Making Analogies

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 21:39

Analogies are wonderful things - ideal in helping others visualize and understand a topic they are unfamiliar with. We use them too. While radiant heat is known for its comfort and energy efficiency, different products offer varying levels of performance. For those unfamiliar with radiant heat, discussing the differences between a high mass system and a low mass system is almost like a foreign language. But if we make a car analogy, and say, for example, that radiant heat is like a car, low mass systems are sedans, high mass systems are semi-trucks - this is something everyone can visualize.

And while no analogy is ever perfect, below are a few analogies we often use to help illustrate the difference between the competing technologies of low mass and high mass systems. We hope these will help give you a better understanding of radiant heat and how it works.

As stated above, we are all familiar with cars and trucks on the road. While Warmboard, which is a low-mass system, could be compared to a high-performance sedan, other low-mass systems are older, compact cars. Both get you where you want to go, but the Warmboard car gets you there faster, with better performance, better response times and greater comfort. High mass systems resemble a semi-truck. Very slow to start and get up to speed and in turn, very difficult to slow down. So just as the weather changes throughout the day, Warmboard can adjust accordingly and respond quickly. High mass systems can’t cool down quickly or heat up quickly to meet those needs.

We’ve all been in this situation. We just need a cup of hot water for our coffee or tea or hot chocolate. We pour some water into a cup, and put it in the microwave for a couple minutes. But the kind of cup you choose has a HUGE impact on what happens next.

If you used a glass (think Warmboard), you know that the glass and the water inside are both quite hot. But if you used a coffee mug (think high mass), what happens? The mug is scalding hot, but the water inside is barely warm. Why? The mass of the mug has absorbed all that heat.

And this is a great illustration of how high mass systems work. The heat is sent into the slab, and then the slab slowly releases that heat into the home. It’s like heating the mug in order to get the water hot. Warmboard focuses on heating the home directly.

Frying pans are something we’re all familiar with. They’re relatively thin and lightweight and made of thick aluminum. You put it on the stove, crack a few eggs, and in moments the eggs are cooking. In a minute or two, the entire pan is hot, the eggs are cooking quickly and evenly, and you’re about ready to eat breakfast. It’s a daily occurrence for some of us.

Now, swap out that thin aluminum pan for a thick slab of concrete. How long will it take to cook those eggs? What time do you need to wake up in the morning to begin heating the pan? Will the eggs cook evenly? How long will it take for that concrete pan to cool down?

Again, this illustrates the differences between low mass Warmboard and high mass gypsum-based systems. Click here to watch a thermographic video comparison of the two.

Whether heating water, making an omelette or driving down the highway, the 3 analogies above are easy to understand and help illustrate the differences in these technologies. We hope these help.