The Truth about Radiant Barriers

Friday, May 19th, 2017 by Joy Padgett

If you’ve been listening to the talk about how to make your home more energy efficient, you may have heard of something called a “radiant barrier”.  It might have even sounded like something that would work for you. BUT….come on now, you knew there was a “but” coming….what is a radiant barrier and do they really work?

A radiant barrier is a foil material typically installed below the roof deck in the attic. Its purpose is to reflect the infrared heat from the roof deck. Although the radiant barrier will actually reflect roof heat, there are less than ideal conditions for the barrier to work consistently and over large periods of time.

If the radiant barrier gets dirty (now remember, this is in your attic where I’m sure you take time every week to dust) it will not reflect. A shiny surface, like what is found with a radiant barrier, can’t reflect if its surface is covered in dust. PLUS, they work best when there is intense heat or a large temperature difference across them. PLUS, they need a half inch or more of air space in front of them to work. If the radiant barrier is installed on the attic floor, they aren’t going to reflect winter heat back into your home as some companies will claim.

Blonde woman looks puzzled

So what does this all mean for our incredible friends in Central Kentucky? Radiant barriers can be included as part of an overall strategy to KEEP HEAT OUT of a home in a climate where you are cooling the home more than you are heating it. So, it isn’t going to help very much in Central Kentucky. If you live in Florida or Texas, having a radiant barrier properly installed in your attic would be a good measure to add to your overall strategy for making your home more energy efficient AND more comfortable.

If you want to know what would help make your home more comfortable and more energy efficient, call us!

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