Increasing the thermal mass in your home can help your home heat up less quickly on hot days and cool down less quickly on cold nights. This eco-friendly passive heating and cooling feature can help to keep the temperatures in your house more even, perhaps even allowing you to spend less on your energy bills.
Here are a few ideas for adding thermal mass in your home when designing a home addition.
1. Add a stone or wood floor
Denser materials, such as wood and stone, tend to hold more heat, giving them more thermal mass. If you lay thick hardwood or stone on your floors instead of plastic materials like nylon carpet or laminate flooring, you can increase the thermal mass of your home addition. Talk to your remodeling contractor about which materials can give your addition the best thermal mass.
2. Build in a solid stone or brick fireplace
The fireplace is another area where you can use dense materials to help hold heat. Using solid stone or brick for a fireplace in your home addition is particularly important if you're going to use the fireplace for heating your home. The high thermal mass of a material like stone means the fireplace area will continue radiating heat into your home for a while, even after the fire is out.
3. Include solid wood beams and panels
Solid wood isn't quite as hard and dense as stone. However, it can still hold heat, so adding solid wood beams and paneling to your home addition is a good way to add thermal mass as well. The thicker the better, in fact. Thicker materials have more mass to them, so it stands to reason that thicker materials will provide more thermal mass.
4. Install stone on a wall
In some cases, you may be able to install an entire solid stone wall in your home addition. However, a solid stone wall can be quite heavy and expensive to install. If you prefer a more lightweight version, adding a stone cladding (a sheet of stone that you apply to the interior of the wall) can still add some thermal mass, as long as it's made of real stone.
For the best results, you'll need to have a well-insulated home and correctly place your thermal mass elements in relation to the sun and the windows so you can get the most benefits from the thermal mass in your home addition. Talk to your remodeling contractor about how and where to add thermal mass and the best insulation for your home.
For more information about designing a home addition, contact a local construction company, like Wall to Wall Construction, LLC.