R value

If you keep topping-up your walls and ceiling in hopes of better insulation for your home, you're going about it the wrong way. Adding layers of conventional insulation is not effective, experts say. Your insulation is not effective in the short- or long-term if it's not done by a reputable company and with the right material.

In homes, heat (and money) flows in or out through convection -- better known as air leakage. In fact, air leakage is the biggest source of energy loss in your home, accounting for as much as 40 percent. Insulations, such as fiberglass, allow air to pass right through, while spray foams (like those offered by Icynene) block air flow.

Depending on your needs, a licensed installer will recommend either the 0.5-pound or 2-pound spray foam insulation. Icynene specialists tell us that the energy efficiency of R-value in combination with the air barrier of spray foam is vastly superior to that of traditional methods. Simply adding extra layers of fiberglass or cellulose to the interiors of your walls will eventually prove ineffective.

"Insulation that is compressed will not provide its full rated R-value," says data from the U.S. Department of Energy. "The overall R-value of a wall or ceiling will be somewhat different from the R-value of the insulation itself because some heat flows around the insulation through the studs and joists. Therefore, it's important to properly install your insulation to achieve the maximum R-value."

Spray foam insulation requires less upkeep and lasts longer than traditional insulation.

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