The R-values of the insulation in your home make a big impact on your conditioning bills and interior comfort. These values indicate how long the insulation resists heat transfer, and each numeric digit behind the “R” indicates an hour’s worth of thermal protection. The R stands for resistance and the type of heat that insulation blocks is the kind that travels through solid objects, like your roof, floor and walls.
Since ours is such a cold climate, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends that attics have from 16 to 20 inches of insulation, with an R-value range from 49 to 60. The most common kinds of attic insulation are fiberglass batts or blown-in loose insulation. Fiberglass batts have an R-value of approximately 3 per inch, while sprayed and rigid foam board’s insulation ranges from 5 to 6.5.
If space is exceptionally tight, a contractor can spray the foam on the roof’s sheathing to give you additional protection from heat transfer. Foam insulation products are also useful in places where space is tight.
Inadequate wall insulation will also hasten heat transfer, and as a rule, the R-values in walls are lower than those in the attic. You can check your walls by turning off a circuit breaker to a light switch or outlet that sits on an exterior wall and removing the cover. Look inside to see how much insulation is present.
If your home has 2 x 4 construction, chances are the insulation is R-11 to 13. If you have 2 x 6 construction, the insulation is probably R-19. If you find areas of missing or inadequate insulation in the walls, a contractor can blow it into the walls without removing the drywall or siding.
Other insulated areas in your home may include the basement, its ceiling, the foundation walls, or a crawl space, all of which contribute to your home’s ability to resist heat transfer, keeping your heating and cooling bills lower.
To learn more about R-values, contact Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing, proudly serving Grand Traverse County and the surrounding area.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about insulation and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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