“R” you properly insulated? The numbers you should know.

February 19, 2019

A well-insulated home keeps you comfortable in both summer’s heat and winter’s cold. It also keeps your heating and cooling equipment from working overtime, which translates to energy savings.

However, many existing homes fall short when it comes to meeting the amount of recommended insulation despite the advantages that come with proper insulation levels. The EPA estimates homeowners can save up to 15 percent in heating and cooling costs by air sealing and adding insulation.

When it comes to determining how well insulated your home is, there one term you should become familiar with: R-value.

R-value is a measure of insulation’s ability to resist heat traveling through it. The higher the number, the more effective the insulation is at keeping heat from escaping your home in the winter or outside heat entering your home in the summer.

The US Department of Energy recommendations for insulation levels are dependent upon climate zone. For example, in Massachusetts, with our warm, humid summers and cold, snowy winters, it is recommended to have more insulation in your home than someone in Florida or Virginia.

Your home should have insulation throughout, and different areas require more or less. Your attic, which is an area where heat easily escapes, requires the most insulation. Exterior walls, on the other hand, don’t need as much, but should still be insulated.

But how do you know if you have enough? In some areas, you can take a look yourself. One of the easiest places to see how much insulation you have is in your attic. If you notice insulation is level at or just below the floor joists, you need more. If you take a yardstick and measure about 18-19” worth of insulation, you probably have just enough, but that’s not to say you couldn’t benefit from more.

An expert’s opinion is always a good thing to have, especially when it comes to your home’s insulation needs. As part of a no-cost home energy assessment, an Energy Specialist will perform a thorough examination of your home’s insulation, and guide you toward the valuable incentives offered by the Sponsors of Mass Save® of up to 75 percent (or more, if you qualify) off recommended insulation improvements.

For more information on how you can assess your insulation needs with a no-cost home energy assessment, click here.

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