Heating Alternatives For Your New Summer Cabin

Posted on: 24 August 2015


You're finally building that cabin by the lake to enjoy during the vacation months. You may even consider retiring there. When it comes to heating the new cabin, consider the alternatives to traditional forced air systems. Here are two popular ways to heat a living space without installing a bulky furnace.  

Heat Pumps   This unique heating system technology doesn't create heat but transfers it from one location to another. There are several heat pump designs available but the two most commonly seen in residential homes are:

  • Air-source heat pump - This unit takes the warmth from outside air and moves it into your house.
  • Ground-source heat pump - This unit gets the warmth from the ground and moves it into your house.

How does the pump get heat from outside when it's cold? A refrigerant in the pump becomes cooler than the outside air. When this "warmer" air moves through the pump, its heat is extracted and sent to the house. Heat pumps are effective in mild climates that rarely get down to freezing. At those temperatures, the pump has to work too hard to get any heat out of the cold air. Because the unit doesn't generate heat, no fuel is required except for blowers to circulate the warm air through the house. Another advantage to heat pumps is that it will work like an air conditioner in warm weather so you don't have to install a separate AC unit to keep cool. Turn around the source valve, and the unit will draw heat from your house and dump it outside.    

Under Floor Radiant Heat Systems   This technique generates heat under the floor of any room. This warms the air sitting on top of the floor and causes it to rise, warming the middle of the room. When the air gets toward the ceiling, it has cooled off enough to sink back down to the floor. That air warms up again and repeats the cycle.    

An advantage of under floor radiant heat is that it evenly heats the room. Forced air systems can create hot and cold spots, depending on where the heat vent is and how the furniture is laid out in the room. Drafty rooms benefit from radiant heat. There are two types of under floor systems available for your cabin:

  • Hydronic Heating - This uses a series of water-filled tubes under the floor. The water can be heated by your existing water heater or by an independent electric heater. This design is good for larger rooms where you want to keep the heat on for long periods.
  • Electric Heating - This design uses insulated electrical wires that become warm under the floor. The electric cable may be installed individually in a grid pattern, or embedded in mats that connect together. This system warms up quicker than the hydronic design and is best for smaller spaces.

For professional HVAC services, contact a company such as Scott's Heating & Air Conditioning Services