A Quick Guide to Understanding Heat Transfer


Generally speaking, heat transfer is the movement of heat from a warmer area to a cooler area. This movement is a natural process of the heat, caused by its molecular makeup, but for homeowners, it can be a tormenting force to contend with. Explained below are the three major types of heat transfer, conductive, radiant, and convective.

Understanding Heat Transfer

Conductive Heat

This is the direct transfer of heat from one surface to another. For example, when you place a pot of water on the stove to boil. The heat transfers from the burner to the pot, and then from the pot to the water molecules. As a temperature equilibrium is slowly reached, eventually the water will come to a boil.

Radiant Heat

Radiant heat is heat in the form of waves radiating out from a source, much like the way that the sun heats Earth, even though the two are not touching. Radiant heat can be quite powerful—just think of how hot a desert can be during the day, and then how drastically cold it gets at night when the radiant heat is taken away.

Convective Heat

Also known as simply convection, convective heat transfer is the movement of heat from one place to another through fluids such as liquids and gases. Essentially, with convection, heat will travel anywhere where there is airflow, and will naturally want to move to a cooler place. For example, when you heat your home during the winter, the warm air will try to move outside to where it is cooler because heat naturally wants to create a temperature equilibrium. Likewise, during the summer months when you keep your home nice and cool, the hot air outside will try to infiltrate your home and even out the temperature disparity between the interior and exterior.

Contact Frey Construction

To learn more about how heat transfer can affect your home’s comfort level, or for information about having energy-efficient windows and doors installed on your home to help reduce convective heat transfer, contact Frey Construction today. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have and schedule a free initial consultation at your Madison-area home.