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Our  log home is our second residence and so, sadly, we are away from it more than we are in it.   The cabin is located in NE Pennsylvania, so it gets coooold in the winter.  So far, we've been keeping the heat at a temp that will make sure the plumbing doesn't freeze - about 48 degrees.  But I just spoke to someone who said that we should be keeping our cabin much warmer because of potential expansion/contraction of the logs. 

 

Does anyone have any experience/thoughts about this?  I'm concerned that we could be making a big mistake ...  Thank you!!

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Hi Sharon,

Our cabin is located in Vermont and I keep the temperature set to 52 and do not have any problems with an expansion issue. Just FYI. John

We are in western Maine and the builder told us to keep it at 55 to leave a little leeway in case the heat turns off.  We do have a generator but he said 55.  As soon as we walk in I turn it up.  We are also thinking of getting a Freeze Alarm which calls you if the temp goes below a certain temp - whatever you set it at.  They have 3 models and they are not that much money - cheap insurance, I say.  I would like to get the higher level one which allows you to call the house and turn up the heat as we are leaving Boston for the 3 hour trip and then the house will be warmed up when we get there.

http://www.freezealarms.com/

I keep my home at 48 degrees when leaving. I'm at 2800 elevation with strong winds. Last winter I averaged single digits as the low temps. I heat with heat pumps. I supplement with propane 32,000 btu and always use my fireplace upon arrival. Unfortunately electric is approx 38% higher at the mountains so I  choose to leave it at 48 degrees. I happen to have a sealed crawl space and it stays quite warm there. I purchased last year a new grate for my fireplace. Its called "grate wall of fire". It works just like the company states. The concept allows your coals to stack and allow the radiant heat to increase significantly.

Scott;   Where is Germanton, NC?  I am east of Asheville and around 2200 ft.   What did you do to totally "seal"  your crawl space?

Pat,  Germanton is located approx 7 miles north of Winston Salem. It is a tiny town that had a railroad station during the civil war. My mountain home is located in Pipers Gap which is on the Blue Ridge Pky between Galax and Fancy Gap. It takes me one hour to get there. Love it

A sealed crawl space is essential insulating the exterior walls usually foam board or even high density spray with a "wrapped 6 mil vapor barrier" with very limited air movement. I believe code states that only one foundation vent is required for 1500 sq ft.

My sister in law is in Lewisville, NC.  About an hour + from me.  I leave my temp at 50 when not there.  Last winter was really cold and my heat bill was way over $100 for winter months.  Will consider insulating the crawl space walls this year.  I have "vents every 10-20 feet around the crawl space foundation 24 x 32.... but close them in winter.   not sure how much cold are still seeps in.

Thanks for info.

 

Know Lewisville very well.....great community. As for your vents. It would be very helpful to cut insulation the dimensions of your vents and secure them in the openings. There are quite a few styles of vents. Inexpensive ones that slide manually or ones that are "automatic" The automatic is a rolled coil that open or closes based on the temperature. Neither are totally effective to stop sub freezing temps or wind.

Scott - after reading your post about the "grate wall of fire", we purchased one a couple of months ago for our outdoor fireplace. Although it seemed a little expensive, it is worth every penny we paid for it and as you said, works just like the company states. The fireplace throws off so much more heat than before and really make it cozy on chilly evening when we are grilling out.

Linda, Glad you like the product ....I should generated some advertising revenue from them. Unfortunately I'm just a happy customer also. It was pricey but I went thru a store bought grate in one season. It is a very hefty product and does exactly like they promised.

I had the thermostat installed a few years ago that you call in and set the temperature setting. It was very inexpensive but it took awhile to find an electrician that could install in properly. To tell you the truth I don't think I could live without it.  I have a 2.5 hour drive and by the time we arrive it's nice an toasty. Plus I call from time to time just to check on the inside temperature, it's great.

Wow!  This is such a great venue for getting answers to your problems!!!  Thank you to everyone for your replies.  I'm much relieved that we aren't doing anything wrong keeping our temp as low as we do.  And I'm very intrigued by the call ahead thermostat that a few of you have mentioned.  I'm going to have to research that.  We also have a 3 hour ride and often leave after work, getting up there when it's bitter cold.  We do have electric baseboard heaters that we turn on as soon as we arrive (especially in the bedrooms), but  it would be lovely to arrive to a toasty cabin.  Thank you to all!!!  

It is called; CEM-24 series talking thermostat. Www.scillc.com 1800-663-8107 or 215-766-1493 good luck you will love it

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