If you’re someone who enjoys going outside and having bonfires, then you likely try to keep firewood in stock. Some people gather their own firewood and chop it up, but others will buy logs to use for their fires.
No matter what, it’s going to be important to put the firewood someplace safe. If you leave firewood in a bad spot, then you’ll run the risk of having it get moldy.
If you’re still a bit new to having firewood on your property, then you might not know much about mold yet. Not knowing what to look out for and how to store firewood might make it tougher for you to get good results.
Read on to learn everything that you need to know about mold on firewood. This should help you to have a much better experience when storing your firewood.
A Little Bit of Mold Isn’t an Uncommon Sight
When you’re stacking firewood outdoors, it’s actually not going to be unusual to come across mold. You might sometimes see that there is a small amount of mold growing on the firewood.
This is a natural thing to see in nature and the mold is actually part of a natural process. The mold helps to break the logs down, and there’s nothing abnormal about seeing mold on firewood that is being stored outdoors.
Generally, mold is going to be more likely to form on firewood when the firewood is exposed to moisture. Mold needs dead organic matter, oxygen, and moisture to be able to form.
This means that if your logs are exposed to moisture, they’re going to be much more likely to become moldy over time. This is just how things work and you’ll need to plan how to store your firewood accordingly.
Mold being a fairly common sight outside doesn’t mean that it’s safe for you to use moldy firewood. Keep reading to learn about what you should do with moldy logs.
Burning Moldy Logs Is a Bad Idea
The next thing to understand is that burning moldy logs will be a bad idea. It’s going to be disappointing if you go out to your wood pile and find that all of the logs are moldy.
You might be tempted to just burn a log if it only has a little mold on it, but this is not a wise idea. You see, burning a moldy log could wind up having health consequences for you or your family.
Mold is particularly dangerous to those who have respiratory issues such as asthma. There are also people who have mold allergies that could be negatively impacted if the mold spores were to be spread through the air.
The act of burning the mold is going to disperse mold through the air and people will be breathing it in. Generally, when you’re having a bonfire or building a fire in your fireplace people are going to be sitting nearby.
You’ll be breathing in the moldy air and it’s not going to be good for you. Even if you don’t have asthma or allergies, it’s going to be bad for you.
This is something that could make you sick and it just isn’t wise for you to burn moldy logs. Always pay attention to the condition of the firewood before you choose to place it in a fire.
Never Cook with Moldy Firewood
As you might expect, using moldy firewood for cooking is something that could be very bad for you. When you’re cooking something over an open fire, it’s going to be important to use firewood that is as pure as possible.
Basically, you don’t want any mold spores getting into the food that you’re cooking. You could be making some type of stew and wind up getting a bunch of mold spores in it.
This is going to be very bad for you and eating the food could wind up making you sick. You want to have a good experience when cooking outdoors like this, and this means that you need to avoid using logs that have mold on them.
Never consider using a log for a fire even if it is just a little moldy when you’re cooking. The results could be horrible and you don’t want to be responsible for making someone else get sick.
It would be better to go find more firewood or go out to buy firewood than it would to risk using the moldy firewood. It might seem like an inconvenience at the time, but you’re going to be better off in the long run.
Some People Do Choose to Use Logs That Only Have Small Amounts of Mold
Now that you know how dangerous mold can be, you’re likely not going to want to use logs that have any mold. For the most part, the best course of action is going to be to dispose of logs that have mold on them.
However, there are some people that will choose to use firewood when it only has small traces of mold present. If you know that you aren’t allergic to mold and you don’t have asthma, then this is your call to make.
Just remember that mold can still be very harmful in certain ways. Just because you aren’t particularly at risk when exposed to mold doesn’t mean that burning moldy firewood is a good idea.
That being said, there are people who say that it’s relatively okay to do. Just take that with a grain of salt and consider erring on the side of caution by disposing the logs even when they have just a little mold.
If you have access to logs that aren’t moldy whatsoever, then you should definitely use those logs. Usually, there isn’t going to be a reason to consider using a moldy log for your fire, but you can make your own decisions.
Store Your Firewood Properly
Storing your firewood properly is going to be important when you’re trying to keep things safe. If you store your firewood in a bad spot, then it’s going to get moldy very easily.
