Applegate Insulation

The Truth About R-Values

What's an R-Value?

R-Value is the measure of the ability of insulation material to resist heat transfer. The R-Value is determined by placing carefully prepared test specimens between two plates in a laboratory apparatus and measuring heat flow through the insulation.

R-Value is a very accurate and reliable expression of how insulation materials perform with regard to conduction of energy in a laboratory apparatus. But people don't live in laboratories or only deal with the conduction of energy. They live in homes with real walls and ceilings, and in the real world of buildings R-Value is only one factor which determines the actual performance of insulated building assemblies.

R-Values tell only part of the story.

R-Value is a laboratory measurement that measures conduction, but it does not effectively measure the other two methods of heat transfer: convection and radiation.



So R-Value is only telling 1/3 of the story of how well your home will be insulated in real world conditions.

R-Value is important, but building scientists know that focusing on R-Value to the exclusion of all other factors can result in disappointment. It’s known, for instance, that thermal bridging can reduce the actual energy efficiency of a wall by up to 50 percent. U.S. scientists have proven that convective flows in very light density attic insulation can reduce its performance by more than 40 percent under winter conditions. 

Cellulose insulation when applied at high density effectively resists air-infiltration. The Department of Energy (DOE) has written, "DON'T RELY ON THE INSULATION: The most common insulation, fiberglass, does not stop air leakage. In older homes, dirty fiberglass is a telltale sign of air movement (it simply collects dirt like a filter). Certain types of insulation such as dense-packed cellulose and certain foams, can be effective at reducing air flow as well as heat flow." DOE Air Sealing Guide

Cooler in the summer
Heat radiation in the summer.


Warmer in the winter
Heat convection in the winter.

The truth is…not all insulations effectively combat all three kinds of heat transfer.

Unlike other insulations, Applegate Insulation effectively combats all three kinds of heat transfer. Applegate Insulation with an R-Value of up to 3.8 per inch, can be installed as a dense monolithic block in walls and as a blanket in the attic which significantly reduces air infiltration and acts as an effective barrier to heat transfer.

Whether your home was built a century ago or completed yesterday, it’s not too late for you to enjoy the benefits of Applegate Insulation.

Covering old low-density loose-fill fiberglass in an attic with more of the same stuff “fails to restore the lost R-Value” that naturally occurs with fiberglass. But researchers at Oak Ridge found that when one “cap” loose-fill fiberglass with cellulose, it not only adds R-Value, it actually restores the effective R-Value that fiberglass loses during cold weather.

Many older homes were built with little or no insulation in the sidewalls. Your local Applegate installer can add Applegate Insulation to your existing home’s sidewalls, making your home more energy efficient — saving you money!


What R-Value should I have in my house?

How much Applegate Insulation you should have in your home will vary based on what type of climate you live in, the construction of your home, what heating equipment you are using and what type of fuel your heating system uses. The U.S. Department of Energy has put together some recommendations for minimum R-Values based on where you live in the United States.


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Heat Transfer Definitions

  • Conduction is the transfer of heat through a solid material, such as heat being transferred from warmer sections of walls and ceilings to cooler areas.

  • Convection is the transfer of heat by moving air, like warm air rising to the ceiling. 

  • Radiation is the transfer of heat in the form of electromagnetic waves, such as heat being transferred from the roof of a home to the ceiling.
Turning yesterday’s news into tomorrow’s insulation.
Applegate Insulation 1000 Highview Drive Webberville, MI 48892 Phone 800 627 7536 Fax 517 521 3597
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"For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God." Heb. 3:4 (NASB)