Understanding home insulation
December 7, 2017
Every homeowner knows that insulating a home is important for comfort and energy efficiency. But it’s equally important to understand how home insulation works so you ensure you’re taking the right steps to effectively prevent the swap of interior and exterior temperatures. Insulation provides resistance to heat flow. Heat flow is the movement of warm or hot air to cooler air. The flow continues until there is a balance of temperatures. For example, hot air will continue to flow into your home on a hot day until the inside temperature is equal to the outside. On a pleasant spring or fall day, you might open up the windows to take advantage of the ideal temperature. When the weather is more extreme, however, you need to manage the heat flow. When you buy a new home, insulation is installed to slow down the movement of heat. Now, heat flow moves in three ways:
- Conduction: Heat moves through a material, like a metal pot absorbing heat.
- Convection: Heat circulates through liquids and gases, and since hot air is lighter, it rises above cold air.
- Radiation: Heat travels along a straight path and absorbs energy from anything along that route.