Can Firewood Be Too Old To Burn?

Have you ever wondered if your leftover firewood has gone bad or not? A lot of people get anxious while dealing with firewood which has been seasoned for quite some time. Let’s take a look at whether you can use older firewood and how to know if they have gone bad or not.

If properly seasoned firewood has been stored carefully, protecting them from outside elements and moisture, then firewood can last for years, in some cases even up to a decade.

can you burn old firewood

Does Firewood Go Bad?

If you are dealing with properly seasoned firewood, then as long as the logs have been stored properly, they can last for a really long time, in some cases even up to a decade. On the other hand, unseasoned firewood is much more likely to decompose or rot if not stored carefully. This is due to their higher moisture content.

With seasoned firewood, you need to make sure it is protected from moisture like rain, snow, frost, or even high humidity while ensuring a healthy supply of light and airflow.

The only thing which will make the firewood go bad in this condition is natural degradation or rot which will take a really long time. The key to long-lasting firewood is to protect the wood from moisture, any contact with moisture will lead to mold or fungus formation which will only lead to faster degradation.

It is very rare for firewood to become too dry under normal conditions, and I have an article about it here.

How To Prolong Firewood’s Life?

The most effective and easiest method to prolong firewood’s life is through proper storage.

A lot of people mismanage their seasoned firewood which leads to fungus and rot. The best way to store seasoned firewood is by putting them in proper firewood racks which can protect them from the ground’s moisture, and ensure plenty of sunlight and good ventilation.

If you are keeping your firewood outside then make sure that there is at least 6” worth of gap between the ground and the firewood, if you live in a damp area, you can also cover the stack with a tarp.

Another good practice is to make sure that the wood rack does not come in contact with grass or any other growing organic life. Even if the firewood is stored in a good, well-ventilated area, grass can start to trap moisture on the surface of the logs. In turn, this will slowly start the degrading process.

Do not store the firewood indoors or in areas that already have mold formation or if they are in a damp and dark place, for example, the basement.

How To Know If Firewood Has Gone Bad?

What if your firewood has been around for a really long time, what is the correct way to recognize whether it has gone bad or not? The simplest tell of rotting firewood is by touching and smelling the logs, if the outside layers of the log are turning soft, it can be an early tell of rotting wood.

Along with this, if the wood starts smelling damp or musty, or moldy, there is a good chance that there might be fungus or mold infestation or that the firewood has started to rot.

The outer layers of the log pieces will also turn darker in color and start to crumble when you press or rub them.

Knowing the species of the firewood will also help in determining whether it has gone bad or not. different species rot at different rates, some might only survive for a few years while others can be preserved for decades. For example, alder is prone to rotting, whereas honey locust is really rot-resistant firewood.

You can also check the moisture levels of your firewood using a moisture meter to find out if it can still be used. If the moisture levels are above 20% then it indicates that the firewood is not fit to burn.

What To Do If Your Firewood Has Gone Bad?

If your firewood is not in a good condition to burn, there are a few things that you can do.

If the firewood is only slightly bad, for example, if there are small amounts of mold on it or if the firewood has come in contact with moisture, then there might be a chance that you can salvage it.

Keep the affected firewood in sunlight and make sure there is no further moisture contact. In a few weeks, the firewood should dry completely and most of the mold should also disappear. In this case, you can use the firewood again without any worries.

If the firewood has small amounts of moisture or mold, you can still use them along with healthy seasoned firewood.

On the other hand, if the firewood has rotten beyond repair or if there is a severe pest infestation, then you should probably discard the firewood. Before discarding the firewood, contact your nearest garbage disposal service so that they can take care of it properly.

Discarding rotten firewood can spread the rot to other trees and plants nearby which is why it is important to properly get rid of them.

How Long Does Firewood Last?

Although the lifespan of firewood varies depending on the conditions they have been stored in, the climate of the region you live in, and the species of the tree. But on average, you can expect firewood to be perfectly fine for up to 4 years.


Properly seasoned firewood can survive for a long time if kept and stored properly. If exposed to moisture and damp conditions, the firewood can be infested with fungus, mold, or simply accelerate the natural rotting process. if the wood pieces start smelling damp, and feel soft and crumbly while touching, then it might be early signs of rotting.

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