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I am in the mtns of NC at approx 2200 ft. and I have a 1250 sq ft log home.  it is a second home right now and has been closed up since Nov.  I have maintained my inside temp at 50 degrees all winter.  I am having higher electric bills than my neighbors who are doing the same thing and keeping all electric the same way.

I was told to check for snow or ice build up around AC unit, but snow hasn't been very heavy in NC except back in Dec and early Jan.  Temps have been pretty cold....30s -40s, which means my heat has been coming on a lot.

Do we need to keep heat on constantly at 50 in winter to maintain the logs in a log home?  any ideas of how to cut this bill down.  I paid $137 then next month $173.  My neighbors paid between $60 - $90 these same months.

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With a heat pump , when you reach a certain low temperature the emergency coils might be coming on and this could be the reason for you higher bills. Heat pumps are great but not when you are having very low outside temps.

You might also want to check the blower unit on you HP and see if its 110 or 220. If its 110 this could be another reason for the higher bills. If 110 see if you can change the unit out for one that runs on 220, this would also be less expensive to run than a 110.

Hopefully you have a programmable thermostat that you can set to come on at certain temps at different times of the day, if not you should look into installing a programmable thermostat. My heating unit runs about 2 hours in the morning to 66 degrees and about 5 hours in the evening to 66 degrees, it throttles down at bedtime to 58 degrees, this is the best way to control your HVAC budget. I also run a woodstove on weekends and whenever I have a day off.

Thanks for the info.  This cabin is sitting empty all winter but I was told because it is logs, the temp needs to stay constant so I have it set for 50 as I was told.   But I wonder if I can do a programmable and lower it for part of 24 hrs to say 40 instead.  it would still be above freezing.  Not sure if it would help.


Before lowering the temperature any more I would suggest you bring in a heating company to examine the installation as something doesn't sound right. The hearing cycle on a heat pump is much more dependent on having the right amount of freon in the system. The entire unit should be checked out for cleanliness etc. As suggested, everything should run on 220 volts. Low voltage can cause all sorts of inefficiencys.

Have you also done a good inspection for air leaks? If you have a fireplace or wood stove are the chimney or vents thoroughly closed off? Look for simple problems.

 Unless you drain all the water out of the cabin I would be concerned about running 40 degrees. A power outage leaves you very little safety factor between 40 and 32 versus 50 and 32 degrees.

Finally there is a big difference in heat pump efficiency nowadays. Years ago heat pumps would hardly perform below 40 degrees. As Ed suggested, your emergency strip could be kicking in due to other problems that need to be solved. 


Thanks for the advice.  It's been two years since unit was installed and my bills last winter were too high also...I will call the co and see what can be checked.

Pat, You have received good advice thus far....what size are the logs? And are you getting air infiltration as the mountains can be pretty windy at times. I would do a thermographic along with the other advice and go from there. Good luck

Tim Bullock

Joe and Ed are right but if your house is tight with no air infiltration and insulated well I am guessing that maybe your backup electric coils are kicking on when maybe they shouldn't be, if you have electric coils for your backup. Possibly the heat pump , as Joe suggested is not putting heat out from low freon or a bad or miss set control. The hvac tech can check that out for you.  I think as Joe does in that 50 degrees gives you some leeway with possible power outages to protect against freezing.
Thanks for all the responses.  My AC co said they would do a service call for $75 so I may have to in May when I am there.  I also was told that insulation in ceiling of crawl space may keep house warmer in winter.....seems like there is none in the crawl space.

Pat, Your home is on an uninsulated crawl space?


I think so...but all the homes should be the same.  I will check it out in May and add some insulation in crawl space if others have it.

Pat, It is much less expensive and a lot more effective to insulate the perimeter wall rather than the underside of the subfloor.



I always insulate my subfloors using 5.5 inches of open-cell foam insulation. I get a better seal because I refuse to use wood-I beams or 2 x ? for my subfloors. By using a top-cord bearing-drop truss, I have eliminated the need for rim boards and skirting, as well as the need to insulate these areas. My floors basically start on my stem wall.

Back to the insulation:

Do you have a conditioned, unconditioned or semi-conditioned crawl space?

Do you have open, continuous vents or have you chosen to power vent your crawl space?

I can only speak from my professional experience, having built log homes on semi-conditioned crawl spaces and blowing in 5.5 inches of open-cell foam insulation to the underside of the floors. My customers experienced a 5-degree increase in temperature in the house overnight.

Check with your local insulating contractor. In Arizona, you can do an energy audit where they actually seal the home and find all your air leaks, as well as the weak points of your insulation for just $99. This cost is then subsidized and paid back to customers by our local power company. You may have the same opportunities in your area.

Insulation is always a worthy point of discussion. Whether it is for log homes or other construction, as builders we need to stay informed and up to date to new technologies and products available to us and our customers.

Michael Collins


PS - sorry that my comments were not in response to the original posting about a heat pump.


what does it mean to insulate the perimeter?   I did check and there is some insulation between the rafters in the ceiling of the crawl space. 

I will look into an audit.  Thanks to all for your responses.


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