We all know that, in the winter, we feel a draft coming through our windows. Our first instinct is to go to the store and buy some weather stripping or insulation to try and seal up the house. But does this actually work?
Science of Insulation: Did You Know This?
Does sealing up our homes with insulation truly save on energy costs? Let’s look at what science says about this:
The Physics of Heat Transfer
To understand how insulation works, we must first understand a bit about heat transfer. There are three ways that heat can be transferred: conduction, convection, and radiation.
The transfer of heat through solid objects is known as conduction. For example, if you touch a metal pan on the stove, you will feel heat because your skin is conductive. The same occurs with houses—heat can flow through walls via conduction.
Heat is transferred via liquids or gases through convection. If you’ve ever been near a campfire, you would have felt the warmth of the air rising from the flames. The hot air is less dense than the cold air surrounding it, so it rises. The same goes for your furnace—the hot air rises and circulates your home through ductwork.
Radiation is the transfer of heat through electromagnetic waves. You’re probably most familiar with this one—it’s why we feel the warmth from the sun even though there is no physical contact between us. Radiation can also happen indoors; for example, infrared lamps emit electromagnetic waves that create heat, even though there is no physical contact between us and the light.
How Does Insulation Work?
Insulation works by decreasing heat transfer via one or more of these methods. For example, fiberglass batting stops heat transfer via conduction by trapping pockets of air within its fibers; styrofoam does the same thing but also decreases convective heat loss because it’s not as thermally conductive as other materials like wood or metal. Radiant barriers reflect radiant energy rather than absorb it, which decreases heat gain via radiation.
Does It Actually Work?
The answer is yes! While many factors affect how much money you can save by insulating your homes—such as climate, home age, and size—insulation is generally effective at reducing energy costs associated with heating and cooling your home.
Insulation has many benefits for your home. Insulation keeps heat in your home during winter and cool air inside during summer. It also helps to reduce noise pollution and can even help to save on your energy bills. In addition, insulation can help to protect your home from fire and pests. Home insulation is a worthwhile investment that can pay off in many ways.
Many factors affect how much money you can save by insulating your home—such as climate, home age, size, etc.—but insulation is generally effective at reducing energy costs associated with heating and cooling your home.
Would you like to learn more about insulation installation? Get your free estimate here.