How R-value affects comfort?
Your heating and cooling system is the most important instrument to give your home a cozy lived-in air, but insulation is another factor to make your home comfortable. Along with insulation comes R-value which should be appropriate for your geographical area. Insulation R-values are used to indicate how effective the insulation will be at resisting the flow of heat. In simple words, insulation is the process designed to prevent the movement of heat from warmer to colder areas. In this way, insulation keeps the warm air in during the winter, and out during the warmer months. Remember that it is important to choose carefully the type of insulation for your home. If you want to lower your energy costs and keep your home comfortable for years to come you should consider the R-values that come with your insulation. It is recommended to make a home energy audit to determine where you might be losing energy. This audit involves looking at heating systems, insulation, doors and windows. You can do a walkthrough yourself or hire a professional to make specific recommendations.
First of all, you should know that R-value does not apply to systems but only to materials. The R-value of insulation is a value used to measure how well a specific material is insulated and can resist heat flow. It stands for Resistance value and is also related to U-value(1/R-value) and thermal conductivity which shows how well it conducts heat.
Different materials and insulations have their own unique R-value, and their value is listed per inch. The thicker the insulation material, the more it resists heat transfer. Some of the best insulation materials are shown below and they are expressed in imperial units.
- Blown in Cellulose Insulation: R3.2 - R3.8 / inch
- Fiberglass Batting Insulation: R2.9 - R3.8 / inch
- Closed-cell spray foam insulation: R6 / inch
For clarity, every insulated product in Canada is labeled by its R-value and RSI value. They are the same, both a way to measure how well a material is insulated and its resistance to heat. The difference between them is that R-value, as we said, is expressed in imperial units while RSI value is the metric equivalent.
- To convert R-value to RSI divide by 5.67826.
- To convert RSI value to R-value multiply by 5.67826.
Usually installing more insulation in your property increases the R-value and the resistance to heat flow. However, as the thickness for loose fill insulation increases, the density of the product also increases because of the compression of insulation. In addition, because of this compression, R-value will not change proportionately with the thickness of loose fill insulation.
Recommended home insulation R-value
To maintain your home comfort, the heat that is lost in winter should be replaced by your heating system, and the heat that is gained in summer must be removed by the cooling system.
Applying a proper insulation will provide an effective resistance to the flow of heat. In this way you not only reduce heating and cooling costs but you also increase your comfort.
There are several factors that affect your home needs based on R-value.
- Location. Based on where you live you will have a different R-value depending on the climate temperature in your zone. For example, if you live in a colder area your home needs to have higher R-value than the home of a person that lives in a warmer climate.
- Based on how your home is built and where the insulation will be. What kind of structure does your home have? Does it have cathedral ceilings? Is there a basement? Each one of these factors will influence your insulation needs.
- Based on how you heat and cool your home. Is it a furnace, central air conditioner or a heat pump?
The recommended R-value in Canada depends on the area, as it changes a lot from area to area. Let’s go deeper into the R-value in Ontario. The first thing you need to know is that areas in Ontario need the highest R-value to have optimal insulation.
There are some internal changes, but usually, the recommended R-value that is required for insulation in two areas of Ontario are the same. Ontario zone 1 and Ontario zone 2:
- Good Insulation: R-60, Batt or Blown Insulation
- Better Insulation: R-70, Batt or Blown Insulation
- Best Insulation: R-80, Batt or Blown Insulation
Should my R-value be the same throughout my home?
What we can say is that your rooms with cathedral ceilings must have an insulation with higher R-value than your wood walls, basements or crawl spaces. However, here is a list about R-value requirements for your home:
R24 - exterior walls
R20 - Basement exterior walls & garage exterior walls
R31 - Flat roof, cathedral ceilings, slope roof.
R60 - Attic
Attic Insulation R-values
The insulation levels of an attic are understood by R-value. In general, an optimal insulated attic, regarding R-values, ranges from R 50 to R 60. However, in case you already have an insulated attic, but you do not know the R-value, you can calculate them quickly depending on the type of insulation.
- Fiberglass: Usually it appears with a light yellow, pink, or white color. To calculate the R-value: 2.5 * insulation depth. It changes if the fiberglass is in batts: 3.2 * insulation depth.
- Rock Wool: It looks like real wool. Usually in black color, yellow or gray. To calculate the R-value: 2.8 * insulation depth.
- Cellulose: It looks like small flat pieces or fibers. To calculate the R-value: 3.7 * insulation depth.
How do I know what R-value I'm getting?
Packages of insulation must be labeled by the manufacturer. Installers and retailers must provide you with fact sheets. Also, a new home seller must provide and include this information in the sale contract. If no one provides it, make sure to buy it from someone who will.
Ecostar will ensure that you get accurate and honest information about the R-value of your insulation.
Here at Ecostar, we are committed to the highest quality and standard of your insulation needs. We will provide you satisfactory resolution of any of your problems or issues. Also consider that hiring Ecostar for your home or business will provide you with the best results that will make you comfortable, lower your energy bills and enjoy your space even more.
To control and determine your insulation needs, or if you have any questions we recommend to contact our insulation specialists.