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A Closer Look at Insulation R-Value

Insulation is designed to retard the natural process of heat transfer. The laws of thermodynamics state that heat wants to move from warmer areas to colder ones. When the weather outside is warm, this warmth tries to enter your home to heat up the air that’s been cooled by your air conditioning system. In the winter, the warm air inside your home will try to escape to heat up the colder air outside. The efficacy of your home’s insulation in preventing this process from occurring is measured by the product’s R-value. Understanding how R-value works and the types of products available today can help you choose and install insulation with the right R-value for your needs.

Calculating R-Value

R-value is a measure of a material’s ability to resist heat transfer. The larger an insulating product’s R-value, the better it is at keeping the conditioned air you want inside your home and preventing the transfer of heat into or out of your living environment. R-value is calculated by measuring the amount of heat transfer that occurs through a given material per unit of area and per unit of time; while each type of insulation has a unique R-value that cannot be changed, you can increase the ability of an insulating material to resist heat by increasing the thickness of the product to achieve a higher overall R-value. This allows you to balance factors such as R-value with cost to ensure you can find an insulation product that meets both your needs and your budget. For example, a thinner insulating product with a higher R-value may be appropriate in areas of your home with fixed or limited space, such as behind walls and beneath floors. By contrast, you may opt for a thicker insulating product in an unfinished basement or attic, where you appearance doesn’t concern you.

Recommended R-Value

With many types of insulation and many insulating products available, it can be difficult for a homeowner to know the best R-value for the insulation in his home. The US Department of Energy has developed a list of recommended R-values for homes based on their location, which allows for the calculation of the necessary R-value for home comfort and energy efficiency due to the average temperature and weather conditions. New York and Long Island fall within the Department of Energy’s Zone 4, for which an R-value of 38-60 is recommended for attics and an R-value of 25-30 is recommended for floors. Using this information, you and your insulation installers can determine whether your existing insulation is sufficient for optimal home comfort and energy savings, or whether you might consider adding to or replacing your insulation to achieve a higher R-value and keep your energy bills as low as possible throughout the year.

Our home insulation contractors on Long Island can help you evaluate your insulation’s current R-value to determine whether you might benefit from additional insulation installation to improve your home’s thermal stability. We can also guide you through the process of choosing the right insulation for your budget, your preferences, and your needs, including spray foam insulation and eco-friendly insulation options. You can continue reading through our blog to learn more about home insulation and its long-term value, or contact us via our website to get started on a home energy assessment today.

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