Energy Blog

Understanding Insulation Terms – R-Value and More

October 15, 2018

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Choosing proper insulation for your home is essential, but when you research the options you may feel over your head. Insulation, like many industries, has a lot of specialized language.


Fortunately, the terms aren’t hard to understand. Here are some of the words and abbreviations you’ll hear most often as you research and choose the best insulation for your home.

From C-value to R-value, here’s what you need to know!


First Things First: R-Value

When you look at insulation options, the first thing you’ll hear about is the R-value. This measures the thermal resistance of a material – in other words, a high value means a greater effectiveness insulating your home or business.


The R-value is impacted by the type of material, how thick it is, and how dense it is. Proper insulation will be installed at the appropriate thickness required to get you the best resistance value possible.


Generally, the higher the resistance value the higher the cost of the insulation. As a result, most people have to balance effectiveness and price.


Heat Penetration: K-Value

Although it’s not mentioned as often, the K-value of an insulation is also important. It measures how easily heat and cold can move through the insulation, regardless of how thick it is. The K-value may also be called the K-factor.


As a result, you’re looking for a low K-value when you examine different insulation options. The lower the K-value, the better job the product does in preventing heat and cooling flow through the material, causing energy loss in your home.


The K-value is closely related to the R-value.


Conductivity: C-Value

The C-value of a material is the rate of thermal conductance. This number measures the number of BTUs that pass through a square foot of material with a one-degree temperature difference. What makes C-value different from K-value is that C-value will go down as you thicken or layer the insulation.


Similar to K-value, you don’t want a lot of energy moving through your chosen insulation. You want the outside temperature to stay outside and the inside temperature inside!


So, look for a low C-value when you’re comparing insulation.


Transmittance: U-Value

The U-value is a measure of how much energy moves through insulation when one area is a different temperature than an adjacent area. For instance, if you have a garage on the outside wall of a bedroom, how much energy moves through the insulation when the garage is cold and your room is warm?


As with other measures of energy transfers, you want to make sure that the U-value is low when you choose insulation. Otherwise, something as simple as cooking in your kitchen can cause heat transfer into adjacent rooms through the walls.


Get The Insulation You Need With the Help of the Pros

While you can find the R-value, K-value, and other numbers for each type of insulation, it still takes some experience to know exactly what materials work best for your home and budget.


Curious about how you can reduce energy loss and sound transmission throughout your house? We’d love to help. We’ve been serving Little Rock homeowners for over 30 years.

Let us help you assess your situation and recommend the right solution. Contact us today for a quote!

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If you want all the benefits of spray foam insulation, call us today! (870) 307-2373

Reeves Insulation has been in business, in the Batesville area, for over 30 years offering insulation, replacement windows, air sealing, and weatherization. Owner, Marvin Reeves started in the general contracting industry and his background has transferred over to Insulation and Home Energy Conservation, providing homeowners and businesses energy efficiency services to lower energy bills. Our business is family owned and operated and our goal is to provide you the best job at an affordable cost.