Its April 12....the high for today is 38. I am craving a hearty stew. So rather than thinking about what I could be doing with flower beds outside and blog about it, I am thinking about insulation. Insulation is measured by R-value.
R-value indicates the ability to retard heat FLOW, the higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power. Remember its flow, so this means BOTH keeping your house warmer in the winter & cooler in the summer without cranking the furnace or AC.
I am sure we have all helped someone with remodeling an old home. You get to the part of ripping down plaster & lath (drywall was not a thing yet). And behind that lath, you find....NOTHING or maybe mashed down old newspaper. THAT IS IT. NO INSULATION. That was standard almost everywhere in the US until the 1950s. Now you know why old houses can be drafty. (Here is a great resource too: DOE R-value Recommendations)
Now take a look at the map below. We are in region 6 in this part of Iowa (AKA its cold here in the winter), so insulation is worth the investment!
So what does that mean if you are looking to buy a home? You can't see in the walls. But you should ASK about insulation. If its a newer house, maybe there are still plans laying around and you can reference those.
NE Iowa is in Zone 6, so that means ideally:
HOW you get R13 or R21 in your walls and R49 in your attic is up to you. For many of us, the method of insulation depends on cost mostly, but environmental concerns or hazard during application might all be factors too.
For example, mineral wool, rodents like mice and bats do not like it! Or Closed cell polyurethane is more hazardous during application (and costs the most too). BUT if you are limited on space (think TINY HOME here), maybe getting R19 in 3 inches in really important to you.
Thermal loss (both hot & cold) is a real thing, and one you get reminded of EVERY TIME you get your electric or gas bill. The below picture, of course shows the biggest loss at the windows, but check out the second floor, less insulation was used on the second floor than the first (you can even see the 2x6s).
I also included a picture of a passive house, which basically means a super insulated home (started in Germany about 20 years ago). Its pretty amazing the difference!
In a future blog, I will get to SIPs! These are used frequently in Europe, they insulate and provide rigid stucture (rather than 2x6s). The U-value of windows and how amazing PassivHaus construction can be (if it works with your wants) will be forthcoming another blog as well.
Hi, I am Summer, real estate agent in NE Iowa. This blog is about life, of which Real Estate is a part of. Happy reading!