Radiant barrier is a relatively new product that consumers are slowly becoming aware of. It consists of a reflective composition placed in your attic that reflects heat before it enters your home. Our government, universities as well as independent laboratories have tested this new energy saving product and it works. People seem to have a hard time believing that their attic can be converted into a giant mirror reflecting heat from underneath their roof. By applying just a coat of paint under the decking surface it will reduce heat transfer and insects by sealing up cracks and crevices.
Roof temperatures can rise to almost 200 degrees. Attic temperature can be as hot as 140 degrees. This heat creates moisture that falls to your attic floor on your insulation. This causes your insulation not to work properly and lowers the insulation value. Radiant barrier works three-fold by reflecting heat from your home, lowering the temperature in your attic that allows your insulation to work more effectively and this causes your A/C unit to work less. An additional benefit is that you’re A/C ductwork lasts longer because it isn’t exposed to such high temperatures that induce drying and cracking creating air leaks.
When you are building a home you need to inform your builder that you want radiant barrier installed. They have a plywood decking material available that has a reflective film on the bottom. The average extra cost is only 3 cents a square foot and this is the most cost effective installation of radiant barrier. This installation of radiant barrier should be mandatory and not optional. A builder not using this product shouldn’t be building any home.
If you have a home without radiant barrier it will be more difficult and expensive to install. You need to use caution when hiring a radiant barrier installer. All products being developed always have copycat companies popping up vying for the market share. Many are inferior products that do not work as well and if not properly installed will not work or last as expected. You also have the option of installing it yourself to eliminate the installation costs.
There are several companies selling a powdered ceramic substance that you add to paint and they claim and even guarantee will cut your electric bill by 15-20%. These products may work but the only radiant barrier product I will use is provided by Hy-Tech Thermal Solutions. Most installers will want to keep the costs down and they will use an interior paint versus exterior paint that costs less. The climate inside your attic suffers the same temperature extremes as the outside of your home. The paint should also be high gloss that has a more reflective value. You also want to ensure that the paint is a water-based latex versus oil based that will create toxic fumes roaming through your home. If you have oil-based paint installed and your gas appliances are not turned off or an electrical spark occurs it could cause an explosion. Aluminum or silver color paint will provide more reflecting properties than white paint. These are the only two colors to use as a radiant barrier.
Every American should be aware that we have a shortage of oil, but we have even less natural gas. Most of our electric plants are run by natural gas. Building new nuclear or coal burning electrical plants will take decades to complete. Many people are complaining about the high cost of gasoline but don’t stop to think that their homes use far more natural resources than their automobiles. By installing radiant barrier and reducing your electric bill by 30% or more you can do your part to conserve our environment, reduce our dependence on other nations, and help reduce our gas prices at the pump. By running up your electric bill, supply and demand fundamentals dictate that you are also increasing every other Americans electric bill. Besides that our government is offering a $500.00 dollar tax credit to Americans who make their home more energy efficient. Why does our government want us to make our homes more energy efficient? Perhaps they realize that our utility bills could one day be more expensive than our mortgage payments if we don’t start to consume less.
Many people are having a hard time selling their property due to the housing market slow down. Something they should know is that the underlying factor for all prospective homebuyers is, “How much is it going to cost me?” Many new homebuyers are inquiring about the utility bills of a home prior to buying. Some people don’t even need your permission to get this information. By installing radiant barrier you are adding value to your home and reducing the electric bill, which will help sell your home.
All in all, radiant barrier is an energy efficient product that works and if you take the precautions above, you will maximize your savings. Americans can assist our nation by making their home more energy efficient. Radiant barrier is the most affordable energy efficient product available for your home.