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What Is R Value?

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Simply, R value measures the resistance of a material to heat loss.

As you likely guessed, the "R" stands for resistance. And, in the world of insulation, the r-value provides insulation experts with the necessary information to correctly maintain home comfort.


R value measures the ability of insulation materials to resist heat flow. As a result, higher R values signify larger amounts of insulation. During a home inspection, technicians ensure insulation in-place maintains proper R values. If not, then technicians recommend adding more insulation.

Ultimately, what is R value? It measures your home comfort!

Do Different Homes Require Different R Values?


Depending on your geographic region, homes and buildings require different amounts of R values for the appropriate amount of insulation. For example, The Home Depot offers the commonly accepted regional map. Each region (numbered 1 thru 6) requires differing amount of insulation.

As a result, homeowners in Georgia (region 3) should maintain the following insulation levels:

  • Uninsulated Attics - R38 to R60 insulation levels
  • Floors - R19 to R25 insulation levels

And why does the proper insulation levels matter?

"Adding insulation to your attic, basement or crawlspace is one the best ways to improve energy efficiency in your home. It can reduce your heating and cooling costs by 30 percent and may make you eligible for a federal tax credit."

What Impacts the R Value In My Home?

First, your local environment makes a big difference in the proper amounts of insulation. As one would expect, homes within the Northeast require much higher R values and corresponding insulation than homes located in the South.

However, the FTC provides some additional factors that impact R values.

Home Design and Structure

The type of home and general structure impacts required R values. For example, the difference between a ranch house and a multi-story home impacts comfort. Additionally, the exterior of the home (i.e., brick or vinyl siding) offers differing effects on heat (or cooled air) within a home. Plus, when your home was built also makes a difference. Building codes and technology change over time, so a newer home likely includes more wall insulation than a home built in the early 1900s.

HVAC System

The FTC notes the type of heat within a home makes a difference. For example, natural gas or oil furnace factor into the overall insulation needs. Plus, does the home contain combined ductwork for heating and air conditioning? Conversely, does the home rely on forced hot air for heating needs, but ductwork for cooling needs? The overall HVAC system design impacts the delivery of heat and the resulting insulation needs.

Attic Insulation

Finally, does your home contain a large attic? As we all learned in school, heat rises. And this means that heat flows naturally from a warmer to a cooler space. Therefore, attic insulation reduces the heat in your home that is lost to the attic in the winter. The insulation helps maintain the warm air in your home. As a result, attic insulation impacts the amount of insulation required throughout the home. Typically, experts recommend R-40 to R-60 in attics, which maximizes comfort along with utility bill savings.

How Do I Determine the R Value In My Home?

Ultimately, the best way to determine the R value throughout your home remains a home energy audit. Why?

A proper energy audit leverages infrared cameras and related technology that spots insulation levels (and needs). The infrared camera captures significant heat loss within a home and provides homeowners with actionable recommendations.

For example, during our home energy checkups, our team utilizes infrared cameras prior to all of our insulation installations. In fact, most homes we encounter do not have enough insulation. As a result, families experience drafty areas, energy loss, increased utility bills, and an overall uncomfortable home because of inadequate insulation creates. Although homeowners blame their HVAC system for especially cold spots or drafty rooms, this is not the problem!

You may ask yourself what kind of insulation does my home need? Where do I need it most? Snappy Electric, Plumbing, Heating, & Air can answer all of your questions, and we provide FREE quotes and estimates, finding the correct areas and type(s) of insulation your home would benefit from most.

Finally, more important than the type of insulation remains the actual installation! Help ensure your insulation project is done correctly by calling the experts at Snappy Electric, Plumbing, Heating, & Air. We offer all our insulation services to our local service areas.