What Exactly is R-Value and Why is it So Important?

Importance of R-Value

It doesn’t matter where you live, your house will be more comfortable and energy efficient with the right insulation. Insulation helps lower the cost of heating and cooling your house. Heat in the winter flows out and in the summer heats flow in. A properly insulated house reduces that heat flow, so in this case, you don’t have to use as much energy to heat your house in the winter and cool it in the summer. Using energy more efficiently or using less energy could mean money in your pocket.

What’s the first thing I should look for when I buy insulation?

Look for the R-Value which means resistance and refers to the resistance a material has to heat flow or temperature conduction. The higher the R-Value the greater the insulation. All insulation products have to tell you their R-Value, duct and pipe insulation are the only exception (duct wrap is covered).

If you are looking at different kinds of products with an R-Value of 38, you will know that the two products offer the same level of insulation. For example if one is blanket insulation that comes in rolls and batts and the other is loose-fill insulation that comes as loose fibers or fiber pellets and requires special equipment to blow it to space.

Every bit of insulation and airtightness within a house contributes to the house’s building envelope. As the R-Value of doors, walls etc, improve, so too does the strength of the house’s building envelope which means a more energy efficient house that has lower utility payments, a more comfortable environment, fewer drafts and a higher market value.

How do I know the R-Value that’s appropriate for insulation in my house?

There are several factors that affect the R-Value that your house needs:

  • Where you live – If you live in a cold climate, you will need insulation with a higher R-value than if you live in a warm climate.
  • How your house is built & where the insulation will be – Is there a basement or is your house built on a slab? Is it a single-level or multilevel structure? Do you have cathedral ceilings? Each of these factors helps determine the level of insulation your house needs.
  • How you heat and cool your house – Whether you have a central air conditioner, a furnace or a heat pump can make a difference in your insulation decisions.

Should I use the same R-Value of insulation throughout my house?

In the attic and in rooms with cathedral ceilings it’s more efficient to use insulation with higher R-value than in wood frame walls, crawl spaces with walls or basements. You can see where energy is being wasted in your house by doing a house energy audit, that involves looking at your heating system, doors, windows, insulation, and other parts of your house to determine where you might be losing energy. You can do a walk-through yourself or you can hire a professional to do a more thorough audit and make specific recommendations on how to make your home more energy efficient.

Here is a list of the R-Value requirements for your house:

  • R20 – Basement exterior walls and garage exterior walls
  • R24 – Exterior walls
  • R31 – Cathedral ceilings, flat roof, slope roof
  • R60 – Attic

How do I know what R-Value I’m getting?

Retailers and installers must provide fact sheets, manufacturers must label their packages of insulation and new house sellers must include this information in sales contracts. In case that no one provides this information, make sure to buy it from someone who will.

At Eco Spray, we will make sure that you get accurate information about the R-Value of your insulation.

How is R-Value Calculated?

The factors that affect R-Value are the type of insulation used, its thickness, and density. The accumulation of moisture and age also play a role, that means the older insulation will not perform as well as new insulation.

To calculate R-Value, is used as a mathematical formula which is: R-Value = the difference in temperature on either side of the insulation ÷ the rate at which heat can flow through the object. So in other words R-Value is calculated by measuring how capable a certain object is resisting the transfer of heat while accounting for the specific properties of that certain object itself.

When compared to fiberglass batts, spray foam is a better thermal insulator per inch of thickness.

What Type of Insulation has the Highest R-Value?

Spray foam is very dense, making a good insulator without the need for extra-thick walls, it has the highest R-Value per inch of thickness. It can also act as an effective air and moisture barrier depending on the climate making it effective at improving airtightness and helping to prevent moisture accumulation, of course without requiring the same amount of additional air sealing as other forms of insulation. Spray foam insulation may be the best insulator per inch of application, it may not be the best choice for every application in terms of cost-effectiveness.

Since the needs of every house and every homeowner are different, each home has a different way of improving energy efficiency in the most cost-effective manner possible. This means that both blown-in fiber and fiberglass insulation can be effective options as they are both able to make a house more energy efficient and comfortable.

Every aspect of your house’s energy performance can be identified and analyzed with a house energy audit. This means that you not only see how well your house performs right now but you also see the areas where energy efficiency could be most cost-effectively improved. These improvements come in the form of a list of suggested renovations or retrofits that are ordered in terms of their cost effectiveness, allowing you to target the problem areas directly and for the lowest cost.

How do You Increase R-Value?

There are many ways to increase the R-Value of your house:

  • Insulate – Insulation can be added anywhere in your house but the best place where you can put insulation is in the attic. Different insulation materials offer different R-Values, just an inspection of your attic can help determine if you need just a simple top up or if you need all new products.
  • High Standards – The contractor that you will be working with should be able to tell you what the building code standards are for your municipality and you can work towards insulating your house to and above those standards for greater energy efficiency.
  • Beyond R-Value – You can increase the energy efficiency of your house and make your R-Value more effective by reducing air leaks in your house. These improvements of course will help make it easier for your insulation to work effectively.

Why Eco Spray?

Here at Eco Spray Insulation, we are committed to the highest quality and standard of your insulation needs. We will provide you satisfactory resolution of any of your problems or issues. Also consider that hiring Eco Spray for your house or business will provide you with the best results that will make you comfortable, lower energy bills, and enjoy your space even more.

If you would like to learn more about R-Values or about any of our products or services, give us a call at (416) 860-6664, or email us at [email protected] and our Professional Team will be happy to assist you.

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