by Chris Balzer,
What does R-value mean? R-value measures insulation’s resistance to heat flow. It can also be referred to as “thermal resistance.” The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power. All materials having the same R-value, regardless of type, thickness, or weight are equal in insulating power. Don’t forget that R-values are determined by material type, thickness, and installed weight per square foot, not by thickness alone. Insulation helps keep your home cool during the summer months and warm during the winter months.
How much will I save by adding insulation to the walls, ceilings and floors of my home? Insulation saves money, increases your home’s comfort and protects the environment by reducing energy use. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) shows that typically 44% of a homeowner’s utility bill goes for heating and cooling costs. DOE also states that homeowners may be able to reduce their energy bills from 10% to 50% by taking certain steps. One of the major steps is increasing the amount of thermal insulation in their existing homes or purchasing additional insulation when buying new homes. Unless your home was constructed with special attention to energy efficiency, adding insulation will reduce your utility bills. The amount of energy you conserve will depend on several factors: climate, size, shape and construction of your house, your living habits, the type and efficiency of the heating and cooling systems and the fuel you use. Energy conserved is money saved and the annual savings increase when utility rates go up, which many of us are experiencing. Insulation upgrades also instantly adds value to your home and is a great investment.
How much insulation should I have? “Insulation,” says Bob Vila, host of the nationally syndicated TV program that bears his name, is the most efficient energy-saving expenditure. Vila says homeowners should check attics to determine the amount of insulation already installed. Most homes built before 1980 have inadequate insulation, noting that if insulation between the joists of the attic floor comes only to the top of the joist, it probably makes sense to install more insulation. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends home insulation for our area to be R-30, which is 11.5 inches of blow in fiberglass insulation.
What words should I watch out for in contracts or job estimates? Once you have chosen an insulation contractor, make sure the contract includes the job specification, cost and warranty information. The contract should list the type of insulation to be used and where it will be used. Make sure that each type of insulation is listed by R-value. Beware of any contract or verbal offering that quotes the job in terms of thickness only (e.g. “14 inches of insulation”). Remember, it is the R-value, not the thickness that tells how well a material insulates. Avoid contracts with vague language such as R-values with the terms “plus or minus”; “+ or -“; “average”; or “nominal.”
Is there anything other than insulation to increase comfort and efficiency? There are several innovative materials in the market which are not widely used by most insulation contractors. ERG window film is a smart tint material which can be applied to glass and is virtually clear. This film blocks 94% of radiant heat and 99.9% of UV rays protecting floors, furniture, you and pets from the damaging sun’s UV. Some common applications would be any room with direct sunlight; sunrooms, offices are great areas to add ERG film. Another great product is Radiant Barrier which is a reflective material installed in attic spaces which blocks 97% of radiant heat reducing your overall attic temperature by 40 to 50 degrees in the summer. By reducing your attics heat signature, you increase your comfort and your insulation and HVAC systems work less, saving you money and extending the life of HVAC systems. Radiant Barrier systems should be installed on rafters, just under your roof line and should not be installed lying on top of your insulation.
There are many ways to save energy and become more energy efficient. We all are spending more time at home which is a great time to learn how to increase comfort and lower those energy bills.
Chris Balzer is Founder and President of Emerald Coast Energy Solutions which is a Smile Provider Company. We provide smiles to our customers after installing our high energy efficient products, increasing comfort and lowering energy bills. For more information on how to save this summer and become energy efficient schedule an inspection by calling (850) 588-2870, visit www.trusteces.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org and Beat the Heat.
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