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The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › Wood storage question

Wood storage question

A former member
Post #: 4
When I built my new home this year, I put in a wood burning stove with the intention of using less fossil fuel. That may sound like no big deal to most of you, but ..... I have ZERO experience with wood burning stoves, so this is a totally new adventure for me. I have 2-3 cords of wood from the clearing of my building site, with a little more that's soon to be delivered. My question is this: am I asking for trouble if I store the majority of it in my garage, which is part of the basement of my home? Believe me, I've been asking people and it's split right down the middle. Some say I'd be nuts to keep it outside when I could have it handy (and dry) in my garage. Others tell me that I'd bring all sorts of stuff (from salamanders to carpenter ants to spores) into my home this way. (The garage was built to code, though, so while it's part of the house, it's also somewhat "tight.") I *want* the garage idea to work because I have the space and it would be convenient. However, I don't want to make a decision that could make an unhealthy/undesirable living space for me. I would also add that the garage is very moist/humid at this time of year and I might need to run at least a fan if not a dehumidifier (using, of course, electricity).

Perhaps I've just opened up an age-old can o' worms, but keep in mind.....I just moved from Iowa three years ago and still know very little about Maine's worms:-)

Many thanks for any thoughts you might offer!

Merry Kahn
A former member
Post #: 2
Hi Merry,

We keep a week or two of wood in our garage all winter and have had no problems. I think it's mostly common sense - just watch for pieces of wood that seem infested (if it's split you'll find any nests that might be in rotted heartwood of larger trees); watch for bugs; if you find them, then just treat the problem (ants hate diatomaceous earth, for example...). Make sure the wood is relatively clean and dry before you stack it indoors.

Store the wood up off the floor - perhaps on pallets, which can usually be found for free - so you can see what's going on underneath the pile. This will also help it continue to cure. Store the wood away from other wood, especially framing lumber (wall studs, etc). Think about 'what is close to my woodpile that would attract pests?'

With a concrete floor and up to date sill sealing techniques, as are code specs today, you should be fine, in terms of keeping any wood living insects out of the house. A few always come into our great room when we stack a few days wood on the hearth, but they're easily controlled.

I build green homes for a living, and we're at least Energy Star certified on every home; we build to LEED gold standards. But, bugs can get into any house - screens, doors, etc let in smaller bugs that then get bigger. Problems like carpenter ants should only accrue to spots where there are already issues (wet areas behind siding are their favorite, for example). Properly constructed wall packages do not encourage such problems.

Then again, remember the second law of thermodynamics - entropy happens! But hopefully not from your woodpile.

Good luck!

Bob
A former member
Post #: 5
Hi Bob,

Thanks for the very thorough reply, Bob! The people who have been advising me to keep my wood in the garage are suggesting that I keep 2 to 3 cords in there. Would you advise against that?

Merry
Penelope
user 5846522
Portland, ME
Post #: 68
Merry; I am by no means an expert, but this is what I have learned. I have been heating with wood as a main source or supplemental source of heat off and on since the 70's. In the 70's when wood was my only source of heat I carried wood inside every 3-4 days. Then the wood pile remained just outside the door stacked under against the house and covered by plastic. Now that I am older I make it a priority to have wood more assessable. Currently I store perhaps 1/4 cord of wood in my garage. As winter approaches I also have some stored next to the wood stove.

Before I bring wood that has been stored outside for a couple of years which is the case now, I find it necessary to power wash it before it is dried and stored in the garage because as you note a wood pile is home for insects.

Thus far I have not had a major infestation from wood. I will say that no matter how long or short wood has been cured you will find a certain amount of spiders, ants, and others. I am at a point in my life where I need to make wood heating "somewhat easy" and do not want to be digging wood out of a snow pile in January or February therefore I powerwash, dry, and store wood for severe cold snaps and emergencies.

Heating with wood is so warm but there is nothing easy or "clean" about it.
Ted M.
TedMarkow
Brunswick, ME
Post #: 96
Merry,

I also store wood in my attached garage, with no problem (knock on wood). As Bob mentioned, just check for signs of trouble insects like carpenter ants.

Usually, by the end of the heating season, I have a few sticks left in the garage and will move them outside. No sense in courting trouble.

As Penny said, there is nothing easy or clean about heating with wood, but it is the nicest heat going.
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