Heating and cooling accounts for roughly 50 percent of the total energy consumed in the average home annually. Your home’s insulation plays a key role in controlling heat loss in the winter, and heat gain in the summer, which dramatically affect energy consumption. Once you know the basics of R-values and insulation, you can take the necessary steps to improve your home comfort and energy efficiency, year round.
Insulation: How It Works
Heat migrates. It naturally flows from a warmer to a cooler area until the temperature difference between the two areas is equalized. This means that in the winter, the heat inside your home migrates through the ceilings and attic to uninsulated areas, and through the walls to the outdoors. In the summer, warm air flows into your cooled, indoor spaces. Installing insulation creates a barrier against this heat movement.
What Are R-values?
Insulation materials are rated by their “thermal resistance” or “R-value,” which is a measurement of their ability to resist heat flow. The R-value given to a specific insulation product depends on the type of material its made of, and its density and thickness, but those with higher R-values provide greater resistance. It’s relatively easy to improve your home’s comfort level and lower your heating and cooling costs by installing additional layers of insulation, because it’s the total R-value of all the layers that matters.
How Much Insulation Is Enough?
Exactly how much insulation is needed to create an effective heat barrier depends on the climate where a home is located. The Department of Energy (DOE) recommends a total of R-60 on the floor of the attic, and R-15 in the exterior walls, for homes in the Cleveland area. Upping the amount of insulation in these two areas alone can reduce your energy consumption by up to 30 percent, which makes it a worthwhile investment.
To learn more about R-values and insulation and the role they play in keeping your home comfortably energy-efficient, contact Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing. We’ve provided outstanding service to Cleveland area homeowners for over 75 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Cleveland, Ohio 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.
For those Do it Yourselfers who would rather take control of your own indoor comfort, you can shop our online store for replacement parts, products and accessories!
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