If you burn firewood chances are you're going to come across firewood mold. In fact, a little bit of mold on a stack or a pile of firewood is pretty common.
What causes the mold to grow? Molds are just a natural part of the environment. They play an important role in nature by breaking down dead organic matter like logs, twigs and leaves.
Mold spores are everywhere but they need a few key ingredients to thrive. Dead organic matter (firewood) and oxygen are needed but the most important factor is moisture.
Generally whether we're talking about mold on your firewood or mold in your house, if you control the moisture you will control the mold.
Molds do have the potential to create health concerns especially if you're sensitive to them or have other health problems such as asthma. They can cause itchy and irritated eyes, runny nose and even trigger an asthma attack.
If you burn firewood it's important to store all firewood outdoors until your ready to use it.
This not only keeps the mold spores from entering your home but it also reduces the risk of spiders, ants and other unwanted insects from coming inside as well.
The real problem from moldy firewood occurs when you store it in your basement, garage or other areas attached to your home. As the moldy wood sits, the spores become airborne.
These airborne spores can cause the health concerns listed above or they can spread to other places of your home if the conditions are right.
Store all firewood outside and keep it sheltered from rain and snow by placing it under a roof or other similar structure. Covering firewood with a tarp will also help keep it dry but it's important not to completely cover the stack.
If you completely cover a stack of wood with a tarp it won't allow air to dry the wood and you could be creating a problem with mold, not preventing it.
If you have asthma or are sensitive to mold it's best to avoid moldy firewood. You should also avoid using moldy firewood to cook with or for campfires where you're at an increased risk to inhale the smoke.
For home heating purposes, taking a pice of firewood with a little bit of mold on it and placing it directly into a wood stove, wood furnace or fireplace is acceptable as long as the wood is dry.
Whether or not you should burn or handle moldy firewood ultimately depends on your individual tolerance to mold. Storing firewood inside that contains mold is never recommended.