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Can You Store Firewood in a Basement?

can you store firewood in a basement

When winter begins setting in, it’s a tempting idea to bring your firewood inside.  Who wants to drudge cords of lumber in freezing temperatures?  Plus, the basement seems like the perfect place due to its warmth and convenience. 

Many experienced fire keepers will tell you that you shouldn’t store your firewood in the basement, but can you? The answer is yes, but, if you are smart about it and know what you’re doing, there are certain situations where it will be okay to do so.

For those new to the process of cutting, seasoning, storing and burning firewood, avoid storing it inside your home.  As a matter of fact, don’t keep the pile anywhere near your home.  Until you are more comfortable and familiar with it, stay on the safe side.

Is It Safe to Store Firewood in the Basement?

Professional exterminators and other experts will tell you not to use your basement for firewood storage.  This is technically the correct mindset.  Because of wood’s moist nature, it attracts all kinds of critters like mice, rats, a variety of bugs and termites.  That said, there is a safe way to store the firewood inside without risk of pests, mold build up and other potential hazards. 

Also, basements are not always the driest, ventilated places.  There are often unseen moisture problems in the cement that can be disastrous to already seasoned or rotting wood. 

But, there are a few situations where it shouldn’t be too bad to store the wood in your basement.  If you recently repaired your basement or you’ve gone to great lengths to make it habitable, then storing wood there should be fine.

Storing Firewood in a Basement

In the event you’re determined to store wood in the basement, there are a few things you can do.  Your main focus here is to ensure there aren’t any problems with pests and rot. 

Will Humidity Affect Firewood in the Basement?

To be sure your basement has the proper level of relative humidity, get a hygrometer.  Anything less than 65% will be suitable for storing wood in the basement.  You will want to check this level periodically to ensure the moisture content stays at a desirable level while storing the wood down there.

Which Logs Are Best to Store Inside a Basement?

Firewood that you know has had several good frosts over the winter can come insidoors.  This will ensure there won’t be any bugs living in the pulp or pile of the wood.

Store only seasoned wood in the basement.  Check the wood by using a moisture meter to measure the water content.  You should have a reading of 20% or less (less is better).

Make sure you inspect each piece of firewood for mold, mildew, fungus and general rot.  Any signs of these means there could be bugs nestled inside the wood itself.  Always leave rotting wood outside, don’t bring it indoors.

Where Do You Put Firewood Once It’s in the Basement?

Create an area desinated solely for firewood with adequate ventilation.  This will allow for plenty of air circulation to make its way through the pile.  The area should also be somewhere that’s warm or with heat nearby and kept off the floor.

What Structures Are Best For Storing Firewood in the Basement?

Rolling racks, shelving, a copper tub or spaces between wall studs make suitable structures for firewood.  Get a rubber mat if you have to so the wood won’t damage any sealants or finishes and that it won’t touch any walls.  Don’t pack wood tightly together.

The easiest way to store your firewood is with a firewood log rack like this one by Woodhaven. Its structural integrity is very sound, and will keep your firewood off of the ground. It also comes with its own cover that will cover the top 12″ of your firewood.

Are There Ways to Control Moisture in the Basement With Firewood Stored There?

Additionally, once you have all the wood in for the first time, use your hygrometer again to measure the moisture content in the air.  If it’s changed in any drastic way and there’s an increase above 65%, you are going to have to take steps to keep the wood dry and well seasoned.

A dehumidifier, fan and/or electric heater will be effective in helping to control environmental humidity.  But such an operation can get quite expensive.  When all else fails, you’ll have to either reduce the size of the pile inside or put it all back outside. 

Where Else Can You Store Firewood?

The best place to store firewood, once well-seasoned, is outside in a wood shed or some outdoor structure.  This is the safest and surest way to have firewood when you need it without the risk of tracking in unwanted pests and other problems.

It’s advisable to keep it at least four to five feet away from any structures; this includes your home, tool shed, garage, kid’s jungle gym and etc.  Do not store unseasoned firewood in any enclosed space. 

Wood that’s in the process of seasoning should be in a separate pile set clear off the ground with a covering.  Stack the wood in such a way as to allow as much wind and airflow at the pile as possible.

Final Thoughts

To review, it’s of the utmost importance that you always be safe when storing firewood.  If you’re new to the game, always keep your wood outside.  Until you understand more about firewood and what areas are suitable for storing it, it’s best to err on the side of caution.

More experienced fire keepers can store firewood in the basement.  But, there are things to stay on top of in order to do this right.  The humidity of the area has to be at 65% or lower, the wood’s moisture content should be 20% or less, the pile has to stay off the ground and the space should have good airflow. 

Also, the wood should be fully dry and free of mold, fungus, bacteria and mildew.  If you take the necessary steps to keep the basement and wood free of moisture and humidity, it will be fine to keep wood there.  When in doubt, leave the wood outside so as not to incur additional, unwanted problems like pests.

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