What is R-value


Often, the secret to a healthy and energy-efficient home is proper insulation. It keeps your home comfortable and at a consistent temperature throughout the year, without stressing your wallet on heating and cooling costs. To get that optimum comfort, the first thing to look for when buying insulation material is the R-value. What is R-value and why does it matter? 

Thermal resistance (R-value)

Also known as thermal resistance, R-value is a rating system that measures the thermal resistance property of a given insulation material. The R-value, which stands for resistance to heat, helps determine the material’s resistance to temperature conduction. In general, the higher the R-value, the better the material is at resisting conductive heat flow. 

To get the most out of your insulation and get the stated R-value, the insulation must be installed properly.

Why does R-value matter?

R-value measures the thermal effectiveness of insulation. Therefore, optimizing the R-value in your home is key to creating a comfortable environment. For instance, you’ll quickly get cold in the winter or extremely hot in the summer if insulation with a low thermal resistance is installed in a room that requires high-rated insulation.

How is R-value calculated?

The insulation property of a material can significantly differ from one material to another. R-value ratings depend on the type, the thickness, and the density of the insulation. It can be used as a guide to compare and evaluate insulation products before you buy. As well, measuring the R-value of insulation before installation can help avoid costly damage to your home. 

Find out the recommended R-values for different areas of your home with CertainTeed’s insulation calculator.

What to consider in determining the amount of insulation your home needs:

  • The structure of your home: the building design, type, and size.
  • The location and climate you live in.
  • Your heating and cooling equipment.
  • The different areas of the home that require insulation.
  • Local building energy codes to ensure your home meets R-value standards set by the U.S Department of Energy (DOE). For new homes, consult the IECC Benefits Map to see how much you can save on your energy costs by adopting the 2018 IECC. 

Reference: IECC Status of State Energy Code Adoption – Residential

If your home is already insulated, you’ll need to evaluate its current R-value. A trusted contractor can determine whether additional R-value is needed, and help you meet the level of insulation recommended for your climate zone.

Whether you’re looking for recommendations based on your home’s needs or considering adding insulation in your home, we can help you find a pro to go over your options.

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