Using Insulation Prevents Heat Transfer, Allowing Homeowners to Enjoy Lower Energy Bills and More Moderate Temperatures
One of the laws of nature is that heat always flows from warmer temperatures to cooler temperatures, until there is no longer a difference between the two.
When it comes to heating and cooling a home, heat flows from the hottest living areas to the coldest. This means that in the winter, heat is lost from living areas as it transfers through walls, ceilings and floors to unheated spaces like garages, basements, crawlspaces and attics. In the summer, heat from the outdoors and non-temperature controlled spaces moves into the cooler living spaces and makes them hotter.
To maintain comfortable temperatures, heating systems must replace the warm air lost in the winter months. On the other hand, the heat that creeps in during the summer has to be taken out of the air by the air conditioning system. These processes require a lot of energy, so proper insulation for a home is an important part of maintaining comfortable temperatures and decreasing energy bills.
Most insulation works by slowing down the flow of heat, which moves through a home via conduction, convection and radiation.
Conduction is the transfer of heat through solid objects, such as when heat moves from a warm living room through the wall it shares with the cold garage. Convection is the transfer of heat through liquids or gases. When the front door is opened in the winter, cold air enters a warm room. It mixes with the warm air and lowers the overall temperature of the room. Radiation is the transfer of heat through space in the form of electromagnetic energy. A good example of this is sunlight that heats up an air-conditioned room as it passes through a single-pane window.
In all of these cases, more energy is required to heat or cool the space back to its desired temperature.
Insulation, weather stripping and low-e glass all work to prevent heat from migrating to undesired places – in both summer and winter. Slowing down the rate of heat transfer saves on the amount of energy needed to maintain comfortable temperatures and ultimately lowers energy bills.