INSULATION & Radiant Barriers
No matter where you live, a well-insulated house will be more comfortable, whether the outside temperature is 9° F or 90° F.
Insulation helps balance the need for additional heating or cooling during weather extremes. The higher the R–value of the insulation, the greater its effectiveness. The Department of Energy publishes a guide to recommended insulation levels by location based on R-values, available online at energystar.gov. Installing more insulation in your home usually increases the R-value and the resistance to heat flow. With retrofits, however, this value can be affected by temperature, aging, moisture accumulation, and the settled density of the insulation, so it’s important to take those factors into consideration when installing additional material.
If the house is in a particularly hot climate—Zones 1, 2, or 3, for instance—installing a radiant barrier is key to improving overall comfort, no matter how much insulation is in place. Although radiant barriers have no R value, these highly reflective materials re-emit radiant heat rather than absorbing it, reducing cooling loads.
RIGHT Recommended insulation levels are identified by zone for the entire country; the higher the number, the greater the amount of insulation needed to achieve desired R-value.