After a bad pest infestation, you may need to replace your insulation. If you start comparing types, you’ll notice that insulation products are given R-values, and they range substantially. Understanding the R-value is key to getting the right insulation to match what is currently in your attic, or to improve the insulation in your attic and reduce your heating and cooling costs.

What is Insulation R-Value?

R-value is a measurement of how well insulation resists the transfer of heat. Some material resists heat much better than others. Imagine you’re boiling a pot of water and noodles. If you used a metal spoon to stir the noodles, it would get hot a lot faster than a wooden spoon would. Metal allows heat to transfer through it quickly, while wood puts up more resistance.

You want your insulation to stop the heat in its tracks so that it can’t enter your home in the summer or leave it in the winter. So, you want a higher R-value, which indicates the material will keep more heat in its place.

There are several types of insulation, and you can find high-quality and middle quality in all of them. You’ll also need to consider how much space you have, as some types of insulation need to be thicker than others to achieve the same R-value.

What Insulation R-Value Do I Need?

Insulation with a higher R-value is better, but it is also more expensive, so you have to make a decision about how much value better insulation offers you in comparison to how much it costs.

Although, first, you might consider whether you’re replacing all or some of your insulation. Sometimes pests only damage a small portion of your insulation, so only a small portion needs to be replaced. If so, you won’t get more value from exceeding the quality of your current insulation. That one spot will better resist heat, but that won’t make much of an impact on your overall cooling and heating costs.

Instead, it’s better to match the R-value of the insulation you have now. That way, this new spot doesn’t become a liability for heat loss but also doesn’t cost more than it needs to.

It’s a different story if you need to replace all of your insulation from the pest infestation, or if you’re taking the opportunity of some damaged insulation to get an upgrade. Then you need to consider what kind of insulation you want.

In California, we don’ have as much of a need for extremely high performing insulation as they may in Alaska. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends that most areas of California choose insulation with an R-value between R30 and R60 for an otherwise uninsulated attic. However, the recommendations differ for certain areas of California that are further from the coast. There are pockets where the Department of Energy recommends a minimum of R38 or even R59.

Get Expert Advice

Not sure if you need to replace all or select portions of your attic insulation? Not sure what kind of insulation R-value you should be replacing it with? Let the experts at Serenity Pest Control help you decide.