Radiant barriers reduce cooling costs by reflecting solar heat off attic surfaces rather than absorbing it. They don’t, however, reduce heat conduction like thermal insulation does. Beware of radiant barrier companies that claim you’ll save 10% on your energy bills. These claims are based on averages of a single billing cycle with a radiant barrier installed.
Radiant barriers are installed in attics in homes — usually new or existing — primarily to reduce summer heat gain. Radiant Barrier Contractors Houston reflects radiant heat rather than absorbing it like traditional thermal insulation materials. The result is lower cooling costs and a more comfortable home.
The radiant barrier installation process can be tricky and is best left to a professional. There are several ways to install the material, depending on factors such as attic height, construction stage, roof pitch and the location of ductwork and HVAC equipment.
One method involves stapling the material directly to attic rafters. This is typically done on new homes or in the case of an existing attic, when new attic floor insulation is also being installed. A second option is to drape a rolled-foil radiant barrier foil-face down between the attic joists, with the reflective surface facing down (double-faced radiant barriers are available). Oftentimes this is done in a new home before the roof sheathing is applied.
Whether to drape or staple the radiant barrier is determined by a number of factors, including attic access, attic ventilation and the availability of a helper. If the attic space is difficult to get into, it can be easier to drape the radiant barrier. However, it’s important to remember that the attic space must be open and clean to achieve the best results. A cluttered attic can lead to the accumulation of dust and other debris which can interfere with the effectiveness of the radiant barrier.
To achieve the highest performance, the radiant barrier should be positioned so that the reflective surface is facing down and away from the attic ceiling. This will prevent dust from settling on the foil, which will decrease its efficiency. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have a helper during the installation process to ensure that the foil is positioned correctly.
When used in combination with other energy-saving measures, such as attic insulation and air sealing, a radiant barrier can significantly lower your energy bills. You’ll save more money on your utility bills than you’ll pay for the radiant barrier installation cost, ensuring that it is worth the investment.
Radiant barriers are essentially shiny panels or membranes that can slow heat transfer by reflecting long-wave infrared (or radiant) energy. Although they don’t have any inherent R-value, when used as part of an insulating system with batt or foam insulation — with appropriate air spaces between the material layers — they can help that insulation achieve its intended R-value.
Radiation is the source of much of the heat gain in a home, and the main purpose of a radiant barrier is to slow that radiation. This can help reduce summer cooling bills, and can even help prevent the formation of ice dams in a roof.
A radiant barrier can be installed in an attic in several ways. One method is to lay the product directly on the attic floor, with the reflective surface facing down. Another option is to install it in the attic rafters. This approach requires more work, but can result in significant energy savings. The choice of installation method may depend on the type of radiant barrier purchased. Some products are perforated to allow moisture vapor to pass through them. These products can be used in vented attics, but it is important to check the emissivity of the product; one that has an extremely low emissivity is preferred.
Other radiant barriers are bonded to a variety of substrate materials such as kraft paper, plastic films, oriented strand board and cardboard. Many are also fiber reinforced for strength and ease of handling. When these products are combined with cellulose and fiberglass insulation, they operate as the insulation’s face material.
A number of studies have shown that a radiant barrier installed in the attic of a new building can significantly reduce the energy needed to cool the structure in warm or hot climates. For example, one industry-funded test of OSB sheathing topped with radiant barrier foil found that, in combination with other energy-saving construction details, air conditioning energy savings of 10% to 20% could be achieved. Generally, the return on investment for a radiant barrier is highest when it is installed during new construction.
Radiant barriers reduce energy costs by reducing the amount of heat that is transferred through radiation into your attic. In a hot climate, this can result in a reduction of cooling expenses by up to 10%. It is especially useful for older homes with uninsulated attics and for those with roofs that face the sun, such as a south-facing roof.
Installing a radiant barrier is relatively simple and requires only some basic tools. However, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and safety precautions. It is also important to consult with local building and fire codes before installing the product. In addition, it is advisable to hire a professional contractor.
Spray-on radiant barriers are easy to apply and offer the flexibility of applying the material in different areas of your attic. To install this type of radiant barrier, clear the attic space and prepare it by removing any debris or obstructions. Then, use a ladder to access your attic and begin the application process. Make sure to cover all of the attic floor, avoiding any obstacles such as ductwork or vents. Then, wait for the product to dry and cure.
If you prefer a less labor-intensive installation method, you can choose to install your radiant barrier using foil-faced insulation boards. These are available in many different thicknesses, and they can be installed on the attic floor or in the rafters. However, you should remember that it is important to maintain a consistent spacing and sizing when installing this type of radiant barrier. It is also a good idea to insulate any bare spots or gaps in the insulation.
While radiant barriers are often advertised as an energy-saving solution, they are not a substitute for a well-insulated attic. They can significantly lower cooling costs in a hot climate, but they do not increase the R-value of your attic. It is therefore more cost-effective to add more thermal insulation than to add a radiant barrier.
Choosing the right type of radiant barrier for your home can be difficult. There are several factors to consider, including the size of your attic and the location of your air ducts. It is also important to determine the direction of your roof, as a radiant barrier will be more effective when it is installed facing the attic ceiling.
Unlike traditional insulation, radiant barriers are not rated by R-value. The thermal properties of these products depend on many variables, including the type of product and how it is installed. Some companies claim their radiant barrier is “NASA certified.” However, NASA does not certify any insulation products or manufacturers.
Some builders have begun using radiant barrier sheathing on new homes. This is a type of OSB (oriented strand board) that has radiant barrier foil laminated to both sides. Some companies claim that radiant barrier sheathing adds only about $300 to $400 to the cost of a home, but it can make a big difference in energy savings.
Radiant barriers are a popular choice in Arizona for new construction, where the high summer temperatures can cause cooling bills to skyrocket. Some studies show that a radiant barrier can cut air conditioning costs by as much as 10%. However, most experts say that radiant barriers are most effective when they are combined with other energy-saving insulation and building techniques.
A radiant barrier works by reflecting the heat from the sun away from the attic and roof. This reduces the amount of heat that enters a home, but it can also raise the temperature of other areas of the house. This can be especially uncomfortable if the air conditioning is running in a hot attic.
However, a radiant barrier can lead to fungal growth in the attic and can be damaged by water leaks or condensation from a dehumidifier. This can lead to a mold problem that can affect your health and the value of your home.
A radiant barrier can be a good option for Arizona homes that are older and poorly insulated, but it is not a substitute for more thermal insulation. Using a radiant barrier in place of an attic insulation system that is below the required R-value will result in a lower R-value overall, and may even decrease the performance of other forms of insulation. If you have questions about the effectiveness of radiant barrier for your home, contact John’s Waterproofing. Our expert team can recommend the best energy saving solutions for your home, including radiant barrier and attic insulation.