When you chose to build a log home, you probably had visions of living off the grid, or at least of creating the illusion of a rustic rural homestead. So, you may not be interested in putting a modern electric combination heating and air conditioning unit or gas furnace in your new log home. However, you still have to heat the house somehow if you want to stay comfortable in the winter. If you're used to electric or gas appliances, you may not realize that there are many great heating options that are more in keeping with the spirit of a log home. Check out three of the best heating options available for log cabin owners
Sure, radiant heat is a modern invention, but once it's installed, it's mostly invisible. There won't be any blowers, vents, or compressors to shatter the illusion that you're in an old-fashioned log home, but you'll still have all of the comforts of modern home heating. Aesthetically, radiant heating is the ideal choice for a log home if you simply don't want to have to see or hear the heater. Radiant heating is installed underneath the floor. Tubes or heating elements carry and transfer heat to the floor through infrared radiation, and because heat rises, the heat coming from the floor gently heats the rest of the room.
Because radiant heating systems can't lose heat through flues, chimneys, or air ducts the way that most other heating systems do, they're also more efficient than many heating systems. The Residential Energy Services Network reports that radiant heating systems are about 15% more efficient than conventional radiators. Radiant heat may also help your log home's wooden interior surfaces stay cleaner, as there are no air blowers to spread dust, pollen, and dander around the rooms.
If you're not satisfied with only the illusion of rustic log cabin living and you really want to stay off-grid, you might want to consider a wood-burning stove for your log cabin. This versatile appliance can be used for both home heating, water heating, and cooking, and it will look legitimately at home in a log cabin. Many modern wood-burning stoves aren't substantially different from the ones your ancestors might have used when living in log homes was common.
Your stove will have a reservoir with a tap for heating and storing water, a stovetop for cooking, and a firebox that can be used to bake or just burn wood to heat the home. Some stoves can burn either wood or peat, so you can choose which is most affordable and convenient for you. You'll also have to have a chimney or flue to vent smoke and fumes. A good-sized wood-burning stove should be able to provide adequate heat for a one story log cabin of average size, although you may need to consider additional heat sources if your log home is especially large or has more than one story.
If your object is to live off the land, why not consider drawing your heat from the land as well? While geothermal heaters are most definitely a modern machine, they're also the ultimate in green heating and will definitely fit in your log home if your object is self-sufficiency. Rather than burning fuel or relying on electricity to create heat, geothermal heaters draw heat from underneath the earth and use it to heat your home and your water. During hot months, they can also be used to cool the home as well.
Geothermal heat pumps are low-maintenance, which is handy if your log home is located off the beaten path where it's difficult to get quick appliance repairs. Using geothermal heat reduces your dependence on fossil fuels or electricity, which can save you a significant amount of money in the long run. And you may even qualify for a tax credit, which can help offset the rather pricey installation.
Choosing and installing a heating system is a big decision that calls for expert advice. A heating contractor in your area can help you assess your log home heating needs and determine which heating system is right for you.
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