Log Homes

Keeping the Cabin Warm

Log home comfortsLog homes can be very energy efficient based on the design and the thermal mass of the logs. Meaning the logs are able to absorb, store, and radiate heat back to the warm side of the building, keeping heating costs low. If you want to learn more about the energy efficiency of log homes check out our last blog post.

There are many different ways to heat your log home or cabin during the winter months. When you’re looking at heating options keep in mind how often you will be visiting your cabin in the winter. This will help you select a heating system that fits your needs and use. In this blog post we will explain the differences between radiant heat, outdoor burners, heat pumps, and fireplaces masonry heaters and stone. They are the most common heating options for log homes and cabins.

Radiant Heating

Radiant heating supplies heat directly to the floor, to panels in the wall, or ceiling of a house. It mostly depends on radiant heat transfer, which is the delivery of heat directly from the hot surface to the people and objects in the room via infrared radiation. When radiant heating is in the floor, it can be called radiant floor heating or floor heating.

Some of the advantages of radiant heating are:

  • More efficient than baseboard heating and usually more efficient than forced-air heating because it eliminates duct losses.
  • People with allergies often prefer radiant heat because it doesn’t distribute allergens like forced air systems can. Hydronic (liquid-based) systems use little electricity, a benefit for homes off the power grid or in areas with high electricity prices.
  • Hydronic systems can use a wide variety of energy sources to heat the liquid, including standard gas- or oil-fired boilers, wood-fired boilers, solar water heaters, or a combination of these sources.

If you want to learn more about radiant heat take a look at this great article from the Department of Energy.

Outdoor Burners

Here there is a furnace located outside, normally 30 to 200 feet or as far as 500 feet away from the home and works with any existing heating system. A water jacket surrounds the furnace firebox and heat exchanger. Heated water is circulated to your cabin through insulated underground pipes. The outdoor furnace is designed to work with any existing heating system. Water-to-air, water-to-water heat exchangers, or direct circulation conveys the heat into the structure’s forced-air furnace or radiant heating system. This allows for normal thermostatic temperature control.

The outdoor furnace can provide heat for all your domestic hot water and has the ability to heat multiple buildings such as a garage, workshop, shed, greenhouse, or barn — without using other heating sources. It can even be used to heat a swimming pool or a hot tub.

Visit the Central Boiler’s website for a great diagram showing how outdoor burners work.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are electrical devices that extract heat from one place and transfers it to another. The heat pump is not a new technology; it has been used in Canada and around the world for decades. Refrigerators and air conditioners are both common examples of this technology. Heat pumps can also be used to control the temperature of your home or cabin all year.

Take a look at this article from Natural Resource Canada on how heat pumps work.

Baseboard Heating

Most people are familiar with this form of heating. They are electrical units that are positioned around the home along the baseboards to provide heat and eliminate heat loss from windows and doors.

This can be a costly way to heat the entire home but it works very well in entrance ways depending on your home’s design.

Fireplaces, Masonry Heaters & Stone

Most log homes or cabins are equipped with some form of wood stove or fire place. They offer aesthetic appeal and low cost heating options, while also improving the value of your home or cabin. Depending on the size and design of your log cabin they could be enough to heat the entire building. Below are some great resources for the design and cost of fireplaces, masonry, and stone:

Contact us or post a comment if you have any questions about heating systems for your log home or cabin, we’d love to have a chat with you.

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  1. Pingback: Are Log Homes Energy Efficient? | EkoBuilt

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