Here at Paradigm Roofing, we understand the need to be cost conscious. Radiant barriers are a type of reflective insulation system that have the ability to lower air conditioning costs if they are installed properly. In fact, according to the Department of Energy, these barriers can save homeowners five to ten percent off of their cooling bill. They work by deflecting the sun’s rays away from the living area due to the reflective material that make them. This process is different from other insulation materials that work by inhibiting conduction through absorption.
To better understand how this works, lets take a look at how heat reaches cool areas.
The Path of Heat
There are three ways summer heat can ruin the cool comfort of your living space: conduction, convection, and radiation.
- Conduction is when heat is absorbed and transferred; most insulation works in this manner.
- Convection occurs when the air in your home warms and rises; this is why the upstairs of your home may be hotter than other parts of the house during the summer.
- Radiant heat is the direct absorption of the sun’s rays by another object.
How Your House Gets Hotter
As previously mentioned, most home insulation seeks to cool a home by slowing down the conductive property of heat. Reflective insulation systems address the radiant property. Roofing materials are also conductive. As the sun’s rays beam on the roof, the heat is absorbed and radiates to solid objects in the attic or upper level of the home. Barriers installed on the underside of the roof deflect this back out to the atmosphere.
Radiant Barrier Materials
Most radiant barriers are made of aluminum foil, which is layered over barrier material such as cardboard. Although it’s easier to place barriers in new homes, older homes can be retrofitted by residential roofing professionals. They usually place them between the roof rafters in the attic.