Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Is a Geothermal Heat Pump Right for Your Log Home?

Because they’re extremely energy efficient and environmentally friendly, geothermal heat pumps have become increasingly popular in the last couple of decades. Many log home owners find that geothermal heat pumps are a great way to keep energy bills low while keeping their homes at a comfortable temperature all year round. Before you commit to a geothermal installation, however, some research is in order. Today we’ll weigh the pros and cons of geothermal heat.

In Favor of Geothermal Heat


As we’ve already mentioned, geothermal heat pumps are remarkably energy efficient. Rather than relying on the burning of fossil fuels, geothermal heat systems work in much the same way that a refrigerator does, using a series of liquid-filled coils to draw underground heat up into your home. Once the heated liquid rises above ground level, it’s distributed throughout your home with a blower and ductwork. Rather than creating a new heat source, a geothermal system simply moves nearby heat from the inside of the earth to your home. Geothermal systems are also quiet and low maintenance because there are very few moving parts involved.

Drawbacks of Geothermal Heat


The first thing that usually deters homeowners from getting geothermal heat is the installation cost. This initial investment may cost anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 dollars. It will increase your home’s resale value and significantly lower your energy bills, but unless you’re planning on staying in your home for a number of years in the future the cost of installation can be a bit hard to swallow. The installation also requires a considerable amount of digging and drilling in your yard. The overall difficulty of installation will depend on your locale and soil conditions.

Want to learn more about geothermal heating? Check out this helpful guide from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Winterizing Your Log Home

Here in Minnesota, the nights are getting colder and the days are getting shorter. Winter won’t officially begin for a few weeks yet, but already the snowy season is beginning to take hold. Is your log home ready to weather the elements? Log homes might be famously sturdy and rugged, but it’s always a good idea to perform a thorough inspection and treat them to a little TLC to prepare for winter. Today, we’ll look at a few steps you can take to winterize your home.

Check the Exterior


This is perhaps the most important step in the winterizing process. Take a walk around your home and keep a close eye out for gaps that need to be sealed with fresh bead of caulk. Inspect weather stripping for damage as well. Wash your home’s exterior to remove mildew, grit and grime and reveal any areas where the stain is peeling. Apply new stain if necessary, but take to mind the temperature. Stain should typically not be applied in temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Don’t Forget the Foundation


Check the foundation for cracks and gaps, and seal them if necessary. Clear any organic debris such as leaves and sticks away from the foundation. Rotting vegetation can be a haven for burrowing insects and rodents. Likewise, you don’t want it anywhere near your home’s foundation. Keep firewood elevated and stored away from your home, too.

Clear Gutters and Downspouts


To prevent mold and mildew growth, it’s especially important to keep water runoff away from your log home’s exterior. This is where your gutters and downspouts come into play. Make sure they’re clean and free of debris, and consider installing leaf guards on gutters to keep them from clogging during the winter.

Protect your Pipes


In sub-zero temperatures, frozen pipes are an ever-present threat to your home. Insulate any exposed pipes and make sure that you know where your water main shut-off valve is in case of an emergency. It’s also a good idea to keep a space heater on hand in case of a pipe freeze. If you go away for the winter, be sure to set your heat to at least 55 degrees to keep pipes from freezing.

Remember: if you have a fireplace in your log home, it’s important to have it cleaned prior to using it this winter as well. Want to learn more about cleaning and maintaining your log home? Stay tuned for more updates from Schroeder Log Home Supply!