In a house, most heat transfer takes place through the attic. Warmer air is constantly looking for a cooler spot to migrate to. So, in the summer, the warm air trapped in the attic will try to come into the house, making your air conditioner work harder, run longer hours, and give you a larger bill to pay. In the winter, the warm air you want to keep indoors will try to escape to the colder air outside through the attic. This increases heater usage and heating costs. There are many different ways to help reduce some of this heat transfer, making your home more energy efficient and comfortable in all seasons. In addition to installing sufficient insulation, energy efficient windows, sealing gaps, and weather stripping, attic radiant barriers are increasing in popularity because of the positive effects they have on reducing this heat transfer.
Radiant barrier insulation uses some type of reflective material, usually aluminum, which is coated and then attached on both sides to a substrate material, which can be made of paper or plastic. There is usually one shiny side and one dull side to the barrier, but that just comes from the manufacturing; it doesn’t matter which side faces up or down. When using this barrier, remember that the side facing the source of the heat can reflect anywhere from 95 to 98 percent of it. So, in the summer, much less heat is let through the attic into your house. Consequently, the side that faces away from the source of the heat only allows 2 to 5 percent of it through, so it will help keep the heat in your home during the winter. All barriers must face an open airspace, which can be as small as ¾” of an inch. It is the airspace and the radiant barrier working together that create the barrier to heat. If there is no airspace, the radiant barrier will not work as it should. Also, if there is a lot of dust in the region where the radiant barrier will be installed, it could cause issues, because the dust will reduce the barrier’s ability to reflect, thus making a barrier that is not as effective. There are solutions to this that a specialist can help consumers with. Some states and cities are adding radiant barriers to their energy and building codes, as well, to help with conserving energy.
There are many other uses for an attic foil radiant barrier. Anywhere in your home that has airspace available and needs help in cutting down on the amount of heat transfer, they can be used. Some people have attached them to the backs of their garage doors to reduce heat transfer there. Others have wrapped their water heaters or lined their pipes with radiant barriers, as well. Some have even lined crawl spaces with them. Reducing the amount of heat transfer in your home is as easy as installing these barriers anywhere that heat can sneak inside or escape to the outside. There are lots of different ceiling ideas to work the efficiency of your home.
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