Storing firewood inside is convenient, but is it really a good idea? Keeping your wood out of the rain and snow seems like it would be a no brainer, but there could be hidden dangers. Will the wood dry/season? How do I keep out bugs? Will I run into allergies and other health issues? That leads to the next very important question. Is it safe to keep firewood indoors?
Yes it should be safe to keep properly seasoned firewood indoors. Just check the wood for mold, fungus, and signs of insects and other creepy crawlies. I recommend storing your firewood outside for at least 6 summer months to make sure it’s dry and ready to burn. Wood needs sunlight and a constant breeze to dry in a reasonable amount of time.
So you’ve decided to store a solid chunk of your firewood inside to make building fires easier. Don’t move so fast! Keep reading to find out a few ways to speed up the seasoning process, prevent mold/fungus growth, and reduce the risk of inviting in insects and other pesky critters (rodents, spiders, snakes, etc).
The Safe Way To Store Firewood Indoors
It might not seem like it, but storing firewood indoors is a gamble if you don’t know what you’re doing. You risk bringing in bugs/spiders, attracting rodents (maybe snakes), and introducing mold/fungus stores into your house.
Carpenter ants and termites can cause serious damage to your house and mold/fungal spores can cause serious breathing problems. With that being said, most of those risks can be avoided if you take a few precautions. I’ll give you a brief introduction here, but keep reading lower into this post for more information.
With all that being said, I stored firewood in my basement for years, and I still store a cords in my garage. The convenience of not having to trudge through the snow at 5am before work is worth it as long as you follow these safety precautions.
- Watch For Mold, Fungus and Lichens: Separate firewood that’s covered in mold, fungus, and lichens so you don’t introduce spores into your home. It should be safe to burn this wood as long as you don’t have asthma or serious allergies. Just make sure you limit the time it’s sitting in your house to prevent it from spreading to your walls.
- Take Care of Insects: Do you really want to invite insects into your home? I recommend spraying the wood with a boric acid based insecticide (Zap-A-Roach) at the first sign of an bug/insect infestation. It’s completely non-toxic to humans and pets so it’s completely safe to burn. You can actually eat boric acid, but it tastes nasty.
- Wood Needs To Be Seasoned: This isn’t really a safety issue but your firewood needs to be properly seasoned outside before bringing it into the house. There’s not enough heat in your house to dry out firewood in a timely manner. It will take years to dry firewood inside as opposed to 6 months outside.
It should be safe to store wood indoors as long as you take care of those 3 very basic dangers. I’ll go into more detail on each of these topics below.
Watch Out For Allergies and Asthma
Don’t risk storing wood inside if you have asthma, allergies, or general respiratory issues. It’s not worth risking your health for what amounts to a minor convenience. I recommend storing your firewood at least 30 feet away from the house, but that’s general advice.
You can probably store enough wood for a week or two in the garage without running into problems. Make sure there’s no mold or fungus on it so you don’t end up breathing in spores.
Firewood Won’t Season Inside
Firewood won’t season in a timely manner indoors. Expect it to take at least 3-4 years for your wood to dry inside. That’s a big deal when it only takes 6 months when it’s stored outside. You need that sunlight and a cool breeze to dry out the wood.
Make sure you follow a few basic steps mentioned in the next section to speed up the seasoning process. Getting your wood up off the ground and covering the top is 99% of the battle. You can always bring the wood inside after the seasoning process is over.
Fastest Way to Season Firewood
Seasoning firewood isn’t that complicated once you understand a few basic principles. You need to get the wood up off the ground, cover the top, leave the sides open to allow airflow, and place it in a sunny spot. Your wood will season in no time if you follow all of those steps.
The wood needs at least 6 months of summer sunlight to dry to the optimal 10-15 percent moisture content range. I recommend picking up a cheap wood moisture meter off Amazon if you don’t have one. That eliminates the guess work when trying to determine if the wood is ready to go inside.
I recommend buying/building a small firewood rack, but you can also stack wood on pallets or pressure treated 2x4s (countless other options). Just make sure the wood is up off the ground and the top is covered with something. You can cover the wood with a tarp as long as the sides are exposed.
For years I was building firewood racks from scratch, but I recently started using metal firewood rack brackets that you use with 2x4s to speed up the building process. It takes less than 5 minutes to screw the firewood rack together and you can replace the boards in 5-10 years and it’s like you have a brand new rack.
Toss on a firewood cover or tarp and you’re good to go. I highly recommend the REDCAMP firewood cover if you don’t have a lot of wood that needs covered. We have one of those covers out at my cabin and it’s so much nicer than a tarp. Being able to quickly unzip and grab a piece of wood is so convenient.
Watch Out For Insects
Insects and other pests are by far the biggest danger to storing firewood inside. I don’t care how well you store the firewood, you will end up with insects. Most likely carpenter ants, termites, and spiders.
Do you really want to bring them into your house? Look at the damage a few termites did to a piece of wood in the picture above. That could be the studs in your walls if you’re not careful.
I like to spray my wood pile with Zap-A-Roach Boric Acid Ant and Termite killer a few times throughout the summer. Walk around your wood pile and spray it anywhere you see bugs. Unlike traditional insecticides, boric acid is non-toxic to humans/pets so it’s perfectly safe to burn.
Kill Mold, Fungus and Lichens Before Coming Inside
Wood that’s exposed to water has a tendency to grow mold, fungus and lichens. They feed on the wood’s energy and moisture. You can seriously cut back on growth just by raising the wood off the ground and throwing a cover on it.
Although it’s generally safe to burn fungus/mold I recommend separating the wood and not storing it inside the house. You don’t want spores to be released in your home and end up with moldy/fungus covered baseboards and walls.
You can kill mold by spraying it with bleach and leaving it out in the sun for a few weeks. After that it should be fine to come in the house. Fungus is almost impossible to kill so scrape it off before burning it and that’s about all you can do.