What is Thermal Mass?
We all heard it and kind of know what it is.
We do have story we like to share to give everyone a better understanding how “Thermal Mass” works.
Before I get into the story, here is the scientific explanation:
Thermal mass is a material’s resistance to change in temperature. Objects with high thermal mass absorb and retain heat. Thermal mass is crucial to good passive solar heating design, especially in locations that have large swings of temperature from day to night.
Thermal mass can store energy absorbed from the sun and release it over time. Conversely, it can resist heating up too fast from solar radiation.
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Here is the story of what happened to Aaron’s Trappeur Home this winter:
Wendy, Cooper and I were heading into Calgary for the weekend and we were excited because we were purchasing a welder for Cooper and it has been a dream of his for some time.
In the excitement to leave on time, we were taking the dogs to the kennel and somehow the side door to the house didn’t latch and we didn’t notice. That night got very stormy in the valley and our house is perched up on a knoll exposed to the wind. The door blew open and wedged against the woodpile, stuck wide open from Friday evening until Sunday evening when we returned home. When we saw the side door open we were very concerned because we had been heating with only wood heat and had left our furnace turned off so there was no heat source in the house over the weekend. We rushed into the house expecting the worst because the temperature gauge on the car read -21 C and it had been like that since Saturday morning when the cold front came in and pushed the storm away. I was really concerned that we could have a frozen pipe or something but after we closed the door we checked the indoor thermometer and it read 12 C. How could it still be this warm inside when the door had been open for so long with no heat on and it was that cold outside? The thermal mass of the Trappeur Homes Log walls and the timber floor system helped buffer the temperature over those two days and protect the home from getting too cold.
The same effect helps our home stay consistently cool in the summer months as well. The significant thermal mass built into our Trappeur Home buffers against the heat of the day and keeps our home very comfortable.
Thermal mass is not only good to be considered for insulation, it is also protecting your home for cold and heat.
Read more about “Is “R-value” all you need to look at in order to get a high energy efficient house?” at