Imagine sleeping in your log cabin, a giant log bed with a big down comforter keeping your warm. The morning sun peeks over the mountains and into the bedroom window and a cold winter morning. You pull back the covers to greet the day, but you are the first one up, no one has stoked the fire from the night before and you feel the chill in the air. You rise to start your day and the first thing to greet you is the cold hardwood floor sending icy daggers into the soles of your feet.
Of course, your log cabin may not be rustic enough to rely on a wood burning stove for heat, but cold floors can be a problem even in a home with a forced air furnace. Keeping the floor warm is just one benefit of a radiant heat system, and it may be something you want to incorporate into your log cabin.
What is Radiant Heat
Science recognizes three types of heat transfer conduction, convection, and radiation. Conduction is when two solid pieces touch. Think of a pan on a burner on a stove. The two pieces of metal are touching and the heat transfers between them. Convection is heat transfer through a liquid or gas. Forced air furnaces use convection to carry heat through the air that then is circulated throughout the building. Radiation is when the thermal energy is radiated out into the room through space. No air or metal is required. Sitting in front of an open flame or fireplace you can feel the heat radiate through the air.
Radiant floor heat systems use pipes with hot water under the floor to distribute heat, this heat then radiates through the room to provide warmth and keep the temperature at an acceptable level.
Advantages of Radiant Heat
- Efficient – Radiant heat is highly efficient. In a forced air system, the warm air rises, so you get heat at the ceiling or the upper stories of your log home, instead of where you need it.
- No Allergens – Forced air is brutal for spreading allergies. Sure you can get a high allergy filter for the furnace, but it’s still going to blow around every particle of dust and pollen that might be floating around in the house. Radiant heat doesn’t include any kind of fan, so there is no distribution of these potential allergens.
- Keeps the humidity up If you live in an arid or semi-arid environment, like much of the Colorado Rockies, it can get dry in the winter. Cooler winter air already holds less moisture, then running it past an open flame in a forced-air furnace dries it out even further. This isn’t a problem with radiant heat.
- It’s hidden – Radiant floor heating doesn’t require huge ducts and vents all over the place to distribute the heat. It’s underneath the floors and doesn’t take up much space. This can be a great advantage if retrofitting an old log cabin that wasn’t built with air ducts in mind.
If you are building a new home or refitting an old log cabin with TruLog Steel Siding you may want to consider adding some radiant heat. It can be a great option to heat your home.