Few things affect HVAC efficiency as much as insulation does. Building codes require it and adding more is big business for home remodelers. Enough insulation makes the difference between a home that’s easy to cool and heat, comfortable year-round and relatively quiet.
Where Homes Need Insulation
Since it has 24/7 exposure to the outdoors and full solar exposure, the attic needs the most insulation to slow the movement of heat through it. Heat is constantly moving to cooler temperatures and it’s the air bubbles in insulation that slows it from moving indoors or out.
Manufacturers describe how well their insulating products retard heat movement by assigning it an R-value. The R- stands for resistance and the value indicates how many hours it can resist temperature change. The U.S. Department of Energy suggests that homeowners in Florida have 16 inches in the attic to prevent heat movement through the attic.
Wall insulation is less critical and the amount inside it depends on how the home is constructed. Insulation loses its ability to resist temperature change when it’s compressed. A home with 2 x 4 framing will have R-13 fiberglass batts in the walls, while one with 2 x 6 studs will have R-30.
Most homes in Orlando have their HVAC ducts running through the attic which is another factor that affects HVAC efficiency. Attics are exceptionally hot in the summer and unless they’re wrapped with insulating materials, the cooled air blowing through them will heat up. The same is true in the winter. It will lose some of its heat on a chilly winter night before it reaches your rooms.
It is possible to increase the amount of insulation in the walls and attic, but it’s also an affordable project to give to a professional, especially if your ducts need insulating. An HVAC pro will seal the leaks and then apply the insulation.
Insulation is the most durable and inexpensive way to increase HVAC efficiency. For more information, contact Rinaldi’s Energy Solutions, providing HVAC services for Orlando-area homeowners.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).