The insulation in your home now may not be the optimal insulation for savings. Some homes are constructed with the bare minimum of insulation needed to meet building codes. With the weather we get around Grand Traverse County, upgrading from those minimum levels will both save you money and keep you more comfortable.
Why R-Value Matters
For the greatest energy efficiency, each part of your home should contain insulation within a specific R-value range. An insulation’s R-value indicates its thermal resistance, meaning its ability to slow down heat moving from a warmer to a cooler place. The higher the R-value, the more efficient the insulation.
If the R-value of your home’s insulation is too low, your home will suffer from high winter heat loss and summer heat gain. By adding insulation, you can better maintain your indoor temperatures and reduce your heating and cooling expenses.
Different types of insulation provide different R-values per inch of thickness. This is similar to how a thin down blanket keeps you warmer than a thick cotton one. R-values for some common insulation types are:
- Standard fiberglass batts: R-2.9 to R-3.8 per inch
- High-performance fiberglass batts: R-3.7 to R-4.3 per inch
- Loosefill cellulose: R-3.2 to R-3.8 per inch
- Rigid foam boards: R-3.6 to R-6.7 per inch
More eco-friendly insulation materials are also available, including:
- Cotton (recycled jeans): R-3.4 per inch
- Sheep’s wool: R-3.5 per inch
Upgrading Your Insulation
To choose insulation for savings, you’ll need to know how much of what type of insulation to install in each part of your home. In Northern Michigan, assuming there’s already 3 or 4 inches of insulation in your attic, install an additional R-38 to R-49 layer. This might be a 12-inch layer of loosefill cellulose or a 13-inch layer of standard fiberglass batts. Insulation in your floors should reach R-25 to R-30 level. Before you replace your siding, add a layer of R-5 rigid foam sheathing.
For professional assessment of your home’s insulation and help choosing and installing insulation for savings, contact us at Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing in Grand Traverse County.
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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