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The hot weather begins and ends in different months depending on where you live. For some, it starts in April and others in June and ends between September and November. During these times we seek comfort with cooled or chilled air. The type of equipment varies, including:
- Central forced-heat and air conditioning
- Central air conditioning
- Window AC units
- Ductless split system
- Evaporative (swamp) coolers
- Fans of various types
Cooling systems are sometimes supplemented with dehumidifiers, humidifiers, and the old system of putting a tub of ice in front of a fan. Off-gridders often just open the windows and doors and let the breeze go through the house. Your selection can also be affected by the type of available fuel or power in your area and using log siding instead of full logs. The following discussion covers the pros and cons of common cooling systems for log cabins to help you choose.
Central Air for Hot and Humid Climates
Those of you who live in lingering hot and humid climates may need air conditioning for six or more months. If you want a traditional system with no units hanging out the windows, central air or a split system may be the best way to cool your log cabin or home. This may be the case if you live there full-time and have a large house. Here are some pros and cons to help choose:
|Very efficient||Expensive equipment|
|Whole house cooling||Costly installation|
|Even room temperatures||Expensive to operate|
|Better filtration system||Costly to repair|
|Long system life|
|Provides both heating and cooling||Costs about 30% more than central air|
|Different temps for each room||Installation must be precise|
|Small and attractive units||Some people find units unsightly on walls|
|No cooling loss through ducts|
|More security than window units|
Refer to your building or remodeling budget to see which system you can afford.
Window ACs for Cabins Are Another Option
Window air conditioners are great for small cabins, part-time habitation, and you don’t mind them hanging out the windows. Here are a few pros and cons for these units:
The lower cost of units, installation, and 120-volt operation are attractive features.
“Your selection can also be affected by the type of available fuel or power in your area and using log siding instead of full logs.”
Fans for Less Warm Climates and Primitive Living
If you don’t like chilled air, live in the Rocky Mountains, or prefer a primitive-living lifestyle with solar-powered electricity, fans may suit you better. These models require electricity and their benefits may appeal to you:
Ceiling Fans range in size from small to 52” in diameter to match a room’s size. A variable-speed fan is ideal and can be installed by the homeowner if skilled enough. Prices vary from less than one hundred dollars to hundreds of dollars depending on quality and size.
Window Fans are your basic type of air movement where you mount a box-type fan in select windows. They are inexpensive and can be found in many different retail stores.
Floor Fans that oscillate work well whether circular or tower models. They are available in small less powerful models to industrial types that blow hard.
Exhaust Fans mounted in the ceiling or windows pull air through the house through open windows rather than blow directly on you. Ceiling-mounted models are powerful but must be installed by an electrician.
Cabin Living Without Air Conditioning or Fans
If you want to rough it without air conditioning or fans, simply open the windows and doors and let the natural breeze do its job. Of course, you will need screens on the openings to keep the bugs and varmints out. You must settle for some days where there is no breeze but this is the no-cost way to go.
The Value of Log Siding and Adequate Insulation for Hot Weather
If you haven’t built a log cabin yet, consider constructing it with log siding or prefinished log siding. You get the full log appearance without the high cost of full logs. Here’s how you save money on cooling bills with this product:
- The thick log siding is a natural insulator for both the exterior and interior walls.
- Sheathing is attached to the outside framing under the siding to add more R-value.
- Insulation can be added between the framing in the walls to keep more heat out.
- By using 2x6s instead of 2x4s you can add even more insulation in walls.
- This approach is more energy-efficient and less costly than full logs.
These basic guidelines should help with making your selection of cooling equipment. Check with a highly-reviewed HVAC specialist who has had experience with log siding cabins and homes. Stay cool this summer!