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Cleveland HVAC Blog

Maximize Home Insulation and Maximize Home Comfort

Posted by Paul Wadsworth on Mon, Apr 28, 2014 @ 08:30 AM

worker installing attic insulationEvery Cleveland homeowner’s thoughts eventually turn to home insulation. Do I have enough? Where should insulation be in my home? Set your mind at ease by reviewing the most cost-effective ways of adding home insulation.

Understanding R-Value

R-value measures an insulating material’s thermal resistance. This tells you how well the substance prevents heat transfer. Better insulation materials have higher R-values. For example, a space of air 3/4-inch thick has an R-value of 0.87, while an inch-thick piece of fiberglass batt insulation provides an R-value of 3.14.

How Air Loss Works

Your greatest heat loss will be through places that have no insulation. Heat moves from warmer to cooler areas, no matter how long the path must be. So unfinished attics, above garages, floors over unheated spaces like crawl spaces, porches and decks are all the best places to add insulation. Other places to make big gains include:

  • Exterior walls, where you can have various types of insulation blown in
  • Foundation walls, where rigid board insulation can be attached to exposed areas
  • Ductwork in crawl spaces where rigid board can be applied, and in attics, where fiberglass batts can be wrapped and wired in place

Most homes already have an insulated attic, but the thin layer usually isn't enough. Cleveland is in the zone for which the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA) recommends adding at least R-38 insulation on top of existing insulation. Depending upon the type of insulation chosen, this can be 10-12 inches or more of insulation.  Heat radiates up, so attic insulation pays off.

Seal Air Leaks

Air leaks defeat home insulation. If you insulate well but don't seal windows, doors, attic hatchways, around outlets and all places that pierce your roof, you'll never reach maximum efficiency. Be diligent in adding weatherstripping and caulking holes.

Be careful not to overdo home insulation. Improvements become smaller the greater the R-value, so if a given spot has a value of R-16, going up to R-20 will only reduce heat loss by one percent. You would need more than 50 years of energy savings to recover your return on your investment.

For sensible, helpful advice on home insulation for your Cleveland area home, contact P. K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling.

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Paul WadsworthPaul Wadsworth is the President and Owner of P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. For 37 years, Paul has been providing heating and cooling services to the Greater Cleveland area. P.K. Wadsworth has been a trusted Cleveland HVAC service company for over 75 years. The company understand the area's construction and local heating and air conditioning needs. Paul has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a B.S., Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. Paul is the Chairman of COSE's Energy Advisory Council. He's been President of the Cleveland Air Conditioning Contractors of America and a founding member of the local chapter. Paul was born and raised in Cleveland and has been active in the local community. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and two sons.

The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.

Topics: home insulation, insulation, home comfort

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