Getting your head around insulation can be tricky, especially if it’s not something you’ve researched before. Understanding a little about how it works and the terminology involved will help you to choose the right insulation options for your home or workplace.
How does insulation work?
In your home, insulation aims to provide resistance to heat flow – thereby lowering your heating and cooling costs. Good insulation can mean reduced energy bills and increased comfort.
Insulation materials function by slowing the conductive heat flow and (to some extent) the convective heat flow. All insulation materials can be rated in terms of their thermal resistance or R Value.
What is an R Value?
An R value relates to an insulating material’s resistance to conductive heat flow. The higher the R value, the more effective the material will be for insulation.
So remember, the higher the R value, the higher the resistance and therefore the better the rate of thermal insulation the material offers.
R value can depend on a variety of factors including:
- The type of insulation
- The thickness of the material
- The density of the material
Sometimes, the R value of an insulating material can depend on temperature, age and the accumulation of moisture.
It’s important to remember that when you’re calculating the R value of multi-layered insulation, you’ll need to add together the R values of individual layers to get the overall rating.
What’s the best insulation material for you?
When considering this, you’ll want to think about your individual needs – such as your budget for insulating your home as well as the maintenance and durability that you require for the insulation process and materials.
It’s really important that you consider the R values in any materials that you consider – and bear in mind modern batt-type insulation can very from R1.5 all the way up to R7. As an example most homes across Australia would require either R4 or R5 level of ceiling insulation.
Other factors to consider when insulating your home:
There’s no doubt that the R value of insulation materials is very important when choosing how to insulate your home and what to use.
However you’ll also want to consider some of the following factors including:
- How flammable materials are (especially important if you’re in an area prone to bushfires)
- How the materials can help to block the transmission of sound
- The external weather conditions your home is subjected to on a regular basis
- The product warranty length og your chosen insulation. For example, batts offer performance guarantees for over 50 years.