Thermal mass in living room using planter box for water storage

gardurnitJanuary 19, 2010

THERMAL MASS in 1912 home? Planter with water base? Other?

My though is to do what I did when I was 24 years old with a water bed in a 1900's house. I got under the house

and with 4 x 4 or 6 x 6 " beams put 4 or more under the structure to be sure to keep it , the house and floor , sturdy

for holding a king size waterbed. It worked and in fact it worked even to hold 5 columns of bricks 4' high stacked

under the bed.

Well now I intend to do similar using a planter with water in the base for thermal mass. A central planter about

2 feet wide and 6 to 8 feet long will have about 200 to 300 gallons of water in the base and will be a part of

thermal mass for my living room. My concerns are many.

Leakage and other damage is not want I want to experience.

But assuming everything is done delicately and with forethought it should be safe. But will it be effective?

This is where I need some help.

I've considered using a radiator to move water from the storage , to the room air, back to storage in order to

quickly move heat or cool to the mass. Otherwise I have no 'great' ideas.

This is where I welcome you who know how to calculate the value of the mass in the room. . If I Can gain

10 degrees for 1200 lbs of water that will be 12,000 BTU. I don't know whether this is significant since

it will be released over time, unless I use the radiator to move heat out quickly.

Now you know the gist of it all. Let's hear what you think. Please, remember this is only a brainstorming session

not a NAtional Guard Drill or United Nations invasion. Thanks for your gentle comments.


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I think you are misunderstanding the concept of thermal mass as it relates to home heating. Just plopping something big in the living room isn't going to do much. What you need is a large mass and a way to passively heat that mass with energy that wouldn't normally be in the room. You don't gain any energy just by using your existing heat to warm up a big tank of water.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 2:12PM
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