Types of heat transfer

The three types of heat transfer are conduction, convection, and radiation. 

  1. Conduction: Conduction is the transfer of heat through direct contact between objects or substances. It occurs when two objects at different temperatures are in contact with each other, and the heat energy transfers from the hotter object to the colder one. This transfer happens due to the vibration and collision of atoms or molecules within the objects. Metals are good conductors of heat, which is why they feel cold to the touch when they are at a lower temperature.
  1. Convection: Convection is the transfer of heat through the movement of a fluid (liquid or gas). It occurs when there is a temperature difference within the fluid, causing it to circulate and carry heat energy from one place to another. Convection can happen in two ways:
    • Natural convection: This occurs when heated fluids, such as air or water, rise due to their lower density, and cooler fluids sink to replace them. This creates a natural circulation pattern known as convection currents.
    • Forced convection: This happens when a fluid is forced to move, typically by an external source like a fan or a pump. The forced movement enhances the transfer of heat and speeds up the process.
  1. Radiation: Radiation is the transfer of heat through electromagnetic waves. Unlike conduction and convection, radiation does not require a medium to transfer heat and can occur even in a vacuum. Any object with a temperature above absolute zero (-273.15 degrees Celsius or -459.67 degrees Fahrenheit) emits thermal radiation. An example would be the sun. This radiant heat travels in the form of electromagnetic waves, including infrared radiation, visible light, and even higher-energy waves like ultraviolet and X-rays.

At Energy Improvements, we focus our attention on radiant heat; because we have the ability to improve the comfort and energy levels of a home by using our knowledge of radiant heat. Radiant heat is what emits on our homes everyday, which means we have to run our AC unit more often. But we have found more than one solution to use what we know of radiant heat to help people save money and energy:

Radiant Barrier: By installing an energy shield radiant barrier into your attic, you will reflect up to 95% of the radiant heat that comes into your home, keeping you cooler in the summer. This means your home is heating up as much, therefore your AC is working less, saving you energy and money on your electricity bill. 

Solar Power: by installing solar panels, you are absorbing the radiant heat (sun rays) and converting that energy to power your home. With solar panels, you’re collecting energy that you will use throughout the day, and store for future use.  Again, this means you're spending less on your electricity bill and saving more energy. 

So there you have it! The three types of heat transfers and why it is important to understand them. For more information on our services and how to improve the your home comfort and savings, visit our website: energyimprovements.net