How does thermal insulation work?

To understand thermal insulation, we first need to understand heat and how it moves. Heat moves in three different ways: conduction, convection, and radiation.

Conduction is when heat transfers between two objects by physical contact. Think of pressing your hand on a pane of glass.

Convection is transferring heat by the circulation of a liquid or gas. Heat transferred through the air is a prime example of this, and it is how the heat is transferred from your furnace, through the air ducts, to the rest of your home.

Radiation is the transfer of heat from a warm object through space to a cooler object. This is the heat you feel from sitting next to a warm fire on a cold winter night.

We can control heat through various methods, but the primary way to control conductive and convective heat is with thermal insulation.

How is thermal insulation measured?

When customers ask about getting thermal insulation for their windows, we provide them with the following chart in order to compare Indow Windows to single pane and double pane windows:

CFM stands for the cubic feet per minute, which in this case, refers to the velocity of airflow in a space. The higher the airflow (CFM), the draftier your windows are. As you can see in this chart, single pane windows allow for a high amount of airflow while Indow Windows work as an air sealing measure and stop those drafts.

R-Value is a measure of the thermal insulation, which is the important metric in determining how much insulation a particular material provides. R-value states how much heat transfers through one square foot of a material in one hour. The higher the r-value, the greater the resistance and the greater the insulation.

What does this mean for my windows?

thermal insulation comparisonIf you have single pane windows, you have a high CFM which means you have a high air leakage and the thermal insulation of your windows (R-value) is very low. You probably already know this when you try and sit next to the window in your home to read a book but end up uncomfortable and cold!

To get more comfortable in your home, you should find a solution that lowers the CFM and raises the R-Value. Double pane windows are what many homeowners decide to proceed with, but replacement projects can bring about risks of lead contamination (typically is an issue with any window replacement project for any home built before 1978). It is also not ideal to alter the architectural integrity of your home and loose the beauty of the original windows that may have originally attracted you to the home.

The performance comparison chart shows that Indow Windows provide the thermal insulation you need of a lower CFM and a higher R-Value without having to replace your windows. You can attain the comfort and energy savings you deserve without having to undergo such a huge project!

To learn more about how Indow Windows can help, check out our blog post on mean radiant room temperature or the fantastic findings from a green buildings lab on the ROI of Indow Windows.