The Oak Leaf - October 2016 By Lynn Gastineau President of Gastineau Log Homes, Inc. Welcome to the October 2016 issue of The Oak Leaf! For new rea


The Oak Leaf - October 2016

By Lynn Gastineau
President of Gastineau Log Homes, Inc.

Welcome to the October 2016 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

Please "Like" Gastineau Log Homes on Facebook! There are LOTS of photographs of our homes in the Photo section!

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First I want to give a shout out to one of our Log Cabin 2 Go owners that sent us the above photo and an email this week: He wrote: "Just over two years ago we purchased our Log Cabin to Go...We love our log home and we love Gasineau's folks. So nice.

...My wife was apprehensive about a log home, we both came from kind of a primitive background and I was actually born in a Dog Trot style 3 room log home. But she is now a total convert and never fails when we are there to say how much she loves ours." - Well, thank you Ralph and Emma for both the photos and the kind words! So glad you love your Log Cabin 2 Go!

Trivia Question: True or False: Autumn babies, or those born between September and November, are more likely to live to 100 than those who were born in other times of the year. (See the answer at the end of the newsletter.)

Focus on Heating and Cooling Systems: 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. We will cover some basic information to help you in your decision making process in this issue of the Oak Leaf.

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Building at 10,000 feet in the mountains? Your HVAC needs are different from someone building in Ohio....

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?


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

Beware of Oversizing 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 refering to the capacity of the equipment, not the physical dimensions!)

heat pump vs furnace diagram

Diagram of a heat pump system.

What is a 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 is lower energy bills.

Radiant floor heat coils being installed on a concrete slab.

What is Radiant Floor Heat? There are different types of radiant floor systems, but they all work by heating your floors from underneath, creating a home environment that is heated evenly and quietly without drying forced air or clanging baseboards. 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 Air Conditioning however.

What is a 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 ov the "wells" drilled for a geo-thermal system.


Example of installation of a mini-split system.

What is a 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 abiilty 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.

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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 heating can be passive or mechanical, like this illustration shows.

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.

Home Shows:
No more home shows until this Fall 2016! We have learned that the Log Home Show is returning to Kansas City the Spring of 2017.

Log Raising:

We hope to have another log raising this Fall near Columbia, MO. More information to come!

Construction Seminar Schedule for 2016:

No more seminars in 2016. Watch for the 2017 schedule to be released next month!

Click here for information on our one day construction seminars.

Open Houses:

Remember that the GLH Model Home Center on I 70 in central MO is open 7 days a week until Thanksgiving! We have three houses there that you can tour! We will be closed on Sundays from Thanksgiving until March 1st.

Answer to Trivia Question: True. (Which I was happy to learn since my birthday is in September and I plan to live to 105!)

Quote of the Month: "You can always tell when a man is well informed. His views are pretty much like yours." - Bob Hope

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