Of course, most people store firewood outside because that’s the most convenient and obvious thing to do. However, it’s also pretty obvious that leaving firewood out in the open is a good way to expose it to moisture.
If you have the idea of moving the firewood inside, then you’ll need to be careful about how you approach things. Storing firewood somewhere in your home might not be the best idea for several reasons.
Most of the time, people only have room to store firewood in their basements. Basements are well-known for being damp, and that means that the firewood will be exposed to moisture and will likely become moldy.
Bringing firewood inside your house opens up the possibility of bringing mold inside your house. It can wind up backfiring on you in spectacular fashion if you aren’t careful.
It actually isn’t bad to store firewood outside when you take certain precautions. You just need to find a way to protect the firewood from moisture so that you can keep using it.
Consider Using a Tarp
Using a tarp to cover your firewood will help to keep everything protected from the rain. It’ll even do a pretty good job of keeping snow off of the firewood.
You shouldn’t cover the entire stack of firewood with a tarp, though. If you cover the firewood with a tarp on all sides then it won’t have any ventilation and will likely dry out really fast.
This could actually create an environment where it is easier for mold to grow on the logs. Sadly, this would be the opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish and you’ll need to approach things more carefully.
The best thing to do is to just place a tarp over the top of your firewood. If you want to get really good results, then you should elevate the firewood off of the ground as well.
This will help to keep the firewood that is at the lowest level from getting moist when it rains or snows. Overall, using a tarp and placing your firewood on some type of elevated platform is a solid idea.
Build a Firewood Shed
An even better solution is to simply build a firewood shed where you can safely store your firewood. This will give you a great spot where you can place your firewood and keep it safe from the elements.
A firewood shed just needs to have a roof and it needs to be up off of the ground. You could build something like this using wooden pallets if you’d like to, but you could also build something that is more aesthetically pleasing out of boards that you purchase from a retail store.
It is a good idea to allow wind to circulate under the firewood, though, because this can keep the wood from drying up. As you remember from earlier, firewood getting too dry can make it easier for it to become moldy.
Try to build a firewood shed that is large enough to hold a lot of firewood for your convenience. Many people have built sheds like this that are large enough to hold enough firewood to last the whole year.
It’s also fairly inexpensive to get pallets and build a simple firewood shed. You don’t need to be a master carpenter to pull this off since the design is fairly simple, and it could be an ideal solution to your problem.
Avoid Putting Firewood in Your Garage
You might have the idea to put your firewood in your garage instead of bothering to build a firewood shed. This might not be the best course of action for a few reasons.
The firewood is going to attract certain pests that you won’t want coming into your home. Many people have garages that are either very close to their homes or even connected to the main house.
You could wind up having pest problems if you choose to store firewood in your garage or in another structure that is too close to your home. This is why it’s generally recommended to store firewood outside and keep it at least 30 feet away from your home to be safe.
You’ll also find that there isn’t a lot of airflow in a garage. If your wood is a little wet, then it’ll take too long to dry in the garage, and that means that mold could grow.
It isn’t impossible to store firewood in a garage, but it just isn’t ideal when you get down to it. The best solution is to keep the firewood outdoors and build a firewood shed that has proper airflow.
Now that you know more about firewood and mold, it’s going to be easier to understand what you should be doing. Mold is something that can be particularly dangerous and you really don’t want to breathe mold in.
People who have asthma are going to be especially at risk when exposed to mold. There are also many people out there who are allergic to mold and will have issues when breathing in even small amounts of mold.
When you place moldy logs in a fire, it’s going to allow mold spores to spread. This is not good, and that’s why you should try to never use moldy firewood.
It’s generally better to just get rid of moldy firewood for your own safety. You’ll just want to endeavor to store your firewood properly to try to prevent it from getting moldy in the future.
This isn’t always easy to do, but you can take steps to make your firewood much less likely to get moldy. Even just placing a tarp over the firewood can do a good job of protecting it from the mold.
If you want to make things even better, you can place the firewood on a raised platform to keep it from being exposed to ground moisture. Some people go as far as creating firewood sheds that have proper airflow to keep the firewood from drying out.
You have options and you should figure out what you want to do based on what is most practical in your situation. Just be careful when storing firewood and you should have far fewer mold issues moving forward.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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