Radiant barriers are an alternative to traditional insulation, a high-tech way to keep your home comfortable. The reflective material keeps the heat where it belongs – outside in the summer, and inside during the cold months.
Energy-efficiency experts recommend this insulation because of its superior ability to reduce heat transfer. But will it also reduce your heating and cooling costs?
Yes – and you’re going to be amazed by how much you can save with this type of insulation.
Putting Radiant Barrier Insulation to the Test
As of yet, there is no standard for testing exactly how effective this insulation is at reducing heating and cooling costs. But numerous studies have proven that monthly energy bills drop after it’s installed.
Field tests have mainly been performed in hot, arid climates where residents rely on air conditioning much of the year. Research in cold regions of the country is scant but seems to suggest similar results.
The studies show that adding radiant barriers to an attic with R-19 insulation reduces summer ceiling heat gain by roughly 16 to 42 percent. By keeping that much heat out of the attic, the whole house remains cooler and the air conditioner doesn’t see as much use.
Energy Bill Savings with Radiant Barrier Insulation
Let us be clear, though – just because the heat gain drops by 16 to 42 percent doesn’t mean your energy bills will drop by the same amount with this type of insulation.
Ceiling heat gain only accounts for 15 to 25 percent of the total cooling load on your home. So, if you do the math (we’re trusting that to the experts at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a division of the U.S. Department of Energy) you’ll realize that installing radiant barrier insulation typically results in a 2 to 10 percent drop in cooling costs. But, in some cases, homeowners can slash their energy bills by as much as 17 percent.
The savings you can expect may vary depending upon the size of your home and whether it has one or two stories. The amount of insulation you already have, the configuration of your attic insulation, the efficiency of your HVAC system and several other factors also affect your heating and cooling costs.
Maximizing the Effectiveness of Radiant Barrier Insulation
Of course, all of the field testing has been in a controlled setting. Experts say that the effectiveness of this insulation depends upon how it is installed.
Dust and particles on the surface compromise the ability to block heat transfer, so location matters. As attic floors can be magnets for dust bunnies, installing the insulation at the ceiling is best. In addition, the reflective surface should face downward to decrease the likelihood of particle accumulation.
Energy-efficient insulation pays for itself over time, and it also boosts the value of your home. If you’re ready to explore your options, turn to the professional team at GreenHome Specialties.
Based in Provo and Layton, Utah, we help homeowners in Salt Lake City and the surrounding communities. For more information on installing radiant barrier insulation, contact GreenHome Specialties today.