USI Blog

How to Make Sense of R-Values

Brochure_rough_2015-GHTcIf you have been looking for insulation for your home, you have probably come across the term “R-value.” Here is some helpful information that may help you make sense out of R-values.

A Measure of Heat Transfer

R-value is the measurement of how resistant a material is to heat transfer. Before 1945, this same measurement was indicated by the U-factor of a product. The lower the U-factor, the better the material was at resisting heat transfer. This was confusing since most people generally associate high numbers with being better. So R-value was born by inverting the U-factor so that a higher value is better.

What Kind of Heat-Flow Mechanisms Does R-Value Measure?

Although some people suggest that R-value only measures the conductive heat flow of a material, it measures radiation and convection heat flow as well. The testing used to determine the R-value of a material is called AST C518, which is short for the Standard Test Method for Steady-State Thermal Transmission Properties by Means of the Heat Flow Meter Apparatus. Since R-value measures all three types of heat flow, it is an effective way to determine the insulation properties of materials.

Determining the Best R-Value for Your Home

When it is time to pick insulation for your home, there are a few things that you need to consider. The first is where you live. If you live in an area with a cold climate, then you will want insulation with a higher R-value. Next, consider how your home was built. Is your home a multi-level or single-level structure? Do you have cathedral ceilings? These factors and others play a role in determining the type of insulation that you need for your home. Additionally, consider how you cool and heat your home. Whether you use a heat pump, furnace or central air conditioner, it makes a difference in the type of insulation that you should purchase.

Paying attention to the R-value of insulation is important because proper insulation can save you nearly 30 percent on your annual cooling costs. In some cases, insulation is also eligible for a federal tax credit. Since each insulation has a different R-value, it’s important to research which ones work best for where you need it.

Learn More

For more information on R-Values or for a free quote on insulation, contact USI online to find a branch near you. USI believes that excellence in every step of the process and ensures timely completion and quality of service, time after time.