Insulating Your Home in Florida: What R-Value is Best?

Insulating your home is essential for keeping energy costs low and your home comfortable. In Florida, Energy Star's recommended map shows that most areas have an R-value recommendation between 30-60 for uninsulated attics and R25-R38 for existing insulated attics.

Insulating Your Home in Florida: What R-Value is Best?

Insulating your home is an important step in keeping your energy costs low and your home comfortable. In Florida, the recommended R-value for insulation varies depending on the area and the type of insulation. Energy Star's recommended insulation map for homes shows that most of Florida is within Zone 2.This area has a recommended R-value of 30 to 60 for an uninsulated attic, R25 to R38 for an existing insulated attic, and R13 to R19 for the floor. ENERGYSTAR recommends an R-38 value for most homes.

That translates to approximately 12 inches of insulation. It's very crucial to understand that the way the insulation is installed is almost as significant as the R value. The resistance, or R value, refers to the performance of the insulation by measuring the resistance to heat flowing through the insulation over time. Blown fiberglass installed in the attic has an R-value of 2.2 per inch, so 12 inches would give you an R-value of 26.4 in your attic installation project.

Once you've determined your area and where the insulation is going to be placed, you'll look at the different options and types of insulation. If you're not sure what type of insulation already exists in your home, take a sample to an insulation expert. If you're installing attic insulation in Tampa, you'll need a higher R-value than wall insulation, as heat rises naturally and usually escapes through the attic. The choice of insulation depends on the space you have, the apparent density of the materials (weight by volume) so that the ceilings don't sink with the additional weight, the ease of access to the space, the money you can spend, how easy it would be to replace the insulation if you had a leak in the ceiling or wall, and whether you're building a new house or improving an existing one.

If you're building a new home, you can consider installing insulation at the bottom of the roof covering and sealing the attic space, creating an “unventilated attic.” You can measure the thickness of the attic insulation with a ruler and multiply the number of inches by the R-value of that particular insulation to get an insulation rating. The effectiveness of an insulated wall or ceiling also depends on how and where the insulation is installed. In addition, the overall R-value of a wall or roof will be somewhat different from the R-value of the insulation itself, since some of the heat flows around the insulation through the posts and beams in wooden or steel structures (thermal bridges). In addition, for businesses and consumers concerned about misleading advertising, inadequate installation, and other considerations related to insulation, there is a Federal Trade Commission standard designed to protect it (Title 16, Business Practices, Part 460, Labeling and Advertising of Home Insulation).

If you don't have enough, use a tape measure to measure the depth of the attic insulation. Make sure that the roof or walls can support any additional weight derived from the additional insulation before installation. For more information on insulating materials, if applicable, the installation method and benefits see Types of Insulation. Attic insulation is critical because more heat passes per square foot through the roof than in any other structure in a home.