In this article I’m going to show you the three ways your house is being heated up and explain what you have to do if you want to have a nice and comfortable environment for you and your family.
By the end of this article you’ll have a proper understanding about heat transfer and its types as well as the simple steps you have to take in order to have your house cool and fresh – stick with me and I’ll show you.
Let’s first take a look at why heat is transferred. Heat will always transfer from an area of high temperature to an area of low temperature until an equilibrium is reached. In the summer and wintertime your aim should be to slow this temperature movement as much as possible.
Now that we know why heat is transferred let’s dive a bit deeper into the concepts of this transfer and check out the three main ways that heat can be transferred into your home. The three ways are Radiation, Conduction and Convection, and are explained below:
Radiation – Is the transfer of heat through electromagnetic waves. It is what causes your food to heat up in the microwave. Different objects, such as black and dark colored objects absorb and radiate this heat far more than silver or light objects will. The roof is the largest surface area of the home and is exposed to the sun all day. Dark colored roofs and walls will absorb the sun’s rays and transfer their heat into the home, particularly into the roof space. Most houses will have some form of protective insulation to stop this radiation entering the home. The downside of this insulating foil is that it is a good conductor of heat and therefore will still allow an amount of heat to transfer into the roof space.
Conduction – This transfer occurs when two objects are in contact with each other. It is what causes fry pans to heat up on the stovetop. It’s also one of the ways that heat travels from outside your home to inside. As your roof and windows start to heat up they conduct their heat into the air that touches them, which then easily flows through your house.
Convection – Is the transfer of heat through the movement of liquids and gases. It is why the water in the jug boils even though the heating element is only at the bottom of the jug. In your home hot air leaks in through floorboards, gaps around the doors, windows and holes around the cornices and ceiling. This airflow will minimize the effectiveness of your air conditioner. Trying to cool a room when convection currents are unattended is like attempting to fill a colander full of water.
OK… by now you must be asking yourself – I have all these heating problems at my place, what should I do to avoid or reduce them?
Well, I’ve got bad news and good news for you.
The bad news is, they cannot be completely avoided. If you live in Sydney, you are unlikely to completely avoid the sun heating your house. But don’t freak out, it’s all good!
Now I’m going to give you the good news…
For all these 3 problems there are simple solutions that are going to reduce the heat and keep your house nice and cool.
- Use light colours: Recent studies have shown that a light-coloured roof can have approximately 31% lower heat gain than a dark roof;
- Insulation: An insulating foil screen is usually installed in most homes under the roof and over the ceiling. There are two types of insulation – Reflective and Bulky (but I’ll give more details about this two types of insulation in an upcoming article). You can check by looking through the man hole and checking if there is a protective foil underneath the roof tiles and if there is insulation on top of your ceiling. Insulation is the buffer between two air temperatures.
- Shade: Shading on exterior walls and the roof will stop heat radiating into your house. Planting trees today, although this is a long-term solution it is extremely effective in lowering house temperatures in the summer and possibly the most cost effective and sustainable in the long term. If you still want the winter sun to warm the house consider some deciduous trees which will give you the best of both worlds. There is a good variety of fast growing trees which you will see the benefits of within 3 years
- Ventilation: Roof Ventilation such as whirly birds will quickly move the heated air within the roof space out before it flows into your home and heats up your insulation;
- Insulation: The insulation can be installed not only on the roof but also in the walls in between the studs (wall frames) in which insulation can be fitted. This needs to be done during construction or a renovation though as you need access inside your walls.
- Minimize air flow leakage: by sealing doors and windows with weather strips as much as possible you can minimize the air to flow throughout your home and attempting to make the roof and floor close to air tight.
- Get rid of hot air: Minimize the amount of hot air in your roof space by installing an adequate roof ventilation system.
In our busy lives today sometimes it’s easier to let someone else do the “research” and sell you their solution to your problem. But do they really want to solve your problem or merely make a sale?
If your house is too hot, one solution may be to buy a bigger air conditioner. But will that help stop the problem of heat? Or merely mask it? I’m not anti A/C by any means, I love them! They do an excellent job at cooling the air in your home. However using a large A/C unit on its own to cool a house is a little like turning on your kitchen range hood to get rid of the smoke when your stove is on fire, but not putting out the fire…
It’s going to help clear the smoke because this is what it is design for, but it’s not going to stop the fire.
Different types of heat require different methods to stop them. Each process whether it’s insulation, ventilation, air conditioning or planting trees serves its purpose. But combined, they’ll work together beautifully to create the comfortable environment you long for on those hot and stuffy days.
We’ve briefly looked at a variety of solutions that could work on your home, but with so many products on the market what works and what doesn’t? In our next article we look at a few solutions in detail.
Finally, do you think this information was useful to you? Are there any other questions you’d like answered? Leave a comment below and tell me what you think. Your participation is very important, and is what keeps this Blog going.