Understanding the R-value
The traditional use for a garage was to offer your car a form of shelter from the elements; however, it is well known that many garages are actually used for extra storage as well. With this in mind, we now have to take into consideration what the space will be used for, whether the garage is attached to your home or not and if the items being stored need protection from temperature changes. We need to be sure that any heat or electricity we pay for is not allowed to simply escape, costing you money and damaging the environment.
Whilst there are several ways to measure whether or not you’re achieving your aims, there is an industry standard that will assist is known as the R‑value (thermal resistance value).
What is thermal resistance and how is it calculated?
Thermal Resistance Value (R-value) is the measurement used to see how well your garage insulation is working for you. Simply put, the R‑value is the measurement of the thermal resistance of various construction materials. For example, it measures the amount of thermal conductivity (hot or cold) that is able to pass through a wall. Therefore, the higher a material’s R‑value, the better it will be for providing insulation.
You can measure your current garage insulation performance by running two simple tests; one in winter and the other in the summer months. Enter your garage and turn the key in your car; do not start the engine yet, just turn it until the dashboard lights up and you can see the temperature displayed. Write down the temperature. Then, take the car out for approximately a 10-minute drive, maybe on your way to the shops or work; now make a note of the temperature, and work out the difference between the temperature in your garage and the temperature outside. This will show you how effective your current thermal insulation is.
Why you need to know?
If your garage is not adjusting to seasonal temperatures, it will be costing you money and can cause damage to the items stored within it. For example, if you have a chest freezer stored in the garage, and your thermal insulation is not effective, you could find in the summer months that your freezer uses much more electricity while it attempts to keep your frozen goods safe from the increased heat of the garage.
What role does temperature play?
It is important for your garage to be at a regulated temperature if you wish to protect your goods from the elements. For instance, your garage temperature is +3°C and outside it is ‑6°C; your garage door is keeping the garage at least 8 degrees warmer than the outside temperature. You can run the same test in the summer, in which case the garage door should be keeping the garage cooler.
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