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What You Need To Know About Your Home's Insulation

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You probably don't think about your home's insulation often, but if your energy bills are high, you may not have enough insulation. The right amount of insulation allows you to use less energy to comfortably cool and heat your home. If you haven't thought about your home's insulation before, check out these five important facts.  

Insulation Is Measured in R-Value

Just about every material used to build your home has an R-value, including wood, drywall, bricks, etc. Insulation is no different, but insulation generally has a higher R-value than most other materials. R-value measures how well the material limits the transfer of heat. A higher R-value means the material resists the transfer of heat better. For example, asphalt roof shingles have an R-value of R0.44, but wood roof shingles have an R-value of R0.97, so they do a better job of resting the transfer of heat. The more your home resists the transfer of heat, the colder it stays in the summer and warmer it stays in the winter.  

Different Types of Insulation Have Different R-Values

All types of insulation are not the same. Different types have different R-values. If you purchase fiberglass batts, each inch of insulation has an R-value of about R2.9 to R3.8. On the other hand, polyurethane foam insulation has an R-value of R5.6 to R8.0. It's better to just get an insulation with a higher R-value, but if you do choose one with a lower value, you could just add more to get a higher R-value. Of course, even if the insulation with a higher R-value costs more, you may end up saving money because you won't have to add as much insulation.

Your Home May Not Have Enough Insulation

If you have an older home, your current insulation may not be enough. When older homes were built, the cost of heating your home was less expensive than the cost of insulation, so builders used less insulation, assuming you could just use more energy. However, this is no longer the case, and homes with more insulation can save significant money each month on heating and cooling costs. If you need more insulation, you don't have to remove your existing insulation. Simply add more, and combine the R-values of the old insulation with the new insulation until you get the desired value.

Recommended R-Value Varies by Climate

So, you need to add more insulation or check your current insulation, but what R-value is correct? R-values vary from climate to climate. Insulation helps keep out the heat during the hot months, but it is mostly designed to keep your house warm during the winter. This means that if you live in a colder region, you typically need more insulation than a warmer region.

Different Areas of the Home Require Different R-Values

Another factor to consider when considering how much insulation to add is where you are adding it. Different areas of you home require different R-values. The attic tends to require the highest R-value, and the walls require the least. Again, when determining the exact amount you'll need, you also want to consider your climate. If you live in a colder state, such as North Dakota, you'll want an R-value of R49 to R60 in your attic and R13 to R21 in your walls. However, if you live in a hotter region, such as Florida, your attic only needs an R-value of R30 to R49, and your walls need R13 to R15.

Stop wasting energy because you don't have enough insulation. For a small investment, you can reduce your monthly energy bills. For more information about insulation, contact a contractor in your area today.