Insulating your home is one of the most important things you can do – not only to assure a high level of comfort for you and your family, but also to keep energy costs low and maximises the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems.
There are all sorts of ways to think about insulation and numerous analogies to help you to understand how it actually works.
What Is Insulation?
Before you start to consider how it works, it’s important to understand exactly what insulation is. The correct term is in fact ‘thermal insulation’ and this is used to describe the vast variety of products that reduce and prevent heat loss or gain. This is generally done by creating a barrier between areas of different temperatures.
A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words
When Insulation is explained using a diagram, you’ll generally see an image of a home with a lot of heat escaping from the roof. This is why insulation is most commonly associated with being in the roof of a home – although it’s also often in the walls and floors too.
Air is not a good conductor of heat, so insulation helps to track tiny pockets of air which minimises the amount of heat which can then pass from the inside out or vice versa.
In Winter, Insulation will keep your home warm and cosy by ensuring that the heat stays in, whilst in Summer it’ll help to keep things cool and comfortable by ensuring the heat stays out.
Nobody wants their coffee going cold on a chilly Winter’s day, just like you don’t want your home to drop in temperature either.
Coffee cups are in fact a great way to explain how insulation works well. Firstly, you can think about the top of the cup – if you haven’t got a lid on it, the chances are the heat will quickly escape and your coffee will go cold. Just imagine the lid is the roof of your home – keep the heat in your home with ceiling insulation and you could take 20% off your heating bill.
Have a think about the material that coffee cups are made from. Thin, paper cups allow the heat to quickly escape – whereas thicker materials or holders placed around the outside will reduce this amount. Just swap the cup holder for wall insulation!
Live Like Animals
Houses and coffee cups aren’t the only thing that insulation applies to. Have a think about all those animals who survive in Arctic conditions or swim for hours in icy water. Humans wouldn’t last very long in freezing conditions, but those animals with a layer of insulation have a lot more success.
Polar bears, for instance, have a layer of blubber which keeps them warm and allows them to trap the heat inside and keep the cold outside. As humans, we sometimes adopt this idea when we wear multiple layers of clothing on cold days – just like insulating a house, you want to trap as much heat in as possible.