How To Check Whether Your Log Home Is Losing Heat Through Air Leakage

Posted on: 23 October 2015

Picture a log cabin in the midst of a snowy wood. There's a blanket of white on the ground and on the roof, but through the windows, you can see the glow of a fireplace blazing inside. Sound cozy? Well, that depends on the cabin. The amount of air leakage through those log walls is the difference between cozy and chilly when winter sets in.

Luckily, there's a simple way to check out a log cabin's walls for air leakage: thermal imaging. 

How Does Thermal Imaging Work?

If you've ever seen an image made with an infrared camera, you've seen thermal imaging in action; these images are printed in reds and blues, which correspond to hot and cold areas. They are sometimes used as a form of night vision or to find people in disaster areas via body heat. They are also used in building and construction work to check for poor insulation and areas where heat is being lost.

For log cabin thermal imaging, a contractor will use an infrared camera to take pictures of your home. Air leaks will be visible as blue, or cold, areas in your walls, usually corresponding with cracks in logs or areas between logs where separation has occurred or caulk has become damaged. You can also get a sense of how much heat you're losing through your windows by how blue they appear in these images; if you're losing a lot of heat, you might consider upgrading the insulation of your glazing.

What If The Imaging Shows Problems?

If the thermal imaging finds that you've got air leakage problems in your walls, the next step will be to seal up the leaking areas. The same contractor who did your thermal imaging will be able to advise you on the necessary repairs and carry them out.

If you prefer to do the work yourself, you should find out what type of caulking or sealant your log home manufacturer recommends in order to avoid damage to your home. There are many different types of sealant out there, and you'll want one that's specially formulated to adhere to logs; don't just use regular caulk.

Is This Only A Problem In Winter?

Unfortunately, air leakage is a problem no matter what the temperature is like outside. In addition to making it more difficult to keep a home warm in winter, it will also make it harder to keep cool in summer.

But beyond temperature problems, the same spots that cause air leakage also provide insects with a way to get inside your home. And if that's not enough, water can also get between your logs and even into your home through these openings. So don't put off repairs until the weather starts to get cold.