An Arizona Homeowner’s Guide to Insulation
If you lived in Arizona for any length of time, you know that the temperatures can get extremely hot in the southern part of the states and extremely cold in the northern part of the state. Instead of simply throwing more HVAC power at the problem, however, it pays to make a smarter investment by making sure you have the proper insulation installed in the most effective manner. Let’s take a look at the essentials of insulation for Arizona homes.
Why Good Insulation Is a Must
Arizona is notorious for extreme temperatures, especially on the top end of the thermometer. The average summer temperature in the state runs at 103 degrees Fahrenheit, with the average July temperature reaching 106 — and even higher temperatures commonly occur. If your home doesn’t have adequate insulation, it can very quickly become unmanageably, dangerously hot during extreme weather.
Investing in a beefed-up air conditioning system may cause more problems than it solves in such situations. For one thing, an air conditioner too large for its surroundings will tend to short cycle, turning on and off so rapidly that it never actually cools you off. To make matters worse, bigger air conditioners require more electricity, causing your utility bills to spike accordingly.
Properly installed insulation of the right thickness and thermal resistance (see below) can assume some of the burden in keeping your home comfortable. This benefit can lead to a reduction of 20 percent in your energy expenses.
Understanding R-Values and Insulation Types
An insulator’s thermal resistance is measured in terms of its R-value. The higher this number, the more effectively the material resists conductive heat flow. Homes in southern Arizona usually require insulation with an R-value between 30 and 38 to achieve optimal efficiency against the brutally hot weather seen in these parts, with higher R-values producing diminishing returns. By contrast, homes in Flagstaff or other northern Arizona cities may need R-values as high as 60 to combat the frigid winters they regularly see. Your insulation installer can help you determine whether you have the right degree of insulation for your needs.
Many kinds of insulation can provide effective R-values, especially since they come in a variety of thickness options. Urethane foam, cellulose, and mineral wool can all insulate attics and walls with great efficiency, whether you have it applied in solid batts or as a blown-in material that fills cracks and covers tricky surfaces. While none of these materials can claim to be totally flame-proof, they can all retard fire to varying degrees.
Find Out Exactly What You Need
The smartest starting point in your quest for insulation involves the scheduling of an energy audit. Qualified professionals can evaluate your home’s thermal performance in detail, figuring out exactly which parts of the house require extra help. Once you know what you need, you’re ready to enjoy a more comfortable, energy-efficient Arizona home!