Probably a really stupid question but I have to ask..
Ive been told that hay can catch on fire during the summer. When we bought the house and land there was already a barn built and its RIGHT beside the house. I stored my last bale outside and it went moldy pretty quick, I lost 75% of it. ( it was on top of two pallets, with a pallet on top and a tarp). Its really humid here. With it being winter is it safe for me to store it in the barn? Or is the fire hazard still present? I also put flakes in there daily.
I store all my hay in the barn. If you buy hay that's been properly cut, dried, tettered and baled, there really isn't much chance of spontaneous combustion.
Make sure to stack it properly, and leave room on the sides and top to promote good air flow. That will help keep it safe to store indoors, as well as make sure it doesn't mildew.
I buy 60-100 bales at a time, and I can't afford to lose any of it to rot or mildew.
My barn is no more than 50 feet behind the house, and I've never worried about my hay catching fire.
Oh! That makes me feel better. The barn doesnt even have a foot between it and the house :S
Wow, that IS close! I thought my barn was right on top of the house, but not like yours!
We always salt our hay as well.
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Note for storing hay....if you have it stacked high and close to the rafters, be very careful that is not near any lighting fixtures....I saw a whole 12 stall barn burn down because they stored hay in an empty stall and forgot to take the light bulb out....they left the lights on one night, the bulb in the hay stall was touching the hay, ignited it....all was lost....thankfully their horses were turned out for the night....
Spontaneous combustion is really scary. I had a house fire years ago because it was hot and dry (summer in Maryland), and the mulch outside the laundry room was touching the sill plate. The heat from the dryer got it going. I smeeled smoke all day...thought the neighbors were barbequeing......come 1 am, I realized something was wrong. We got out just in time. I woke up, came downstairs and smoke was coming out of the outlets. Within minutes it went up. I am totally paranoid by the smell of smoke now, super vigilant and careful. Hay storage is scary to me, but done right it is fine.
Personally, I would have both kinds of smoke alarms (there are 2 kinds that sense different things) at the peak of the storage area.
For added safety, you could periodic checks of your stack assuming you have enough room in the barn to work around the stack (stacked as Speed Racer suggested). It wouldn't take long and it would entail sticking your hand/arm in random places where you can reach to feel for heat.
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