seasoned. Seasoned wood has a dull color, feels lighter than green wood, and makes a hollow sound when struck against another log. If the wood is well seasoned, it should also have a light, woody smell rather than the sappy smell of fresh wood.
Do: Buy Local Wood
You've probably heard the advice "don't move firewood." The advice is meant to protect trees, not your back. Even if it looks perfectly okay, firewood can harbor insects and fungi that cause disease in trees. Moving firewood too far from its origin can spread diseases into areas where they were not previously a problem. Diseases spread this way include oak wilt, beech bark disease, and Dutch elm disease, all of which are fatal.
Even though you will ultimately burn the wood, any pests or fungi it contains can spread to local trees in the time the wood is being stored. So only buy firewood from a local supplier who sources it from local trees.
Don't: Store Wood Against Your House
Stacking wood against your house may seem like a convenient way to ensure it remains accessible in the dead of winter. However, this is also a great way to invite termites and carpenter ants into your home. Termite and ant damage to firewood is not always obvious, so stack your wood at least five feet from your home's foundation - even if it looks okay.
Don't: Store the Wood Directly on the Ground
You don't necessarily have to invest in an expensive wood storage rack, although they are nice. Do, however, find some way to get the wood up off the bare ground. Wood placed directly on the ground absorbs moisture, causing it to rot and attract insects like termites and carpenter ants.
Stacking the wood on an old pallet is a cheap solution. Keep your stacks less than four feet tall, and place the bark side up to help shield the wood from rain.
Don't: Store Your Wood Indoors
You may have seen pictures on the internet of large stacks of logs in living rooms and dining rooms. But while these stacks may be beautiful, storing firewood indoors is not smart. You may introduce termites and other wood pests to your home, ultimately resulting in an infestation and structural damage.
Unless you want to become best friends with the exterminator, store your firewood outdoors. Only bring in what you are going to burn immediately - or at the most, what you will burn in a day.
Follow the tips above for safe and effective firewood purchasing and storage. If you are looking for properly seasoned, local firewood in the North Atlanta area, contact R & R Tree and Landscaping.