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Study insulation's R value for maximum energy savings

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by Ann Bucy

SBJ Contributing Writer

If you're thinking of purchasing a new home, or are in the midst of renovating an existing one, it is important to think about insulation.

According to insulation installers and suppliers, a home's insulation is an important purchase when it comes to energy costs, and there are guidelines available on what a homeowner needs to buy.

Warren Louderbaugh is the manager of Meek's Insulation and Drywall at 2741 S. Scenic.

Meek's installs its own brand of insulation. Louderbaugh explained what to look for when purchasing insulation of any variety.

"The R Value is the amount of resistance to heat flow," he said. "The greater the R value, the greater the insulation value. Seventy-five percent of the insulation that's sold for exterior walls has an Rl3 value, which is good for 2 by 4 walls, and R19 is good for 2 by 6 walls."

One tip when purchasing insulation: look at the packaging, and don't take what it says at face value. "Fiberglass is pretty uniform in its R values," he said. "But not all insulation is packaged the same. Look at the box it comes in because the amount of insulation in it can differ, and make sure what's in the package can fit the size wall you have."

Another tip is to buy only the exact amount of insulation you need. For example, if you have a 2 by 6 wall, don't buy anything above an R19 value. "Insulation spreads out because it has air pockets in it, " he said. "If you buy something larger than needed, the insulation is compressed, and you don't gain any R value."

At Bolivar Insulation, 2050 E. Trafficway, Owens-Corning is the predominant brand sold. "Fiberglass insulation provides the best R value for the money, it's a good product, has national name recognition they have the largest market share in the United States and I know the company after working for them for 17 years," said Raymond Tripp, Bolivar Insulation owner and president.

Tripp said while using insulation is good for the interior of the home in terms of the owner's comfort and for sound control, it also is important in terms of saving energy. "We should do everything we can to save energy. Without insulation on the top, bottom and exterior of the home, you have a huge energy loss."

Tripp agreed with Louderbaugh that an R value of 13 is good for a 2 by 4 wall, and an R value of 19 is good for a 2 by 6 wall. "People are choosing higher and higher R values all the time," Tripp said. "They're putting more pounds of insulation into their homes because they realize the value of it."


Warren Louderbaugh, manager of Meeks Insulation and Drywall, says packaging can tell a customer a lot about the quality of insulation.[[In-content Ad]]


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