Insulating Your Portland Home: Why an R-Value Can Vary
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Insulating Your Portland Home: Why an R-Value Can Vary


Whether you’re building a new home or remodeling your current house, selecting the right insulation for your home is an important part of maximizing your investment in efficient heating and cooling systems. Insulating R-value is one of the key factors you’ll rely on when choosing insulation for your home, but sometimes R-values aren’t as black and white as they seem. So what are R-values, why are they changeable, and how does this impact your insulation needs? Read on.

What Is an R-Value?

In terms of insulation, the R-value refers to a material’s ability to resist heat flow. The R in R-value stands for resistance – so, an insulation R-value of 4, for example, is four times more resistant to heat penetration than a wall without insulation. For insulation that can be installed in layers, like fiberglass batting, the R-value is “per thickness” so stacking two layers of insulation in your attic effectively doubles the insulating R-value of the material. In general, the higher the R-value, the more efficiently your heating and cooling systems can do their job and keep your home comfortable whatever the weather.

Do R-Values Vary?

The Federal Trade Commission has gone to great lengths to explain how insulation is tested and rated – the R-Value Rule was designed to help homeowners make educated decisions and protect them from erroneous marketing claims. However, variance in insulating R-values does happen and not necessarily because manufacturers are careless or embellishing their data.

One of the biggest contributing factors to fluctuations in insulating R-values is temperature. Some materials perform better the colder it gets, which means, for example, that all R-14 insulation is not created equal.

What do R-Value Variances Mean for Your Project?

Because our climate here in Portland is rarely extreme, the odds of the insulation you choose varying enough to make a difference to your home’s energy consumption are negligible. For advice, service or more information on how to maximize your home efficiency and comfort, please contact us at (503) 266-1249, the Portland area’s first choice for “total comfort.”

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