Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Building a Log Home, chapter 22


How do you heat a log home efficiently and quietly? Answer: with in-floor heating. Sure, you can have ductwork and forced air heating . . . and blow dust around your house and never be as comfortable as you would be with in-floor, steady, radiant heat. We love it!

We knew we’d never afford to get the gas company to lay a line up our half-mile driveway, not to mention that there weren’t any lines on our road anyway. It was going to have to be propane. We experienced the warm feet joy standing on an exhibit at a log home expo. We did some research and made the best decision ever to go with radiant floor heating. My husband helped the professionals lay the tubing throughout the first floor. A second crew of guys covered the floor with gypcrete (Gypsum concrete) as you can see in the picture. We also put the system in the basement, but not the second floor. The second floor is comfortable and warm on its own because of the open concept of the house design. We expected to add electric heaters to the upstairs bedroom, but it hasn’t been necessary.

There are specific zones so we can keep different areas of the basement and the first floor at certain temperatures. Cooler in the bedroom, for example. We set the thermostats when we turn the heat on around the end of autumn and that’s it until spring. I used to get cold in my former home even with the temperature set at 72. Now I’m happy at 67 degrees because the radiant heat is constant and my feet are always warm. Another benefit is that because of the gypcrete the floors are sturdier, without squeaks, and there is a natural sound-proofing.

It takes a few hours, though, for the system to catch up if there’s a sudden cold front and a winter storm drops the outside air 20 or 30 degrees. That’s when we throw some logs in the fireplace. We bought a Fuego fireplace insert that you can see in the picture. That thing throws out the heat like you wouldn’t believe. Temps go up to 1400 degrees or higher in that firebox. More on the fireplace in the next two posts.