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Jacksonville Roofing: Article About Insulation Types and Applications

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An important strategy homeowners can use to conserve energy is to insulate their home. Many different types of insulation can be installed throughout the home. For expert advice on the different applications and types of insulation, homeowners can consult a licensed Jacksonville roofing contractor. They are able to provide other services for the home's thermal envelope besides roofing.

Scientists describe the way that heat is absorbed and travels in three different ways: conduction, convection and radiation. Various types of insulation combat the different types of heat transfer. Each type has its specific uses. The best home insulation strategy combines the three types of insulation, either in a specific application or in the overall structure.

Conduction describes the way that heat travels within a particular material. In order for conduction to occur, the material must be in direct contact with the heat source. Additionally, the material itself must be a good heat conductor. Experience in the kitchen demonstrates this idea. Bare metal cooking utensils quickly become hot when placed in hot liquid, but placing a wood or rubber handle on the utensil stops the heat from being transferred from the metal to a person's hand. This is how rigid foam insulation placed beneath a home's siding and certain types of roofing underlayment work.

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It will not conduct the heat absorbed by the siding or shingles into the home.

Convection describes the way that heat travels through the air or liquid. Heat cannot travel through air trapped by a nonconductive material. This is how the fluffy type batting insulation works in the attic and why such a thick layer of it is needed for maximum insulation. If the insulation becomes wet, it loses its capacity to trap the air and can become heat conductive, depending on its material.

Radiative heat transfer describes how heat from the sun is carried by its electromagnetic energy. This type of energy transfer occurs wherever there is a heat source such as a heating element in a water heater or the burners in a furnace. Insulation against this type of heat is reflective. This type of insulation is typically used to deflect the heat energy elsewhere. Because heat is also transferred by conduction and convection, radiative insulation is often combined with other types of insulation for the highest performance. This is why certain types of appliance insulation, such as for water heaters, have a reflective backing as well as a fluffy layer.

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