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Insulation 101: The Basics

Most of us spend the majority of our time in our homes (and for those of us who spend the majority of our time at work, we wish we spent more time at home!) So, of course, we want it to be as comfortable as possible and as affordable as possible to maintain. In our experience, insulation is one of the best ways to affordably keep your home energy-efficient and comfortable all year long.

The Basics About Insulation

If the air temperature outside your home is warm, and it’s cool and comfortable inside the house with the AC, proper insulation will help keep the hot air outside and the cool air inside. This helps keeps you comfortable and your air conditioning bill to a minimum.

While the concept may sound simple, a home’s insulation system is quite complex—entire books have been written about the subject. We’ll just give you the basic facts so that you can talk knowledgeably with your builder about how your new home will be insulated. And if you’re planning on remodeling your home and want to know more about insulation, this page will give you an overview to start you out!

How Heat Moves

The main function of insulation is to control heat flow. To understand how insulation works, you need to first understand how heat moves.

The heat generated by all sources (people, animal, lights, etc.) moves from place to place by three basic principles:

  • Radiation
  • Convection
  • Conduction

How Heat Flow Affects Your Home

Heat moves from warm to cold using a combination of radiation, conduction and convection. In the summer, when it’s warm outside, heat transfers through exterior walls, windows and roofing to the inside of the home. This process is referred to as heat gain. In the winter, the opposite will happen. Heat generated by the HVAC escapes to the outside of the home. This process is referred to as heat loss.

In the summer, uncontrolled heat gain can cause you to be uncomfortably warm. Your thermostat will react to the warm temperatures, and the air conditioning system will have to run more often and for longer periods of time, resulting in higher utility costs. The same thing can happen in the winter, when uncontrolled heat loss can make your home drafty and chilly. To keep warm, you’ll need to turn up the thermostat, and the heating system will have to run more often and for longer periods of time, again resulting in higher utility costs.

How Insulation Works

Insulation works to stop this heat gain and heat loss. It does this by slowing the rate of heat flow through the home’s envelope—which has a significant influence on how comfortable you and your family are in your home and how much money you’re paying on your energy bills.

Insulation is typically referred to by its R-value, which is the measure of a material’s resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value, the more resistant a material is to heat flow. The climate you live in will determine the ideal R-value of the insulation you install. Learn more »

Now that you know the basics about how insulation works and why it’s critical in your home, use this information when you’re talking to your builder or remodeler. If you need to install insulation in your home in the Upper Marlboro or Hagerstown, Maryland area, contact Accurate Insulation!

Products We Install

Our insulation team adds energy efficiency, comfort & value to homes & buildings.

Spray Foam

Accurate Insulation is proud to be a leading installer of spray foam insulation.


Environmentally friendly and effective, cellulose works well in homes and buildings.

Radiant Barrier

We can help keep your home cooler and more comfortable with an attic radiant barrier.

Garage Doors

When you turn to Accurate Insulation for garage doors, you work with a great team.


No matter your gutter needs, the Accurate Insulation team has you covered.


Accurate Insulation is proud to be a leading supplier of quality window blinds.

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