Insulation R-Values Impact Efficiency

The Florida heat and humidity can make it a real challenge to keep your home cool, especially as summer lingers. When air conditioning systems have trouble keeping up with triple-digit temperatures, most people are quick to blame the air conditioner. But it might not be the air conditioner that’s at fault. Even the best system can’t keep up with the heat when your insulation isn’t doing its job.

Older homes are especially likely to have insulation problems. Many were built in times when energy costs were lower, so that wasn’t considered a major factor. Even if a house was properly insulated, the material can settle over time, especially in the attic, reducing its effectiveness.

The level of heat and cold protection in a home’s walls, ceiling and floors is measured by R-Value. This is an accepted standard for the thermal resistance of a material, in other words, how well it keeps the heat out of your home. In a home here in Florida, the following R-values are recommended:

  • Attic – R30 to R60
  • Walls – R13 to R15
  • Floors – R13 to R19

Since adding R-value to walls can be difficult, the easiest place to gain improvement is by increasing the insulation in your attic. If your home has fiberglass batts in the attic, they provide an R-value of 3.14 per inch of thickness. So, to get the minimum recommended R30, you need about 10 inches in thickness of fiberglass batts. To reach R60, you need a 19-inch thickness. Please keep in mind that other insulating materials will have other R-values. Ceiling joists and any gaps will reduce the effectiveness of insulation.

You can add either blown-in or fiberglass batt insulation to your attic yourself, using materials available at your local home improvement store. However, if you would like a professional home energy audit, we’ll be glad to help. Contact us at Simpson Air, “The Coolest Guys in Town,” and we’ll send one of our trained technicians out to check all aspects of your home’s energy efficiency.