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Log Home Heating & Cooling Options

By February 1, 2021February 23rd, 2024Newsletter
Choosing Your Log Home Heating and Cooling Systems

Welcome to the February 2021 issue of The Oak Leaf! For new readers, this is a monthly newsletter that is sent by e-mail to those that have expressed an interest in Gastineau Log Homes. We use this as a way of communicating technical, design and industry information. For more information, check out our web site at

Check out our new website! Same address: but new photos and information! Read our blogs on our website too. Our new Image Gallery has LOTS of pictures that you can view!

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Although not a very sexy subject, the HVAC systems (or just heating system) you choose for your new log home is a very important decision. It impacts your comfort, your design, and your construction costs. Log homes are easy to heat and cool (as our customers tell us) and the system you choose to control your interior environment is a very personal one. This month, we will cover a few heating and cooling options that are available. Tell us – which of these will work best in your new Gastineau Log Home?

Trivia Question: What was the first toy to be advertised on television? (See the answer below.)

Finding the best HVAC system for your new home

Before you make your decision, you need to know:

1) Where are you building and what is the climate? Do you need air conditioning?

2) What fuel sources are available and what is the cost?

3) Budget. How much do you plan to spend for this part of your new construction?

Blinder.Rear Ext.lowres


Building at 10,000 feet in the mountains?

Your HVAC needs are different from someone building in Ohio.

A forced air furnace

Beware: don’t over-size your system. I know this sounds strange, but too much heating capacity will make a system less efficient. Ask your HVAC contractor to walk you through the calculation they used to determine the heating load. The system capacity should be no more than 25% greater than the calculated load. (And sizing is referring to the capacity of the equipment, not the physical dimensions!)

This diagram depicts a typical forced air gas furnace with central duct work.

Using an electric heat pump

If you are planning to use electric heat, you should look at the cost of a heat pump and see if it fits your budget. How does it work? When producing heating, the outdoor coils serve as the evaporator. When producing cooling, the refrigerant flow is reversed and the indoor coils work as the evaporator. During cooling operations, the refrigerant is changed into its gaseous state indoors, absorbing heat, and is circulated outdoors where it changes state again and releases heat. During heating functions, the same process happens in reverse with the heat being absorbed from the outdoor air and dispersed indoors. The result – lower energy bills.


This diagram depicts a heat pump system.

Radiant Floor Heat

There are different types of radiant floor systems, but they all work by heating your floors from underneath, creating an environment that is heated evenly and quietly. In general, radiant floor systems are more efficient than traditional setups, but not all systems are created equal. The level of conductivity in the radiant panels themselves is also an important factor in radiant heat performance. Radiant floor heat can be installed over a concrete slab or over a conventionally framed floor system. It does not provide cooling, however.


Geothermal Heat Pump


This is a system that uses the earth or a body of water as a source of heat capture and release. A series of pipes called the loop is buried in the ground or submerged in water at a depth where the temperature stays about the same all year long. Water or an antifreeze solution circulates through the loop pipes. This solution captures heat indoors and moves it outside in the summer and pulls heat out of the ground or water in the winter and takes it inside. Geothermal models generally cost more initially, but they’re highly efficient at both heating and cooling and can be expected to last for many years. Tax credits may help minimize the difference in the installation cost.

Diagram of the “wells” drilled for a geo-thermal system.

Ductless heat pump system



These system, sometimes called mini splits, use an outdoor heat pump and four or more indoor air handling units to produce heating and cooling. They don’t require any duct work and are very versatile when it comes to where the indoor air distribution units are installed. They offer the same benefits as standard heat pumps with the added convenience of flexible placement. These can be a great choice when open beam construction hinders your ability to install central ducting. Or if you plan to use radiant floor heat, you can use these for the summer air conditioning. This technology has been around for 30 years and is used a lot in Japan and Europe. Another advantage is that multiple systems in a home can allow you to control the temperature separately in each area.



Mini splits typically have a remote control that operates like a thermostat.

Hybrid Furnace

If you live in a climate where temperatures occasionally get below 30 degrees Fahrenheit, then a hybrid, or dual-fuel, system will most likely save you money. A hybrid furnace is like a hybrid vehicle in principle—it uses electricity as its primary source of power but then kicks in another fuel source when higher demands are placed on the system. The primary source of heat for a hybrid furnace is an electric heat pump, which is more energy efficient than natural gas, propane, or oil. Heat pumps, however, don’t perform as well when temperatures drop below 30 or 40 degrees Fahrenheit. At such temperatures, a hybrid furnace will automatically switch from the heat pump to another fuel source (like propane or natural gas) to balance efficiency and effectiveness.

This multi-fuel furnace even allows wood burning into the equation! When the combustion chamber is out of wood, it switches to either electricity or oil.

Zoned Heating

The ability to heat different areas of your home to different temperatures is called zoned heating. You can set up different zones in a number of ways, depending on what type of system you have. Typically, multiple thermostats are used to adjust individual temperature settings for each room. This enables you to turn down thermostats in areas of your home that aren’t frequently used, which saves energy and money. Zoned heating can also remedy the problem of hot and cold spots in your home. For example, if the second floor of your home is always 10 degrees warmer than the first floor, or if the room above the garage is always 10 degrees cooler, then zoned heating is a smart solution.

Solar Heat I could write an entire Oak Leaf on the different types of solar heat, from passive solar design to the mechanical systems available today. We have had several customers use mechanical systems successfully and a lot of customers have incorporated passive solar into their designs.


Open Houses:

The GLH National Model Home Center on I-70 in central MO is open 7 days a week! Come walk through 3 of our homes Monday – Friday 8a-5p, Saturday 9a-5p, and Sunday 12a-5p. No appointment necessary. Click here for more, including directions.

2021 Construction Seminar Schedule:

Our next construction seminar is scheduled for March 6th, 2021. Please call Amy Ivy at 800.654.9253 or email for more information and to register. Reserve your seat now as class size is limited!

Click here for information on our one day construction seminars.

Answer to the Trivia Question:

Mr. Potato Head!

It was first advertised on April 30, 1952. This will come as a surprise to many who are too young to remember Mr. Potato Head.

Quote of the Month:

Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.
— Winston S. Churchill