How Insulation Affects Heat Transfer

Many people who live in the Minneapolis and St. Cloud area believe that the main purpose of insulation is to keep their homes warm in the wintertime when the snow is falling. While this is true, it overlooks the fact that insulation is just as important during the summertime as it is in the winter. Why? The simple answer boils down to one thing: heat transfer.

To understand exactly how insulation works, it helps to also have an understanding of heat transfer—here’s what you need to know.

What is Heat Transfer?

Heat transfer is what occurs when two or more physical systems exchange energy with one another. The rate at which heat is able to transfer from one thing to another depends upon their individual temperatures and also what the medium is made out of. Heat transfer can typically be broken down into three basic types—conduction, convection and radiation. For reference:

  • Conduction occurs when heat is transferred through solid objects.

  • Convection is the transfer of heat through liquids and gases.

  • Radiation is the transfer of heat between objects and their environment.

All three of these types of heat transfer occur in most homes. While this is great in conditioned spaces, heat transfer between conditioned and unconditioned areas is undesirable. In most cases, the cause can be attributed to improper insulation, which results in high utility bills.

The Solution? Beef-up Your Insulation!

If heat transfer is occurring in your home, you can get a lot of mileage out of beefing-up your insulation. Insulation is especially useful when combined with air sealing, which allows it to operate at its full capacity and stop heat transfer in its tracks. At RetroGreen, we utilize a number of different types of insulation, some of which are more functional in certain circumstances than others. These include:

  • Spray Foam — Spray foam insulation is 50% more effective than traditional insulation products and can help to cut down on the amount of energy loss in your home. Since it also acts as an air sealing product, it’s ideal for insulating walls, windows and doorways.

  • Cellulose — Cellulose is old newspaper that has been treated with a flame retardant. It’s characterized by strong insulating properties and is also ideal for those who are interested in taking a green approach to insulating their homes.

  • Fiberglass — Fiberglass batts, which are constructed from molten glass, can be effective when applied to certain areas scattered throughout the home.

The team at RetroGreen is well-versed in the finer points of insulation and can help choose the materials that are best-suited for your home, whether that is spray foam, RetroFoam, cellulose, fiberglass or otherwise.

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