Is a Radiant Barrier Effective?

Radiant Barriers

Determining if a radiant barrier is effective you must understand what it is. Radiant barriers are used in homes, mostly in attics, to diminish the heat and lower the air conditioning bills. These barriers are made of shiny, reflective material, and they operate by reflecting the radiant heat from outside the house. The sun heats the shingles on the roof, this heat is then transferred into the attic space. As a result, which in turn transfers heat into the rest of the house. Radiant barriers reduce this process of conduction by minimizing the heat gain from the shingles into the attic.

If you have been wondering about the effectiveness of these barriers, then you are not alone. It is often rumored that this shiny technology was invented by NASA – this however is not the case, although NASA has used the technology during some of its space programs. Although at this time there is no standardized method for testing how well these barriers work, several field tests nevertheless clearly demonstrate their effectiveness. The US Department of Energy has stated that these barriers can reduce air conditioning costs by up to 10% during the summer months. Installing radiant barriers will be most beneficial if your home meets any of the following three conditions: your attic is not well insulated, much sunlight hits your roof, and/or your attic has good ductwork.

Should you Get Radiant Barriers?

Firstly, if your attic is well insulated the use of radiant barriers is not needed. But if your attic is not insulated, then radiant barriers will make a noticeable difference with heat entering the home. Secondly, the positioning of the house makes a big difference. As mentioned, these barriers work by blocking the sun’s heat that is built upon the shingles of the roof. Finally, if you have ductwork in your attic you are also reducing stress on the system.

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