21 Mar R-Value: The Key to Home Comfort(Last Updated On: March 21, 2019)
As a homeowner, one of the most important things is enjoying your house. From pride in owning your own space to making lifelong memories, there are many benefits of homeownership. However, as a homeowner if you are constantly uncomfortable, then those memories will be about bundling up on the couch. Fortunately, insulation (and air sealing) helps make those memories better. And, the key to insulation is r-value!
Why insulation and r-value make a difference in your home comfort?
Many times, the best fix to a problem remains a simple solution. And home discomfort is no different. We all know about home insulation because it works.
Insulation traps heat. Proper insulation forces hot air to move towards its natural state in cooler spaces throughout your home. Therefore, proper insulation ensures a warm home in the winter and cool home in the summer, along with lower energy bills. It’s that simple and it really works.
Additionally, proper installation relies on the r-value of the insulation.
“And at the heart of installation lies R factor insulation. Experienced HVAC techs and insulation installers start with the r-value, which measures a material’s resistance to conductive heat flow. R-Value measures (or rates) the thermal resistance of insulation, which means the higher the R-value, the greater the insulating effectiveness.”
Finally, the r-value depends on the type of insulation. For example, cellulose, fiberglass and spray foam insulation all contain different r-values because they are made from different materials. And each of those materials contains a different resistance to heat. Plus, insulation varies between the attic, wall and crawl space. Additionally, the R-value of insulation also depends on temperature, aging, and moisture accumulation. Therefore, when calculating the r-value of a multilayered installation, experienced technicians add the r-values of the individual layers.
What is the r-value in my home?
Unfortunately, most home simply do not contain sufficient information. In particular, older homes lack the basic insulation of newer homes because building codes simply did not include insulation standards. However, now, building codes include a minimum amount of insulation levels. But, frequently, these levels remain insufficient! As a result, home contain drafty rooms, significant energy loss, along with increased utility bills throughout the year. Due to the constant discomfort, many homeowners blame their HVAC system, but in reality, the most common culprit remains an insufficient amount of insulation.
Fortunately, home energy audits offer a simple method to understand the r-value throughout your home! For example, watch a recent news report that shadows our team through an energy audit.
Comprehensive energy audits include modern technology (such as infrared cameras) that capture the insulation levels (and needs) in your home. This step remains crucial because the infrared technology captures significant heat loss within a home. As a result, homeowners receive factual results and actionable recommendations.
Without an audit, homeowners must make insulation decisions based on estimates. However, creating the proper insulation levels requires science based on understanding r-values!
What mistakes do homeowners make with their insulation?
Typically, homeowners make two mistakes during any insulation project.
First and foremost, homeowners work with a cheap technician thinking all insulation is the same. As we learned, r-value calculations ensure each and every room in your house contain the proper amounts of insulation. Frequently, homeowners find a “blow and go” insulation company. These teams address the insulation issue, but do not provide a lasting solution.
The second mistake relates to air sealing.
“Insulation works best when air is not moving around or through it. It is very important to seal air leaks first to ensure you get the best possible results from your insulation.”
According to the US Department of Energy, proper air sealing and insulation helps reduce your home’s energy costs by as much as 30%! Plus, by adding insulation without air sealing first only yields minimal improvements. Additionally, air sealing addresses leakage, which occurs when external air enters a house through cracks, gaps, and openings.
Finally, without relying on experienced technicians and an energy audit, homeowners miss important areas. For example, frequently, we see little to no insulation in the attic. Interestingly, most homes have the equivalent of a large open window in combined air leaks in their attic alone! So, if you are looking to avoid insulation mistakes, go to your attic and look around; if you can see your ceiling joists, you need additional insulation.
How can SolvIt help improve r-values in your home?
In addition to conducting home energy audits, SolvIt is here to answer all of your questions. For example, we provide a FREE quote and estimate, which helps find the correct areas and type(s) of insulation your home would benefit from most.
Additionally, proudly offers home energy checkups, which is supported by Energize Connecticut and The Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund. The Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund is supported by all Eversource and United Illuminating customers on their electricity bills through the Combined Public Benefits Charge, and by Connecticut Natural Gas and Southern Connecticut Gas Company, and Eversource customers through a conservation charge included in their rates. Cannot be combined with other offers.
As a result, not only does our team actually perform the work (not just provide a report), but we help homeowners save hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars. Plus, on average most homeowners experience savings of $200-300 immediately after the fixes!
Finally, installation remains the most important step because improper installation means failed improvements in your home comfort. E ensure your insulation project is done correctly by calling the experts at SolvIt. Plus, we offer all our insulation services to our local service areas!