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What is Insulation & How Exactly Does it Work?

You have probably heard of insulation and have a basic understanding of what it is and does. But do you know exactly how it works? Many homeowners don’t, which is perfectly fine – that’s what this blog post is for!

So, what is insulation? How does insulation work? Why do homes need it? These are all questions that frequently pop up when it comes to insulation.

What Is Insulation?

Insulation is a material that is installed in different areas in homes and buildings (in the walls, ceilings, crawl spaces, etc.) to stop the flow of heat and provide soundproofing. There are a number of different insulation materials, including:

  • Fiberglass insulation
  • Cellulose insulation
  • Foam insulation
  • Radiant barrier insulation

Not all these types of insulation work the same way.

How Does Insulation Work?

Before answering this, let’s first review the different types of heat transfer:

Conduction: flow of heat or energy through solid materials like wood framing or other building materials

Convection: heat flow through gases or liquids

Radiation: heat flow in waves or rays (such as heat from the sun)

Now as for how insulation works, it depends on the insulation material. Fiberglass and cellulose trap the heat. These insulation materials are used to stop conduction. Foam insulation can stop convective heat loss (heat transfer in the form of air transportation) – spray foam fits snugly in the tiny cracks and gaps behind your walls and helps stop air infiltration. Radiant barrier insulation, as the name suggest, reflects radiant heat from the sun, which keeps your home significantly cooler and more comfortable.

Fiberglass, cellulose and spray foam insulation all stop heat transfer into an adjacent, colder area (outside in the winter, and inside your house in the summer). This means your home stays more comfortable all year round!

Which Type of Insulation Should You Install?

Now you can answer the questions, “What is insulation?” and “How does insulation work?” It’s time to decide which type of insulation you need. Ideally, you should have at least a couple different types of insulation. Radiant barrier insulation is installed in attics, right under the roof. Cellulose, fiberglass and spray foam are installed in the walls, basement, crawl spaces, etc.

The type of insulation you’ll install, how much you’ll install and where you’ll install it depends on:

  • Where you live
  • The age of your home
  • The type of HVAC system you have
  • And more

A professional insulation company will be able to assess your situation and help you determine the specifics! If you live in southeastern Virginia, contact the experts at Tidewater Insulators!

services we offer

We install insulation in new and existing homes.

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