If you are considering building a new home or remodeling an older home; take some time to research ways to best insulate your home to make it as comfortable and energy efficient as possible. So many people never consider the importance that proper insulation can play in the health and longevity of your home. R-value is a topic that will come up when planning your insulation project, but what does it mean and how does it affect your home’s energy performance? When a home is properly insulated to an appropriate R-value for its location, it will keep energy bills down, maintain comfort inside, and improve the resale value. Let’s take a closer look at R-value!
What is R-Value?
When talking about insulation, R-value is the measure of how well a material will resist heat flow. Insulation materials will have an assigned R-value number that represents the ability to resist heat transfer. The higher the number the better the material is at insulating your home. This number is representative of one inch of insulation so the deeper the material the better it is also. For example blown-in cellulose insulation has an average R-value of 3.5; with twelve inches of product we have an R-value total of 42. One inch of insulation at a R-value of 20 will have the same performance properties of 2 inches of insulation with a R-value of 10. There are many different types of insulation that serve different purposes in the home all with their own R-values. Next let’s talk about the R-values of different insulation materials.
R-Values of different Insulation Types.
There are several options for insulation to consider when it comes to either building a new home or improving existing insulation in an older home. If you are planning to improve an existing home’s insulation, the attic is the best place to start. Most of the heat transferred in and out of your home will be through the attic so properly insulating your attic is the first place to start saving money on energy bills. There are a lot of insulation materials available to meet different needs, but not all are created equal. Let’s take a look at a couple of different materials and their R-values.
- Blown-in or Loose-fill insulation has a low R-value per inch but is adjustable by just adding more depth. Cellulose has the highest R-value of blown-in insulation at an average of 3.5. Fiberglass is the cheapest and easiest to install but is the lowest performer at about 2.4.
- Batt or Rolled insulation is fiberglass that comes in sheets that roll out to cover an area. This material has a fixed R- value and is best suited for walls and floors. These rolls can be purchased at different R-values depending on your application needs.
- Rigid Insulation boards are dense sheets of insulation that have a high R-value of 5 per inch of thickness. This product is best installed during construction due to difficulty of installation.
- Spray foam insulation is another high performer similar to rigid boards. For best results this product should be installed during construction.
R-Value For Your Climate
The R-value that your home needs to perform at its best during the hottest and coldest months is determined by your geographic location. The further north you may live the higher the R-value you need to maintain comfort levels in your home. In the north it is recommended to insulate your attic in the range of R49 to R60 while the floors range from R25 to R30. Homeowners in the south will see great benefit having an attic rated at R30 to R60 and floors rated at R13 to R19. You can check this map from the United States Department of Energy to find the R-value that best suits the region you live in.
Home Shield Insulation is a Charlotte N.C. based energy efficiency company that is dedicated to helping you lower your home energy costs, reducing your carbon footprint, and bringing comfort to your home. Most of the time insulating an attic is the last thing people think about when improving their home, but can give them the most bang for their buck. Not only can Insulating your home be a great way to save on monthly energy bills; but with current tax credits and energy rebates you can have some of the installation cost covered and get money back on your returns. Having your attic insulation brought to the proper R-value can start to save you money right away while making your home more comfortable and adding value to your home.