Being knowledgeable about how insulation works is vital in enabling you to choose the best-suited product for your project and the realization of the desired objective. In simple terms, insulation refers to the products used to prevent heat flow (thermal insulation, or sound waves flow (acoustic insulation) to the outside.
How Insulation Works
You might be wondering how insulation works. We will answer this question by explaining how the three heat transfer mechanisms differ from each other. Thermal insulation involves creating a barrier to avoid the three ways in which heat moves from one area to the other. The three methods include:
Heating Up A Building
Heat energy moves from warm to cool areas until the difference in temperature becomes equal. When insulating a structure, it is essential to mitigate against all the three mechanisms of heat transfer.
With the everyday shinning of the sun, heat is radiated onto the roof of buildings. The roof could be made of tiles or tin, which pick up the heat and start to heat up. Both tin and tiles have a high energy conductivity. The heat starts to move from the top side of the roofing material to its underside.
From here, the heat can be released into the atmosphere as radiant heat, or it can be transferred to other parts of the building that is in contact with the roofing material such as roof trusses.
The hot roof then starts to emit heat to the space between it and the ceiling. In the process, the air around the roof and the underside of the ceiling plasterboard start to heat up as well.
Once the plasterboard ceiling becomes heated up, it starts to release heat into the living area making the room to become warm.
Thermal insulation serves to reduce heat transfer into the living area for comfortable living. Different insulation products and methods can be used to achieve this objective.
How Reflective Insulation Works
Also known as foil insulation, it is installed below the tin or tile roof. It is highly effective in combating heat radiation with only about 3% of heat being transferred to its surroundings when properly installed. The installation requires an adjacent air gap for maximum efficiency. To cater for the 3% heat that escapes foil insulation, another layer of insulation is necessary.
How Bulk Insulation Works
Bulk insulation involves installing loose fibre rolls or batts. Usually in the space between the roof and the ceiling to prevent heat radiation to and from the living space.
Bulk insulation has numerous small air pockets that help prevent heat transfer since air is a poor heat conductor. The bulkier the insulation, the more time it takes before the heat can pass to the ceiling plasterboard’s underside and eventually increase the temperature in the living space.
The R-Value is used to measure the speed at which heat is radiated through bulk insulation. Insulation materials with a high R-Value provide superior protection against heat conduction compared to those with a low R-value.