After all the time we spent indoors last year, many homeowners throughout the greater Westchester county and lower Putnam county area have been looking for ways to make their homes more comfortable. And if you are one of those New Yorkers looking for the best way to increase the comfort and efficiency of your home, insulation is the place to start.
Insulation is an integral piece of your home’s toolbox when it comes to keeping outside temperatures at bay, but how much insulation do you need, and what is the highest R-value of insulation that will provide the best bang for your buck? Home insulation, including spray foam insulation and blown-in insulation materials like cellulose insulation, are a large part of the Healthy Home Energy & Consulting process of making homes healthier, more efficient, and more comfortable. Here’s what we think you should know about choosing the best insulation R-values for your home:
Defining Insulation R-Value
Before we get too far down the rabbit hole, let's make sure we all have the same definition of what “R-value” means. The lightning round definition of the role insulation plays is to slow down the transfer of heat between your living space and the outdoors. This means insulation is resisting that heat transfer, and the more resistant your insulation is to heat, the higher its effectiveness, and the higher its R-value.
For example, old, damaged fiberglass insulation batts may have an R-value of just one or two, while spray foam insulation may have an R-value of anywhere between four and seven, depending on the material used.
How Much Insulation Is Recommended for the New York Climate?
The higher the R-value, the better insulated your home will be. This is most important in areas like the attic and basement that are riddled with issues that allow the conditioned air inside your home to escape, or the heat from the sun to infiltrate your home (depending on the season). Luckily, there are recommended R-values to battle the unique climate challenges we see throughout Bedford, Chappaqua, White Plains, Scarsdale, New Rochelle, Yonkers, and Mahopac.
Based on calculations made by the US Department of Energy, New York falls in climate zones five and six, which translates to a recommended R-value of:
Attic insulation R-value should have at least an R-49 to R-60 amount of insulation, while floor and basement insulation should have between R-25 and R-30.
Of course, this is a starting point. The best way to know exactly how much insulation you might need (and which type will be best for each area of your home) is to schedule an energy audit with a trusted insulation installation contractor. Here at Healthy Home Energy & Consulting, we call our energy audit a Healthy Home Evaluation.
Added Benefits of Proper Insulation
One reason we focus a lot on insulation here at Healthy Home Energy & Consulting is that it provides many more benefits than just keeping you and your family more comfortable throughout all four seasons. When your home is properly insulated, it reduces heat transfer and the air movement that comes along with it. Plus, when you combine insulation upgrades with air sealing (the process of sealing up any air holes or leaks in your home), you can experience a list of benefits you may not have even realized were problems in your home! These benefits include:
Fewer indoor drafts
Reduced indoor air pollution
Reduced heating and cooling costs
Less wear and tear on your HVAC equipment
A smaller carbon footprint
If you’ve got insulation on the brain, take this opportunity to upgrade the health and comfort of your entire home by scheduling a Healthy Home Evaluation. Once we have finished our thorough assessment of your home, we can outline a plan for keeping your air clean, your energy costs down, and your comfort at an all-time high!
Ready to upgrade your home’s health and efficiency? Schedule an evaluation with Healthy Home Energy & Consulting today! Call 914-242-9733 or get in touch here.