White mold on white birch firewood
by Robin Young
(Edmonton, Alberta Canada)
Mold on Firewood
We just bought 1 1/2 cords of supposedly dry, seasoned birch. Now, about 4 days after stacking it in the garage we noticed there is a white mold growing on the cut ends of a lot of the rounds. Is this a problem? I noticed the wood felt kind of damp when we were loading it in, but attributed that to the fact that we have had a pretty wet summer here in Edmonton, Alberta.
Excellent question. To some degree mold is a reality when using firewood. However, storing a large amount of moldy firewood indoors is never recommended.
Mold needs four things to grow: nutrients(such as firewood), oxygen, proper temperature and moisture. This makes wet firewood an ideal spot for mold to grow. If the mold was not present until 4 days after you stacked it, the mold spores that were already in your garage or surrounding area found a perfect spot to grow. Don't worry though, the reality is that mold is everywhere and is just looking for a place to live.
Depending on your other storage options, I would consider moving the firewood to another location that is outdoors. After consulting with the US Center for Disease Control, they agreed that storing that much firewood with mold indoors is probably not the best idea- especially if you have asthma or any sort of allergies to mold.
The possible health problems that arise from mold vary with each individual person. People with compromised immune systems and asthma are more likely to be affected by mold spores. Normal healthy adults are less likely to have any adverse effects from the presence of mold. Studies have shown that long-term exposure (many years) to mold can actually cause asthma in some people.
My recommendation is to move the firewood to an outdoor location if that is at all feasible. If not, there are no serious health risks other than what I mentioned above. It really comes down to whether or not you want to deal with having mold in your garage.
I hope this helps!
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