Sacramento Insulation Contractor Explains Insulation Efficiency

We would venture to guess that there are two main things the average person knows about insulation – It stops the transfer of heat in and out of a home, and you better not touch it if you want to avoid getting all itchy from the fiberglass!

That’s a good place to start, but there’s a lot more to know, including the fact that the fiberglass batt insulation many of us grew up on is being used less and less frequently in new construction!


There are many different types of insulation, and there are even more applications that require insulation. Your home has many different types of insulation in it, and the most common places to find insulation in your home will be the following:

  • HVAC Ducting
  • Exterior Walls
  • Crawl Space / Foundation
  • Attic
  • Roof
  • Plumbing

HVAC insulation is different than wall insulation which is, in turn, different from pipe insulation used for your plumbing. They all, however, do the same thing – stop the transfer of heat through conduction. Insulation products are given an “R” value that designates that materials ability to reduce conduction. They use the following equation to determine the R value of a given material following lab testing:

R Value = (Temperature Difference * Area * Time ) / Heat Loss

The problem with that equation? Nothing! The problem with R value? The tests were done in a controlled lab setting!!!

R Value Is Not Enough!

The R value is a valuable tool that helps us determine the best materials to use while insulating a building, and a high R value material will protect against conduction, but there are three other equally important factors that could render the highest R value materials completely useless!

Heat can be transferred in and out of a structure in one of four ways:

  • Conduction – Process by which heat is directly transmitted through a substance when there is a difference of temperature between adjoining regions
  • Convection – Process by which heat is transferred by the movement caused by hotter, less dense material to rise, and colder, denser material to sink under the influence of gravity
  • Radiation – Process by which the emission of energy as electromagnetic waves or subatomic particles cause surrounding material to become excited and heat up
  • Air Infiltration – Process by which your insulation is bypassed because of a leak in the system – if the air can move past the insulation, its R value is rendered useless because the heat did not need to transfer through the material to enter or exit your home

What Does This Mean?

This means that you need to make sure your insulation job is done right! You could buy the most expensive and highest R value material on the market, but if you have leaks in your walls, or any other type of air infiltration into your home, you will be wasting money. It can be difficult to assess a home for air leaks because they are often located within the walls, or crawlspaces of your home, and this is why a lot of new homes are using densely packed insulation that is blown in when the structure is built. Spaying every nook and cranny releases you from the fear that you missed a spot!

Thinking About an Insulation Upgrade? Call a Sacramento Insulation Contractor Now!

The Sacramento insulation contractor, Clarke & Rush, has been helping families make their homes more efficient since the government rolled out the Energy Star Program!!!

We can help you with everything from upgrading your insulation, to replacing your windows and even your entire HVAC system! We have the team, the tools and the knowledge of energy efficiency to make your home improvement dreams come true. Contact our Sacramento insulation contractor today!