Needless to say, our forefathers didn’t worry too much about heating their log cabins. Big fireplaces had no problem warming up the one or two rooms they lived in. Of course now that log homes are family-sized, people often have the impression that there is something different about how they are heated, and the good news is that a standard system will work as well in a log home as a traditional structure.
Almost all log homes are built with at least one fireplace. Initially, we thought that our beautiful soapstone woodstove would heat the whole house, and we would use our forced-air propane heat as a backup. Alas, we were all wrong. Because we have a cathedral ceiling with a big loft, the heat from the stove goes directly upstairs, requiring two ceiling fans to recirculate the warm air. We expected this, but we also thought the heat would expand sideways into the rest of the open floor space (dining room and kitchen). Not on your life! Even sitting on the couch about 15 feet from the stove, I need a coverlet. I’m uncomfortably chilly in the kitchen. I think that if we had a regular ceiling, the heat might have gone where we expected it, but the volume of the cathedral ceiling threw off our calculations. Also, the soapstone stove is designed to be run 24/7, and because we both work for a living, the stove doesn’t get fired up until the evening. This woodstove needs to be heated up slowly at the risk of cracking the stone, so by the time it’s really cooking we’re ready for bed.
Old-fashioned fireplaces traditionally sucked all the warm air out of the room, but modern designs are more efficient at recirculating the heat. The most energy-efficient fireplace is built in the center of the house, so the stack heat is not lost to the outside. Outside stacks can create back drafts if the fire is extinguished, making a new fire more difficult to light. If you are planning multiple fireplaces, putting two of them back-to-back (facing adjoining rooms) will give you the opportunity to build one chimney with two flues. Or you could put a fireplace above your furnace, again allowing two flues in the same chimney. A direct-vent fireplace will eliminate the chimney, but you’ll have to figure out how to hide the vent on the outside wall. Or, if you use a wood-stove, you could run the pipe through the wall and straight up the outside, building a box around the pipe to simulate a chimney. Depending on the look you want, you may want to leave the pipe inside the room and send it through the roof. This will give more heat.
It’s a good idea to consider your heating and air-conditioning needs early in the design phase. Although log homes are naturally energy-efficient, it’s not wise to skimp on your system. You may be able to heat your whole house with a huge fireplace or wood … Read More
This is what my office (computer lab) has looked like for the past several months. Actually this is not the worst. It should be done by Feb 2010.
Oh, that’s just Spikey keeping and eye on the contractors.
Tagged: , pentaxk20d , office , spidey , renovation , work … Read More