R-Value. What is it and is it important?

R-Value. What is it and is it important?

Regardless of where you live, your house has to be comfortable and energy efficient. R-value is the measure of heat resistance or capability to prevent heat transfer. The larger the R-value, the stronger the insulation is at preventing heat conduction. Insulation is an important factor to consider when purchasing your doors and roofing material. It determines the heating and cooling costs of your home. If the home is well insulated then heat flow is reduced so you use minimal energy to cool the home in summer and keep it warm during winter. With low energy bills, you can save more.

Older Walls

The older walls’ R-value is R-13 while new homes in the US have R-19 insulation. The R-value of roofs ranges from R-40 to R-30. The higher the R-value, the stronger the insulating power. If two doors from two different companies have the same R-value, then it means that they offer the same level of insulation. All insulation products will have an R-value with the exception of pipes and ducts.

Heat Transfer

Heat transfer plays a key role in the energy efficiency of a home. Heat transfer happens through radiation, convection and conduction. The R-value is based on heat transfer through a material. The transfer is known as conduction. Convection is the movement of moisture and heat in your home. This happens when the walls, siding and sheathing are loose. Moisture and heat condenses on the inside wall cavities forming mildew. Radiation is when heat moves from the hot surface to the cooler one.

R-value prevents conduction only; it does not cover convection and radiation. For your home to be energy efficient, you have to consider the R-value, address radiant heat and improve the insulation.

How To Attain High R-values

When your home is well insulated, you improve the R-value. Thus you have to choose the best and most effective insulation for your home. Different forms of insulation in the market today include fiberglass, foam board and cellulose or paper fiber. Foam board is expensive but it provides high R-values.

Choosing high standards for your walls and roofs can also help. Instead of using R-19 insulation for walls, you can go on the higher side and choose R-30. Do the same for the roof, go with R-60 instead of R-30.

You should also consider improving the building envelope. With better roofing and more secure siding, you can prevent radiation and convection thus boosting the R-values of your home.

Determining The Right R-value For You

One of the determining factors of appropriate R-values is the location of your home. People who live in areas with cold climate require higher R-values than those who live in the warm areas.

The other factor is how the home is built. You have to consider cathedral ceilings, whether the home is built on a slab, whether it’s a single or multilevel structure and whether there is a basement.

The heating and cooling mechanisms in your home are also an important consideration. Insulation decisions will vary depending on whether you use a furnace, heat pump or central air conditioner.

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