Insulation Isn’t Just for Winter: How This Material Protects and Keeps Air Conditioning Indoors

by Greg Leisgang on June 12, 2014

Posted in: Energy Savings

insulationAdequate insulation will help you rein in air conditioning costs during the cooling season. Insulating products slow heat transfer year-round, most are inexpensive, and last a long time. In the summer, most of the heat gain in your home comes from the attic. Once installed, insulating materials start to work immediately.

The effectiveness of insulation is called its R-value, where R stands for resistance and the value is a number. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recommends that attics in our region have R-values from R-38 to R-60. The numbers indicate how many hours the product can resist heat transfer. R-38 will keep the heat from seeping into the home for 38 hours. Most insulation products carry labels that indicate their R-values, which are also sometimes measured in inches. 

Fiberglass batts and loose fill insulation are the most common insulating products. An R-value of 60 for these types would be 20 inches thick, while an R-38 product would be 16 inches thick. A trip to the attic with a ruler in hand will quickly tell you if you need more to keep your air conditioning from working overtime this summer. 

If you find less commonly used materials like rigid foam sheets or sprayed foam, you can also estimate the R-value of the product by measuring it. These types of insulation have a much higher R-value per inch than batts or loose fill, ranging from R-5 to 6.5 per inch.

Walls are another good place to check by turning off a circuit and removing the face plate from an electrical outlet on an outside wall. You should see how full the wall cavity is. You may be able to increase the amount by having a contractor blow loose fill inside. They drill circular holes and fill the cavity, replacing the hole and patching it when done. 

As you inspect your home, look for adequate insulation around your ductwork, which also impacts how long the air conditioning system runs. Contact Tri-County Heating & Cooling, serving the greater Cincinnati area to learn more about the value of insulation for your home and ductwork. 

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