Before we discover how insulation works, it’s important to consider how heat travels. The two main ways in which heat can travel are through conduction and convection. Conduction describes how heat moves through a certain material, such as a radiator or a frying pan. Convection is the way in which hot and cool air moves (hot air rises and cool air sinks).
When your heating system comes on, hot water moves around the pipes and radiators. Thanks to conduction, the radiator becomes hot and can spread this warmth throughout the rooms in your home. However, heat will always flow towards cold air, and this is where it can be lost to areas of your home that don’t have radiators, such as an attic, or even outside the home altogether.
This is where insulation comes in. Insulation contains small pockets in which air can be trapped. When this happens, it is much harder for heat to escape as it can’t break through these air pockets. This means that the heat is forced to stay inside a building which results in the insulation acting as a kind of barrier. So why does insulating your house reduce energy bills? Well, without this barrier, your boiler would need to work harder to replace the escaping heat, meaning it could use a lot more energy than a home that has good insulation – in turn, cutting down costs on your bills.
It’s important to have a combination of cavity wall and loft insulation, while also making sure that windows are sealed and double glazed to properly contain the heat. In a large commercial space, such as an office, there may be more avenues for heat to escape, resulting in a less efficient building.