Homeowners Energy Tips: Radiant Barriers

Most of us keep our eyes open for homeowner energy tips to save money. One inexpensive tip often overlooked is the installation of a radiant barrier in the attic. Radiant barriers can save as much as 25 percent on your summer heating costs and are fairly easy to install. They are a particularly good investment for those living in the Sunbelt… or the desert Southwest … or any other area that, if it’s not Hades, you can sure see it from there.

Radiant barriers are basically just a layer of aluminum foil under the roof or in the attic. Before you go to the supermarket and buy a bunch of Reynolds Wrap to spread around, there are few things you need to know.

A radiant barrier is just one of the homeowner energy tips aimed at keeping your attic temperature from costing you money. In the summer, high attic temperatures come mostly from a hot roof radiating heat into the space above your ceiling. Eventually, that heat passes through any insulation you have in your attic and into your living space. Radiant barriers provide one of the best ways to keep your attic cool—and therefore the rest of your house as well—without costing you an armored car’s worth of money every month.

The best time to install a radiant barrier is when you are replacing your roof. That’s because the best radiant barrier comes in the form of roof decking with an aluminum backing. The aluminum is placed so the shiny side faces the attic. This prevents heat from the roof radiating into the attic.

If you don’t plan to re-roof your home anytime soon, you can still take advantage of a radiant barrier. There are products that can be installed between the rafters. You can hire a contractor, but this is one of those homeowner energy tips you can do yourself.

The radiant barriers are usually sold with some sort of backing to strengthen the aluminum (another reason you don’t want to just go to the supermarket and buy rolls of aluminum foil). Some barriers have aluminum on both sides, but these are more expensive and do not necessarily provide better results. If you do it yourself, be sure you install the aluminum with the shiny side facing down into the attic.

Whether you decide to install a radiant barrier as part of a larger remodel or just make it a do-it-yourself weekend project, this is one of those homeowner energy tips anyone can put in place to save money. One caveat, you can’t cover the radiant barrier with insulation. If the aluminum gets covered, it will simply pass the heat to the insulation instead of radiating it back toward the roof.

We here at Spencer AC & Heating are glad to pass on homeowner energy tips to save you money, and to take care of all your heating and cooling needs. For services on your HVAC system call us today at 972.446.2665.