How Does Insulation Work?
February 25, 2021
To understand how insulation works, you’ll first need to understand the three basic principles of heat flow: conduction, convection, and radiation.
- Conduction is when heat travels through material. An example is when a spoon is placed in a hot cup of water. The spoon conducts heat through its handle to warm your fingers.
- Convection is when heat circulates through liquids and gases. It causes warm air to rise and cool air to sink.
- Radiation occurs when heat moves in a straight line to heat solid objects around it. The objects absorb the heat energy.
What is Insulation?
Homeowners use thermal insulation to block heat flow. But how does insulation work? Essentially, it creates a barrier between warm and cool temperatures by either reflecting thermal radiation or decreasing thermal conduction and convection from one object to the other. Spray foam is a popular type of insulation because it is uniquely-equipped to block heat transfer.
Insulation Regulates Heat Flow
Heat typically moves from a warmer place to a cooler place until it reaches a point where no temperature difference can be detected. From a homeowner’s viewpoint, heat travels directly from every warm living space to surrounding areas with no heat, such as attics, basements, garages, and outdoors. Heat can also flow indirectly through walls, ceilings, and floors where there’s a difference in temperature. During the hot summer months, heat flows from outside to inside the home. Spray foam insulation is a popular choice because it is great at regulating heat flow.
Insulation is Designed to Maintain Comfort
To ensure your family’s comfort during the winter, your heating system must replace any amount of heat that escapes from within your home. Inversely, heat that enters your home during the summer needs to be eliminated by a cooling system. Spray foam insulation helps keep conditions within the home comfortable and energy-efficient by reducing all methods of heat transfer from coming in and out of the home.
R-value measures how resistant insulation is to conductive heat. The R-value is dependent on the insulation’s thickness, as well as its density. For some insulation types, factors like temperature, moisture accumulation, and aging also play a part.
How to Increase R-Values
The more insulation you get, the higher your home’s R-value will be. Generally, thicker insulation will increase your R-value. But, but when the thickness of loose-fill insulation increases, its density may increase as a result of compression from the weight of the product itself. This process in turn makes the R-value of loose-fill insulation irrelevant to its thickness. Meanwhile, thick spray foam has an excellent R-value, which means it’s an ideal choice for insulating your property.
Learn More By Consulting an Expert
Talk with one of our experienced contractors to learn more about how insulation work, and how much insulation you will need for your project. Contact us today!