What does R-Value mean?
The R in R-Value stands for Resistance. So what is insulation Resisting?... Heat.
Insulation resists the flow of heat through our walls, floors and ceilings. This resistance slows heat down and keeps it on the right side of the wall. In the winter, it keeps the heat inside. In the summer, it keeps the heat out. Making your home more comfortable and energy efficient.
The Higher R-Value the Better
The number next to the R is just a rating of its insulating power.
The higher the number the better job the insulation will do at keeping heat in or out of your home. So R30 will save you more money on your heating or air conditioning bills than R10.
Should I put R30 or R50 everywhere in my home?
As the price of energy continues to double every few years, it would be great if we could super insulate our homes with R100 all around. Unfortunately, things just don't quite work that way in the real world. Mainly because we just don't have the space between the siding and the drywall to add enough insulation to get such a high R-Value.
Most of our walls are built with 2X4 framing. Which only gives us 3 1/2 inches of space for insulation. Even the best insulation available, closed-cell spray foam, only offers an R-Value of R7 per inch. So 3.5" X R7 = R24.5. Not bad, but not R50.
Of course, if you're building a new house you can super insulate it. In fact, builders have new techniques for air sealing and increasing the R-Value so much that they now have homes that use Zero Energy.
But back here in reality, we are limited by not just space, but money. Super insulated homes cost extra money to build and insulate. It takes more time for the builder and the best insulation products are more expensive.
However, as the cost of energy continues to rise, the added cost is starting to really seem insignificant compared to ridiculously high energy bills.
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