When you’re adding insulation to your home, the insulating R-value tells your the product’s efficiency. It’s the industry standard for how insulation is measured, and the Federal Trade Commission penalizes any inaccurate or misleading R-value claims. But does this standardization mean that insulation with the same R-value performs identically in all homes? You might be surprised.
For one thing, the quality of the installation work can have a significant effect on how well the material insulates. Gaps in insulation coverage and poor installation can allow your home to lose heat during the heating season and gain heat during the summer.
For another thing, test conditions for R-values often subject the material to extreme conditions that don’t reflect reality. Most insulation is tested for performance with temperatures around 100 degrees F on one side and around 50 degrees on the other – neither one of which is ideal for home comfort. So, the insulating R-value listed on materials might not always be the rating as it will work in your home.
Finally, some forms of insulation actually change their resistance to heat transfer as temperatures get colder: fiberglass batting, for example, becomes more efficient as the temperature drops. This works out well for the Grand Traverse County area, with its mild summers and severe winters, but homeowners in different parts of the country may need to prioritize hot-weather insulation to keep summertime heat from infiltrating.
Insulation can be a tricky beast, and it always helps to consult an expert who’s familiar with the local climate and what materials perform best. If you have any questions about winterizing your home, or want to learn more about what an insulating R-value really means, please contact us at Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing.
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 R-Value and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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