A log cabin with a country-style design as well as in contemporary styles always profits a lot from an open fireplace or at least a wood burning stove with a glass door or glass walls that let the fire shine through. Just as log cabins are an ideal home for nature lovers, for people who want to thrive in a natural environment, a visible fire is the ancient traditional method of heating up a house. That is why combining these two aspects is so attractive. It is depicted in many films; who could imagine a wild-western home of a wealthy rancher without an open fireplace as shown for example in „Bonanza“. An atmosphere of wealth, combines with elegance and contrast of the elements wood, stone and fire, an ideal combination for interior design.
Especially in the winter it seems like a perfect cliché to come home and sit in the flickering light of a cosy, warming fire after a cold day out in the snow.
How can an open fireplace in your log cabin become real?
If you live in an inhabitable log cabin, or you have one for holiday or as a weekend cottage: An open fireplace or a wood stove with glass walls will make your log holidays better as much as your every day life. However, you will have to do some proper planning before you go and buy one.
First of all it is important to decide if you plan your new fireplace just as an add-on to your already sufficiently working heating, kind of as a romantic, decorative add on, or if you plan to use the fireplace or the wood stove as the main heating device for the log cabin.
In any case you should think first about how powerful you want your fireplace or stove to be. As a rule of thumb you would have a stove of 20.000 BTU (British Thermal Units) to heat up a space of around 800 square foot (75 square meters) while for a 1.300 square foot (120 square meters) room, you would rather need a stove rated at 42.000 BTU. However, qualitity of insulation, windows and expected outside temperatures would also play a role in these equations.
For a fireplace or a stove used for decoration only, you would rather look for smaller dimensions, so you might even use it during rainy summer nights without heating the cabin up too much.
It must be said that open masonry fireplaces are more often just used for show than as serious heating devices. They draw a lot of air out of the room, heat it up and send it out again right through the chimney. However, they can also be built more efficiently, for example by sending the heated air through a system of channels to heat up the floor or the walls. They can also heat up water, like modern wood burning stoves, that can also supply a central hot water energy storage that could also collect energy from gas boilers, solar panels or geothermal systems.
Proper planning would also involve sharing your plans with certified professionals as they are listed by the DEFRA before you start buying anything or begin with any construction works.
Are log cabins well suited for open fireplaces?
As a matter of fact, fire insurance premiums for log cabins are often lower than those for stone houses for several good reasons. Contrary to common belief, timber of a certain wall thickness does burn much slower than stone houses mostly because of the temperature insulating capabilities of wood. The walls don’t heat up that quickly, a “burning chamber effect“ will not happen as quickly as in stone houses and as a result of that, fires can burn much longer without destabilizing the structural integrity of the building. Experienced firemen know this, and will be able to enter a burning log cabin for firefighting measures much longer than a comparable stone house.
Of course, in both kinds of houses, the main priority must be to get informed about risks that can lead to fires and measures to avoid these through education and sensible behaviour.
Log cabins are often much better insulated than stone buildings and thus qualify for natural heating with a sustainable, renewable resource like wood.
Floor to ceiling hearths built from natural stone harmonize very well with an interior of natural timber inside a log cabin. So there is every reason to consider enriching your log cabin with an open fireplace or a wood burning stove.
Wood burning stoves can be used to heat up log cabins effectively
Modern wood burning stoves combine a high efficiency with pleasant optics of the fire shining through the glass doors, and they can well be used as a effective, low cost heating device if you choose a size that fits for your space, and place it strategically for the hot air and the heat radiation to reach as many places in your log cabin as possible. Additionally, blowers can direct the hot air into any room further away from the stove.
Energy efficiencies of over 80% can be accomplished by regulating the air supply and the opening of the outlet. Secondary air controls, using pre heated air for combustion and other tricks make these modern stoves high-tech-devices with the aim of increasing energy efficiency and thus help you to spare money for firewood.
Technical solutions can feed hot water into hot water storing boilers used for central heating, showering and hot water for usage. Of course, cooking stoves might also be a great way to use the natural power of burning firewood in smaller log cabins.
For those of you who like a hot tub holiday, we would also like to mention our wood fired hot tubs.
For any questions, please contact us or call Oliver at 020 3807 0369!