How to Pick and Store the Best Firewood

Lacey Nix
Written by Lacey Nix
Updated January 16, 2014
pile of firewood
Store wood in a place with good air circulation, and be sure to cover it when it rains or snows. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Brad. F of Indianapolis)

Wondering how to pick and store firewood that burns clean and well? Check out these tips on selecting and storing firewood.

Burning bad firewood is like lighting a smoke bomb right in your living room - you don’t want to do it.

Wet or green firewood is difficult to ignite, and burning it creates excessive smoke, bad odors and creosote buildup, which can cause a chimney fire.

Selecting the best, well-seasoned firewood and properly storing it makes all the difference in creating the perfect fire.

What to look for when buying firewood

Most store-bought firewood comes seasoned, which means it was cut, chopped and treated to reduce natural moisture. The edges of well-seasoned, ready-to-burn wood typically appear dark with cracks and splits visible in the wood. Good wood is light weight and makes a clunk sound when two pieces are hit together.

Water makes up almost 50 percent of wet firewood, so avoid freshly-cut wood, which might appear green. The edges look fresh and smooth, with little to no cracks or splits visible. Green wood feels heavier and makes a thud sound when hit with another piece of similar wood.

Storing firewood

If cutting firewood yourself, try to cut six months prior to using it, which gives the wood time to dry. Store the wood off the ground and protect it from water absorption. Never leave it exposed in the rain or snow, but try not to leave a cover over it constantly because air circulation is an important process in drying the wood. If you have an outdoor firepit, make sure to store the wood out of reach of flying embers.

For more information, check out the Angie's List Guide to Firewood.