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Everything You Need To Know About Storing Firewood Indoors

I get it.  It’s cold outside and it would be so nice to have a supply of firewood in the house ready to chuck into the fire.  Quick and easy stoking, all without leaving the cozy warmth of your hearth.

My in-laws liked that same idea and that’s why they have a dedicated alcove just for storing firewood indoors.  

However, it didn’t take me long to realize that bringing firewood into the house invites more guests in than you might want.  I’m talking about the small crawling and flying guests here… insects.  

So, can you really store firewood inside your home or garage?  Firewood should never be stored in your home or garage.  Insects like termites, ants, spiders and even dormant wasps often inhabit dried wood.  These uninvited guests are a nuisance and can cause damage to your home or harm you and your family members.  Indoor wood piles also attract rodents when stored for long periods.

In other words, keep the firewood outside.  But, like everything else in life, one answer won’t suit everyone.  That’s why you should stick around and I’ll show you ways to keep firewood handy without the hassle of pests.

How do you store firewood inside

Nobody wants to run outside into the cold every time a log needs to be added to the fire.  Hence, the idea of storing some firewood in the house.  But as I said earlier, storing firewood inside has some unintended consequences.  

Improperly stored firewood makes the perfect home for a whole host of insect species.  Among the most damaging are termites and carpenter ants.  In most cases, insects brought into your home on firewood are just a nuisance.  Major infestations are rare but still a possibility and something you should avoid.  

While the best practice is to simply avoid storing any wood in your home, most of us still need to have a convenient supply ready to stoke the fire.  Luckily, there are a few things you can do to limit an insect invasion and have enough firewood in the house to keep warm for the day. 

Here are the steps you should take if you plan on keeping some firewood indoors.

  • Only bring properly stored, dry firewood into your home.  Wet wood that has been laying in direct contact with the ground is more prone to insect infestations.  Clean, dry wood that is locally sourced will give you fewer problems.
  • Inspect your wood and remove surface pests by brushing away debris or knock a couple pieces together to shake off stubborn bugs.
  • Limit the amount of fire wood you bring in the house.  Enough for 1 or 2 days of burning, max.  It doesn’t take long for burrowing insects to emerge from logs so don’t bring in more than what you can burn in a short amount of time.
  • Keep a vacuum handy.  If you see bugs creeping around firewood in your house, suck them up right away.  A small dust buster is perfect for this task.  You can even put the kids on guard duty while everyone enjoys the fire.
  • Don’t spray your firewood with chemical insect repellents.  This can release harmful fumes when burned.
  • Use a small wood or metal rack to keep wood off your floor.  Keep it away from the walls.  Better yet, store the wood in a solid box or bin to help contain any insects that do emerge or fall off.  They won’t immediately start crawling across the floor.
  • Do not store wood inside when you are not using your fireplace.

Can I store firewood in the garage

A garage seems like a reasonable place to stack a row or two of firewood.  After all, it’s dry and easy to access during the winter.  Yet, the same problem still persists.  Insects can still make their way into your home or infest the structure of your garage.  Plus, rodents are more likely to gain access to your garage and seek shelter in the pile of wood you have stored there.  Now they are one step closer to entering your home.  

Just like I said before, if you really must bring wood into your house or garage, limit the amount to what you can burn in a 24-48 hour period.  

What if you have a detached garage?  Honestly, the same rules apply.  Storing any firewood indoors invites pests to take up residence and wreck havoc on the structure of your building.  Sure, insects won’t have a direct route into your home from a detached garage.  However, there is still plenty of expensive damage that can be done in a separate garage.  

Whether it’s ants making a home in the walls or rodents chewing up other items stored there, a wood pile in a garage is still a potential source of headaches for any home owner.

Do yourself a favor and keep the wood outside, away from your house and garage.

What about storing wood next to the house

Now that we dispelled any notion of storing a large amount of wood inside your home or garage, let’s tackle the issue of storing wood next to your house.

Done incorrectly, storing wood next to your house can prove just as disastrous.  Certainly, pest infested wood against the outside of your house might not result in crawling things invading your living room.  But a wood pile against your house is still very likely to cause major damage in the long run to your home’s structure.

This is especially true if the wood next to your house is damp and/or in direct contact with the ground.  Both carpenter ants and termites love burrowing into wet, spongy firewood to build their nests, reproduce and feed.  By placing a suitable termite or ant habitat in close proximity to your own abode, you essentially give these pesky fellows free license to feast among your siding, foundations and walls.  

Damp wood placed directly against your siding also prevents adequate air flow which can lead to mildew and molding.  And if not caught in a timely manner, can lead to major structural damage. 

Any firewood you are storing next to your house needs to be a minimum of 5 feet away.  Some pest control experts even recommend 20 feet of clearance between your firewood pile and any structures to avoid infestations. 

In addition, you can greatly reduce the number of insects by stacking wood off the ground and protect it from rain.  Try using 2×4 lumber as a wood stacking platform and use quality tarps or heavy visqueen sheeting to cover the top of your wood pile.  Just don’t completely cover your wood stack all the way to the ground.  Some air flow is essential to let the wood breathe and properly dry.

Is it okay to store firewood in a shed

No firewood in the house, in the garage or within 5 feet of the outside of the house…  so where is a good place to store and cure firewood?  

One of the best places to store firewood is in a woodshed.  As long as it has an open design for optimal breathability, a shed is a great spot to keep your bounty of wood.  

Keep in mind that storing unseasoned wood in a fully enclosed shed will hinder the curing process and probably increase the likelihood that insects and rodents will move in.  Let firewood season for at least 6 months in a covered and well ventilated area until completely dry.  

Fully dried wood that is elevated off the ground can be stored completely covered or in an enclosed shed.  

How to store firewood to avoid termites

Among the most bothersome pests for collectors of firewood are termites.  They are mostly harmless unless you store your firewood in such a way that makes your home vulnerable to them.  

Termites feed on wood but their main nesting colonies, along with the queen, are actually buried beneath the soil.  It’s the worker termites that make their way into your firewood.  With that said, bringing in a few hitchhikers on your firewood probably won’t start an infestation in your home since the queen was left behind.  All the same, I’m sure you would rather not have any uninvited guests inside.

The best defense against termites is prevention.  Wet firewood laying on the ground creates a homey balance of food, shelter and water.  By storing firewood properly, you’ll discourage termite colonies from taking up residence in the first place.  

Start by keeping your firewood elevated off the ground and out of contact with soil.  Either use a rack designed for stacking firewood, concrete pavers or as a last resort, wood planking.  The goal is to not have your firewood in contact with any dirt.

The next step is to keep your wood dry.  Cover it with a tarp or store it in a woodshed.  Wet wood is edible wood for hungry termites.

If some of your firewood is already infested, dispose of it and properly stack the remaining wood as described above.  Resist the urge to chemically treat termite infested wood.  Especially, if you plan to burn it indoors.  

Parting words

There is something cozy about a stack of wood piled next to the fire.  Yet as you now know, you aren’t the only one getting cozy next to the fire.  Insects can be a major problem once inside your house.  Don’t give them an invitation by storing firewood indoors.  

Hopefully, you have found this guide helpful and are now more likely to find a better place to store your firewood.