R Value

The Higher the R-Value the Better the Insulation?

When it comes to insulation, R-value is found to be the most important aspect homeowners look at, yet that concept is highly misunderstood. Unfortunately, R-Value has always been seen as the universal method for comparing insulations – the higher the R-Value, the better the insulation, simple as that. But not all R-Values are created equally, as they measure only one of the factors that determine how well your current or newly installed insulation will perform in reality today and over time.

What is R-Value?

Technically speaking, R-value is a measure of an insulation’s resistance of heat/cool air flow traveling through it. So essentially it would make sense that the higher the R-Value of your insulation, the greater the resistance, however that is only one factor that determines the effectiveness of insulation, and only one aspect you should look at when making your decision on which insulation is best for your home.


What is R-Value Really Means?

If we look at the primary purpose of insulation- it is used to block the movement of heat. Heat is a force that moves in and out of your home in 4 ways, but the only one measured by R-Value is Conduction. The other 3 ways we must consider are sun radiation, air infiltration, and convection.
Since your home is built outside- factors such as humidity, temperature shifts, and wind all come into play and directly affect the indoor air quality. All of these factors create significant differences in pressure between the interior and the exterior causing unconditioned areas of the house such as attics, crawl spaces, and basements to be directly affected- and lowering the effectiveness of your insulation accordingly.
Although your home may seem very solid, it is filled with numerous tiny gaps, cracks, and holes located in between building materials. In order to have a good insulation system set in place you have to make sure it will have the following:

  1. Insulation with a high R-value (always make sure the R-value is based upon your state’s requirements)- so that heat loss due to conduction will be prevented. To learn what is the recommended R-value in your area click here.
  2. Insulation that will fully fill the building cavity- to prevent heat/cooling loss via convection. Insulation service must be accompanied by an air sealing process to make sure hard to reach cavities are properly sealed.

Additionally, you want to be sure the insulation you pick will not only insulate- different types of insulations vary in the amount of flammability (make sure you go with the kind that can help prevent the spread of flames in case of a fire) as well as provide your home with soundproofing abilities.

Now that we have covered and answered which type of insulation is the best in terms of material, we also need to speak of the form it comes in- which can definitely have an effect on your home energy efficiency as well.
Generally speaking, the most popular forms of insulation consumers usually pick from are blown-in insulation, Rolled Batts Insulation, and Spray foam Insulation.
While each has its pros and cons, when it comes to R-Value it is important to consider not all forms of insulating material are created equally, and you might need a higher volume of one insulating material rather than the other to reach the desired R-Value of insulation in your home.

No matter what insulation you decide to go with, Atticare is here to advise you on the best solutions for your home. With over 12 years of experience, we have become the industry experts and specialize in transforming homes’ indoor air quality. For a cleaner, safer and more energy efficient household, contact us today- Click here to schedule your Free Inspection!