Can You Burn Moldy Firewood? Is It Safe?
Whether you have a wood-burning stove or a traditional fireplace in which you burn firewood, you will likely come across some moldy firewood at some point. Mold forms naturally and is found on trees that are still growing. It also forms when damp wood is kept in a pile and is not dried out, and it can spread from one piece of wood to others.
While it is possible to burn moldy firewood, and it won’t necessarily cause you any harm to do so, it is best to avoid burning it. The type of mold will determine whether it is safe to burn, and this means that if you don’t know how to identify different types of mold or the condition of the mold, you could suffer from irritated eyes, itchy skin, and potentially even respiratory problems.
Read on to determine whether it is safe to burn moldy firewood, whether you should risk burning the wood you have, and what actions you can take to help reduce the likelihood of your firewood developing mold in the future.
Why Does Mold Form on Firewood
Mold is natural and it forms on trees whether they are alive or dead. Some mold forms on trees even while they are still growing because it provides the perfect growing environment for the spores. Mold needs moisture and some natural organic compound on which to feed. Trees are naturally moist, and wood is a carbon compound that acts as an ideal food source for mold spores.
White and green molds are the most common. They are considered relatively safe, although you should still take appropriate action to remove the mold before burning the wood. This type of wood grows on a lot of trees and can form on firewood when it is in piles.
Purple and black molds, on the other hand, are considered more dangerous and they are more likely to give off toxic fumes if they are burned. If you see any black or purple mold on your firewood, remove the logs from the pile, and dispose of them without burning them.
How to Get Rid of Mold on Firewood
If you do have small amounts of white or green mold on your firewood, it should be possible to easily remove them so that you can burn the wood.
Remove the molded pieces of wood from the pile. Lay them out to dry and leave them until they are completely dry. At this point, it should be possible to brush the mold away with a metal brush. This will leave you with wood that is safe to be burned. If you can’t remove the mold, consider removing that wood completely and do not burn it.
How To Store Firewood to Prevent Mold
While some mold may form before you stack your firewood, a lot of wood mold is formed when firewood is stacked or stored incorrectly, but this can be avoided.
Firstly, avoid stacking the wood indoors. If mold does form, it won’t remain on just the wood pile. It is likely to spread to other beneficial areas like walls and furniture, and you could have a major problem. Choose a dry area that is out of the house. You can place a few logs next to the fire, but only enough that you will use over a day or two.
Once your wood is stacked, cover it with tarpaulin or some other waterproof cover. This will help prevent moisture from getting into the wood and the mold spores from settling.
- See Also: Can You Burn Pokeweed? Is It Safe?
It isn’t uncommon to see firewood with patches of mold, but just because a piece of wood is moldy doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to discard it. If you are in any doubt, it is best to avoid burning that piece, and you should always remove moldy wood from a pile to prevent the spores from spreading and infecting the rest of your wood pile. Be especially careful with wood that has purple or black mold on it, but if you have white or green mold, remove it from the pile, allow it to dry out completely, and then attempt to remove the mold using a stiff brush.
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