Where to begin?

Yesterday we started our “How to Winterize Your Home” series by introducing you to the three ways heat moves around – Conduction, Convection, and Radiation.  We had a very clever reader, one of our regular followers, call with a comment saying that there is a fourth way heat moves.  Yes Eric, you are right – heat moves with Evaporation also.  Evaporating liquids moves heat away from the source.  Think about how you perspire in the summer as a natural way to cool down.  

Thanks for the help with the topic of Heat Loss and add Evaporation to the ways Heat moves.

Over the next few days and possibly weeks we will be talking a lot about how to prevent Heat Loss.  And, you will see us constantly pointing to Cold Air Penetration as a major enemy of Energy Conservation.  Let’s take a look at Cold Air:

  1. Cold air is that mass of air that is colder than the interior of your home, it does not necessarily need to be bitter-cold but it will be colder than the interior temperature of your home.
  2. Density, air has a measurable density that changes with temperature and pressure.  So……., air around Lake Champlain is apt to be more dense than air up on top of Mt. Mansfield because the atmosphere has weight and pushes downward on the air causing it to compress and shrink in size.  Cold air is typically more dense and occupies less space than warmer air. 
  3. Weight of air can also be measured with dense cold air weighing more than warmer air that is less dense.
  4. The weight of the air and the corresponding atmospheric pressure is very important when trying to examine Heat Loss in your home.

This is what happens:  as cold-dense air sinks to ground level it shrinks in size, or if you want to use scientific terms, the cold-dense air has a smaller mass as it gets colder and sinks lower and lower to the ground.  This is why during bitter cold times of winter the super cold spots are always in the deep valleys – the cold air falls downward. 

Cold air wants to fall downward while warm air wants to rise, and this is caused by the varying density of air and atmospheric pressure.  Cold air is more dense and warm air is less dense.  Take a look at today’s photograph, what makes these balloons rise up over Shelburne Bay?

Yes, this directly impacts how efficiently you are able to heat your home. 

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