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Home Insulation: All You Need to Know About the R-Value

Whether you live in Maine, Bakersfield, or Bangor, California, right type of insulation will keep your home stay more comfortable and energy-efficient. A well-insulated house lowers your heating and cooling costs. Here it is how: In the winter, the heat which travels, flows out and in the summer, it flows in. An effectively insulated home reduces that heat flow and this doesn't allow you use much energy to heat your home in the winter and cool it in the summer. Using energy more efficiently or using less energy, could mean more money in your wallet.

To help you get the most of your insulation dollar, here are the answers of some basic questions about the R-value, which deals with home insulation.

R-Value

1. What is the first thing one should look for while buying insulation?

One of the most primary things is to look for the R-value. The more the R-vale, the greater is the insulating power. Almost all insulation products available today specify you their R-value, excluding duct and pipe insulation. So, if you are looking for an R21 insulation both from two different companies, it indicates that the two products of both the company offers the same level of insulation.

2. How to find the appropriate R-value that is exact for insulating one's own home?

Several factors determine the R-value your home needs:

  • First is the place where you reside. If residing in a cold climate like the Northeast, then you will need insulation with higher R-value than residing in warmer climate areas like Southern California.

  • Second is how is your home built and where the insulation should get installed. Is it a single or multilevel structure? Is there a basement or your home built on a slab? Do you have cathedral ceilings? Each of these points help determine the level of insulation your home needs.

  • How you heat or cool your home? Do you have a central air conditioner, a heat pump or a furnace? Because each of then put a huge difference in your insulation decisions.

3. Should one use the same R-value of insulation throughout the home?

It is more efficient to use insulation with higher R-values in the attic and in the rooms with cathedral ceilings than in basements, crawl spaces with walls or wood frame walls. A good way to track energy wastage is to do a home energy audit, which involves having a thorough check of your home's heating system, doors, windows, insulation and other parts to determine where you might be losing energy.

4. How to know what R-value I am getting?

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces the R-value Rule, which ensures that customers should get accurate and honest information about the R-value of the insulation before they buy it and have it installed. Installers and retailers must provide fact sheets, manufacturers must label their packages of insulation and new home sellers must include this information in their sales contracts.

When it comes to insulating your home, every little bit helps. Whether you're trying to reduce energy costs or just save money, starting with high R-value insulation materials will yield better results.

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