Insulation

By: Mansi Arora


Insulation is a material that is used to prevent the transfer of heat. To understand insulation better, we must first be aware of what convection, conduction, and radiation are. Convection is when heat circulates through liquids and gases, providing you home with lighter and warmer air rises, filling you home with cool and dense air. Conduction is when heat travels through objects causing them to heat up. Radiation heat travels in a straight line and heats any solid material in its way. Many of the insulation materials function by slowing the conduction heat flow and lessens the convection heat flow. Radiant barriers and reflective insulation systems work by reducing the heat gain in homes and buildings. Insulation can benefit us in many ways such as preventing moisture condensation, fire protection, reduces the capacity of new equipment used for insulation, etc.


The insulation material is usually placed in walls of homes and buildings and it controls the flow of heat. Heat flows from a warmer to a cooler place until the temperature in both places stabilizes. During the summer, the heat flows from the outside to the inside. In winters, the heat flows from the inside to the outside of the home.


A well-insulated home can save energy costs and reduce electricity bills as well-insulated walls and floors decrease the heat flow by providing an effective resistance to the flow of heat. Insulation also protects the environment as it can reduce energy consumption due to less fuel being burnt to produce energy. The burning of the fuel releases carbon dioxide which is the major cause of global warming and sulphur dioxide which is the major component of acid rain.


Insulation can reduce energy consumption and increase cost savings. According to statistics, the heating and the cooling for an average house comprise 54% of the annual utility bills. Heating costs can be reduced by the insulation of basement walls by 10% to 20%, other wall insulation by 67%, floors insulation by 10%, and attic insulation by 40%. Thus, insulation can save homeowners thousands of dollars and help reduce the levels of carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide in the environment.


Image Credit: Flickr @ fizz_in_space

There are various insulation materials that can be used to reduce heat transfer such as fibreglass, polystyrene, cellulose, and polyisocyanurate. Fibreglass is one of the most popular insulation materials and is used primarily for duct insulation and rigid boards. Polystyrene is an excellent sound and temperature insulation material. It is lightweight and waterproof. It is used for foam board insulation. Cellulose is eco-friendly as it is made from recycled paper products. Cellulose is often utilized for open attic insulations and to cover cavities in walls and ceilings. Polyisocyanurate is a plastic insulation material which has low conductivity. It is available in different forms such as sprayed foam, liquid and foam boards. It is normally applied for wall and ceiling panels.


Enbridge is an insulation company that initiated a program, which offers rebates for insulation to homeowners up to $5,000. This program was initiated on June 15, 2000, to encourage homeowners to insulate their homes and save on energy.

Insulation provides several advantages as well-insulated homes and buildings can save energy costs, reduce electricity and utility bills. It can also decrease the levels of carbon dioxide which is a major cause of global warming and sulphur dioxide which is a major component of acid rain. A well-insulated home can keep us warm. Thus, it is very important to insulate homes.

Questions: Q: How can insulation benefit us?

A: Insulation protects us by keeping us warm. Besides, it can save energy costs, reduce electricity and utility bills.

Q: Can different materials be used for insulation?

A: Yes. Many materials can be used for insulation. However, the most common ones used in homes are fibreglass, polystyrene, and cellulose. All the insulation materials are used for different purposes and each one of them has its benefits.



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