A guide to insulation typically includes a great deal of information about its composition, resistance factor and installation in your home. But the fundamental fact to remember is that insulation works by slowing the natural tendency of heat to flow from a warmer area into a colder area.
In summer, heat energy tends to move toward the cooler zone inside your home. During winter, heat tends to escape toward the outdoors. Insulation in the attic and walls of your home contains millions of tiny pockets of air that slow down heat transfer. Installed in the right place and in the right amount, insulation can save you up to 20 percent on your home’s energy costs.
How insulation is rated
Insulation is assigned an R-rating (“R” stands for resistance) to represent its relative properties to resist heat transfer- the higher R-value rating, the more resistance to heat flow. A recommendation for R-18 means fiberglass insulation with an R-rating of 3.1 per inch should be installed to a depth of at least six inches.
Types of insulation
Fiberglass batts are a common variety of home insulation. Rolled up like large blankets, and cut to fit between ceiling joists in the attic, fiberglass insulation resembles cotton candy. Fiberglass batts have a standard R-rating of 3.1 per inch.
Cellulose insulation is a loose fill product composed of pulverized bits of paper and fabric, cellulose insulation is R-rated at 3.8 per inch.
Where to install
The attic and walls are the prime location for adding extra insulation to a home. Attic insulation is the most easily accessible and additional insulation can be added on top of the existing layer. Upgrading wall insulation requires cutting small access holes.
In Cleveland, the DOE recommends up to R-60 in the attic and R-15 inside walls. This translates to 20 inches of fiberglass or 15 inches of cellulose in the attic and five inches of fiberglass or four inches of cellulose inside walls.
P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling serves the greater Cleveland area with year-round home-comfort expertise. Ask us about a guide to insulation and other tips to keep your home warmer this winter.
Paul 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 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. 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.