Controlling the temperature in the home is very important for comfort and giving the family a sense of wellbeing. When it is cold, a house that is not insulated loses a lot of its heat through the roof, walls, doors and windows. In summer, the roof absorbs heat and keeps it inside the home. Corrugated iron and roof tiles are worse than most roofing solutions as far as temperature control is concerned.
In the past, South Africans did not care much for insulating the home because the climate was pleasant with only a couple of months of real discomfort throughout the year. Because of this, building contractors did not prioritise insulation for their projects. Neglecting to insulate the home allows the transfer of heat by radiation, convection or conduction.
This is the instant transfer of heat. Radiant heat travels long distances unaffected by wind. The best counter action for radiation is to reflect the heat away from the home. The colour of paint also plays a role in the reflection of heat. Dark paint, black being the worst, is unreflective and retains heat. A shiny, highly reflective surface such as aluminium is the answer to radiation.
Convection means that heat is transferred by the circulation of a fluid or gas. This is heat from pipes that carry hot liquids and it takes a while before the effects of convection are felt. Convection heat passes through small gaps that let the heat pass through. To effectively deal with this transfer of heat, insulating the pipes is recommended.
This is the direct transfer of heat between two objects that are touching each other. Conduction explains how heat is lost through solid barriers like doors and walls. Polystyrene foam sheeting, fiberglass blankets and polyurethane foam minimize this transfer.
Insulating the home seeks to reverse the effects of one or more of these heat transfer methods. Insulating materials can be installed above the ceiling or directly underneath the roof. They can also be added to walls with cavities as well as the floor.