it’s a picture most of us dream of - sitting in a comfortable sofa, by a log burner, in a stylish log cabin home. But are log cabins easy to heat? Like any building, as long as they are well built, well insulated and draught proof, you should have no problem heating your new log cabin.
If you think about it, there is only one key difference between heating a block built house and heating a log cabin. In both cases, you have an interior space that has to be heated. In both cases, you have a floor, walls, windows, doors and a roof that create the building envellope. So really, if the insulation levels and the draught proofing are the same in both buildings, you could imagine that the same amount of heat is required to heat the space within.
Are Log Cabins easier to heat than block buildings?
The main difference between the two types of building - log cabin and block built - is the timber surface on the interior cabin. Think about the amount of heat that a block and plaster wall requires in order to heat it up, and how long those walls will be drawing heat out of the room, while the equivalent timber walls are actually acting as an insulator, and doing nothing to keep the room chilled!
Log Cabin Heating Systems
The picture above shows a very cosy scene - actually, this is the log cabin showhouse in Boyle - the Limerick Log Cabin - with its wood burning stove. But of course you do not have to use a solid fuel stove to heat your log cabin. You can heat a log cabin in the same way as you would heat a conventionally built house. So yes, you can use a log burner or solid fuel stove. You can put a back boiler onto it, no problem. You can use a natural gas stove or boiler. And of course you can use an oil boiler – why not?
There are a lot of options nowadays with electrical heaters – wall panel, radiant, with all sorts of timers and heat sensors built-in. And if you want to be very daring, you can put in underfloor heating. Why not have an air to air heat exchanger built in? All of these options are endlessly possible.
Single or double wall in your log cabin?
This is a very important question, if you're planning to buy a log cabin. Single walls, which are available on the market from 40mm up to about 90mm, are ALWAYS insufficient if you're using your log cabin for residentioal purposes. This is because if you are heating your cabin regularly on colder winter nights, the temperature of the cold damp air will be too low, and the wall thickness is not great enough to insulate your cabin. In other words, the interior of your wall will be chilled be the cold exterior. Why is this important, you may ask. Typically what happens with a single wall cabin at night, if you're heating the interior on those nights, is that you will feel warm in your cabin. BUT, the covered wall areas, behind presses, wardrobes, pictures etc, will not be warmed by the heating in the log cabin, because the warm air won't readily circulated behind these fittings. So, the air that is behind these fixtures remains cold, and, as the walls cool due to the low exterior temperatures, the moisture in the air will condense, and this is how mould forms. The unfortunate thing is that this only happens on hidden surfaces, and it is usually not noticed for a long time, when so much damage is done that it is too let to remedy the situation.
Double glazed windows and doors
There is no doubt that double glazed windows are an important element in keeping your log cabin warm and easy to heat. Make sure the windows supplied in your log cabin are up to European Union specifications. At Timber Livng, wer offer a number of different window choices. Read the Blog Post here: Which windows for your log cabin?
South facing for solar gain
Remember when siting your log cabin, that there's lots of free heat available from the sun, as long as you orientate you log cabin correctly, so that the biggest windows are facing south or south west. Solar gain is a major contributor to reducing cabin heating costs, and its very easy to get this right. Sometimes, you might be unlucky enough to have a stunning view to the north of your building, and you plan to have your main windows facing that direction - but generally, where possible, you should face your cabin southwards.
If you’re looking at planning your heating for your log cabin, it would make a lot of sense come to one of our TimberLiving showhouses in Boyle, Tullow or Carrigaline to have a chat with our ever-helpful sales crew. They would be only delighted to help you with your decisions.