Shopping for insulation, you will often see advertising such as ‘high thermal rating’. While you might think it’s obvious that all insulation should have a high thermal rating, that’s not always the case. This is because there are actually several different types of insulation out there, all with different purposes.
For example, there is acoustic insulation, which has better noise-limiting capabilities but lower resistance to heat loss. So, to find out more about what thermal insulation is, and why it’s important, read on!
What does thermal insulation mean?
Thermal insulation refers to the insulation’s ability to resist heat loss. All insulation is measured in terms of its resistance to conductive heat flow. In simple terms, it means how effective the insulation will be in keeping heat in or out of your home.
The thermal rating is also known as an ‘R’ rating, which you’ll see on all insulation products you buy. Generally, the ‘R’ rating, or thermal performance, is determined by the insulation’s thickness and density.
Essentially, thermal insulation is the type you would buy if you are specifically looking to control the temperature inside your home.
So, why does the thermal rating matter?
The thermal rating matters for a couple of reasons. The first one is probably obvious – a better thermal rating means the insulation will create a better barrier to stop heat loss. But there’s another reason you need to take note of the thermal rating.
When choosing insulation for different parts of your home, you need the correct thermal rating. For example, ceiling insulation is rated between 2.5 – 6.0. Wall insulation is not as dense or thick, and should ideally be between 1.5 – 2.7. If you’re insulating under the floor, this is even less dense again, with a thermal rating of 1.7.
Better resistance to heat transfer
Ultimately, the higher the thermal rating, the better the resistance to heat transfer. This is exactly what you’re trying achieve when installing thermal insulation in your home. While it may sound confusing, talking about ‘resistance to conductive heat flow’ or ‘resistance to heat loss’, it’s important to understand the science behind insulation.
Firstly, hot air rises, and this means a lot of heat can escape through your roof without proper insulation. But also, hot air is naturally drawn towards cold areas. So, in winter, the heat tries to escape outside. In summer, the heat outside tries to creep into your cool house. So, the ‘resistance to heat loss’ is an accurate description of thermal performance, because you’re talking about a barrier between the inside and outside that stops hot air from transferring through.
More savings on energy bills
At the end of the day, thermal insulation provides you with better comfort in your home. But it also saves you a lot of money. For example, with good insulation you might put your heater on for an hour, then turn it off. This is because the insulation keeps the warm air inside the room. Without insulation, you constantly have to run the heater to keep up with heat loss, and ultimately this means higher energy bills.