by Donny Mak
on Wednesday, June 12th, 2013 at 1:00am.
New Home Insulation Q&A. It's all about the "R" By: Alan Aptheker
Here’s a Q&A about the “R”. What’s “R?” "R" means resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power. Almost all insulation products have to tell you their R-value
Q. What's the first thing I should look for when I buy insulation?
A: If you’re looking at insulation with an R-value of 38 from Company A and insulation with an R-value of 38 from Company B, you’ll know the two products offer the same level of insulation. That’s true even if they’re different kinds of insulation — say, if one is blanket insulation, which comes in batts and rolls, and the other is loose-fill insulation, which comes as loose fibers or fiber pellets and requires special equipment to blow it into a space.
Q. How do I know the R-value that’s appropriate for insulation in my home?
A: Determine how your home is built. Is it a single-level or multi-level structure? Do you have cathedral ceilings? Is there a basement, or is your home built on a slab? Each of these factors helps determine the level of insulation your home needs.
Q: How does my home heating and cooling method affect my need for a higher R value?
A: Whether you have a furnace, central air conditioner, or a heat pump can make a difference in your insulation decisions.
Q. Should I use the same R-value of insulation throughout my home?
A: It's more efficient to use insulation with higher R-values in the attic and in rooms with cathedral ceilings than in wood frame walls, basements, or crawl spaces with walls.
Q. How do I know what R-value I'm getting?
A: Manufacturers must label their packages of insulation; installers and retailers must provide fact sheets; and new home sellers must include this information in sales contracts.
The Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), has answers based on your zip code and information you enter about your home. Your local home improvement store (or its website) also may have information to help you determine your insulation needs.