Understanding Your House’s Insulation and Heat Transfer

24 August 2022

If you take the time to learn how your home operates before beginning a renovation, you can help guarantee that the finished product lives up to your expectations and that you won’t create any new complications while fixing existing ones. Your heating and cooling system is a key component in enhancing the comfort of your home, lowering your energy costs, and contributing to the reduction of harmful glasshouse emissions.

This article will explain how the principles of building science may assist you in controlling the movement of heat, air, and moisture/humidity, as well as why you must take all of these aspects into consideration simultaneously. Let’s begin!

House Performance Essentials: The Building Envelop

We anticipate that our homes will be solid and long-lasting, that they will protect us from the elements and that they will offer us a pleasant and warm environment. The building envelope, the mechanical system, and the people who are now occupying the space are some of the variables that are working together to satisfy these demands. To put it another way, the building envelope is the house’s exterior shell, made up of all of its structural elements above grade (the foundation), together with its cladding, windows, and doors. Our internal environment is isolated from the outer world by the envelope. The envelope’s job is to regulate the passage of heat, air, and moisture from the inside to the exterior to keep us comfortable indoors.

How Heat Flows Within A Home: Three Ways

Wherever there is a temperature differential, heat will flow. Because hot air rises, many people feel that the ceiling will be the primary source of heat loss. There’s a chance this isn’t the case. Warmth can go up, down, or in any other direction as long as it is going from a warmer location to one that is cooler in temperature.

When molecules bump into one other and transmit heat directly from one region of a structure to another, this is referred to as “Conduction”. The handle of a cast-iron frying pan, for example, will heat up before it reaches your hand. Depending on the structure of the material, some transfer heat better than others. Tiny pockets of air, which are generally poor conductors of heat, are used to reduce heat transfer in insulation.

It’s also possible to transmit heat by the movement of air or a fluid, such as water. Uninsulated wall spaces, for example, let air travel across space, picking up heat from one side of the wall and then losing it on the other. Some heat is also transferred during the mixing of warm and cold air. Many people mistake cold convection currents for air leaks in windows.

When it comes to your house’s heat exchange, radiation is also a component to consider. In the same manner, as the sun and fire do, any item will give off heat when exposed to it. Standing in front of a chilly window will make you feel cold, even though the temperature in the room is above freezing.

How Home Insulation Helps

The main goal of your home’s insulation is to reduce the rate at which heat is transferred from the inside to the exterior of your house. It accomplishes this by slowing the passage of heat via radiation, lowering conduction by trapping air molecules, and convection by restricting the movement of air molecules. Insulation that isn’t properly installed might result in air gaps between the insulation and the building’s fabric or a thin layer of insulation.

Make sure your insulation is properly installed to keep your heat from escaping too rapidly, following on from the previous paragraph. A good vapour barrier, no gaps, uniform thickness, and no items stored on top of it are all things that may be done simply to ensure the integrity of the building’s vapour barrier. You should now have a basic understanding of how insulation functions in your house. To avoid condensation, make sure the insulation is properly installed, with no gaps, and add a vapour control layer. Do not hesitate to contact us if you’d like to learn more about the many insulation options available.

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