Insulation: Know The Magic Number?
Warm air naturally flows to cool places, and it’s up to your hard-working HVAC system to get that warm air out of the house in the summer and bring it in during the winter. Insulation impedes air flow and takes a lot of the work load off your furnace or heat pump. R-value is a measure of its thermal resistance, computed on the basis of material, thickness and density.
However, it’s not pure math. A lot depends on where it’s installed and how well it’s installed. If it is too tightly compressed, it won’t perform up to its full R-value, and the same is true if it’s not packed in tightly enough. In that case, air will leak around studs and joists of walls and ceilings.
Here in the Metro-East area, we’re in the government‘s zone 6, one of the highest-rated zones for purposes of insulation recommendations. Energy Star is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy, and it furnishes guidelines according to regions. For zones 5 through 8, Energy Star recommends R-49 to R-60 in attics and R-25 to R-30 in floors when retrofitting wood-frame homes. It suggests removing exterior siding, drilling holes in the sheathing, and blowing insulation into the wall cavity – R-5 to R-6 in our zone.
If you’re thinking about installing additional protection in an existing home, think about attics (access doors, knee walls), ducts, ceilings, exterior walls, floors above unheated garages, basements, crawl spaces and slabs. Our qualified home energy auditors can help you assess your needs and show you ways you can recoup the cost of additional insulation through savings in your power bills.
Contact usat Ernst Heating & Cooling for expert advice, to answers to your questions, or to schedule an appointment for a free estimate. To quote Energy Star, “your home contributes to the quality of the environment.”
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about insulation and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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