What are R-Values?

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated September 30, 2016)

Whether you are looking at decreasing your energy bills while increasing your home energy efficiency, or simply want a warmer home, you need to know what R-values are. Believe it or not, this seemingly esoteric piece of information is rather important to understand if you want to get the most out of your insulation, and ensure that you are actually using the correct insulation for your home. Luckily, it's not that hard to understand.

  • What are R-values? Simply put, R-values is what is used to measure thermal resistance. What this means is that R-value is what is used to express how well certain materials can hold back, or resist, heat. In the construction and real estate industries, this term is typically used in association with insulation, and other similar materials.
  • What is the goal? Generally speaking, the rule of thumb is that the higher the R-value a home has, then the better off it is. That being said, each part of the home will have a different rating value that you should be aiming for. For example, in some parts of the country (such as northern Indiana) you will want to have an attic insulated to a rating of R-44.
  • Where to find your perfect R-value. Each municipality will have their own R-value ratings that you should adhere to and try to reach. For the most part, you can find the information about such values in the building codes. That being said, there are some rather good guidelines that you can find online at the United States Department of Energy.
  • Examples of R-values. There are all kinds of materials that are used when building a home or any type of building. For example, if you are using a cellulose based insulation, you will find that it has an average R-value between 3.2 and 3.8 per inch. To give you an idea of what kind of insulation you will receive from a bare concrete wall (such as what you can often find in a basement) the R-value is only around R-1.

Now that you know a little more about R-values, and how they work, you can begin ensuring that you have the right rating for your home. To ensure that your home is getting the most out of the insulation, and to also know whether you have a possible insulation problem, you may want to consider having an actual heating evaluation conducted. This simple evaluation can tell you where, and what, the problems are. With that important information in hand you can then go and fix any potential problem, which will help decrease your overall energy bill.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...

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