Radiant barriers are basically insulation devices used to maintain the temperature of the surroundings. They are mainly composed of reflective aluminum sheets placed on a substrate material. The substrates are made up of craft paper, brown paper, cardboard, plastic films, and plywood sheathing among others.
How it Works
The basic principle of a Radiant barrier is to provide a method by which hot air, during the summer months, to be reflected back towards the outside and therefore, not heat the spaces under the roof. This would reduce cooling costs as extra heat is not entering living spaces. During the winter, heat from the house is kept within the living spaces by not escaping through the roof. The particular properties of radiant barriers that describes these actions are called emissivity and reflectivity.
Although the attic radiant barrier can be used on its own, it’s not necessarily a substitute for traditional attic insulation. They work well together. Most conductive materials such as foam, cellulose, and fiberglass insulation work to reduce conductive heat loss through conduction. On the other hand, radiant barriers work to reduce radiant heat loss by reflecting radiant energy. Radiant foil can act as an air barrier and reduce the amount of air movement inside the insulation. This means that combining the traditional attic insulation with a top layer of radiant barrier in your attic is the most effective way to keep your house comfortable and keep your energy costs low.
The Barrier reflects the sun’s heat energy without disrupting the natural movement of heat by conduction and convection.
Radiant barrier works with reflectivity by bouncing the heat back where it came from, so the heat that’s already inside will bounce off the foil and stay there. And in the summer, radiant heat that would normally come off the roof and be absorbed by the insulation will be reflected back outside where it belongs. Consequently, heat is lessened by lowering the temperature of the inside spaces.
During cold seasons, radiant barriers are connected to foam installation for more efficiency. Although most homes lack pre-installed Radiant Barriers, having them installed can lower your energy costs by up to 20% during warmer climates.
Radiant barriers are designed to help minimize energy usage in different types of buildings by reducing both heating and cooling expenses. As such, they come in different designs and choices to help the user save energy to the maximum. Radiant barriers have their perks and limitations.
* Foil Faced Plastic – This type of radiant barriers comes as a thin membrane that serves as the barrier. Foil-faced plastic barriers are most effective when pinned to the lower edges of the rafters.
* Foil-Faced Foam – This is an uncompromising type of foam barrier/insulation that offers a high-quality performance by lowering the amount of energy lost through conduction.
* Radiant Barrier Paint – This is the cheapest type of radiant barrier that is usually applied in the form of a spray. Radiant barrier paint is less efficient in terms of performance as compared to other Radiant Barriers.