How a Residential Radiant Barrier Can Lower Your Utility Bills

A radiant barrier will reduce cooling costs by reflecting heat and blocking its emissivity. It works well in hot climates and alongside traditional insulation during cold months to keep the warmth inside the home.

A radiant barrier may not be worth the investment if your home has a well-shaded roof, properly sealed air ducts, and energy-efficient windows. Consult a local insulation expert for more information. Visit to learn more.

 Radiant Barrier

Radiant barriers are essentially foil-like sheets of aluminum that reflect radiant heat where it came from. That differs from traditional insulation, which typically has a foam core that absorbs and holds thermal energy. A properly installed radiant barrier reduces a home’s cooling costs by as much as 17% during the year’s warmest months. That’s a significant amount of money to save, and if you take the time to review your previous utility bills, a radiant barrier will likely pay for itself within ten years.

When used with proper insulation, radiant barriers also effectively reduce heating and cooling costs. That is because they keep radiant heat from escaping through the roof, which keeps the home cooler. However, it’s important to note that radiant barriers alone aren’t enough to effectively reduce your home’s energy bills because they don’t block radiated heat from entering the house.

Radiant barriers must have both a high reflectivity and low emissivity to be effective. They also must be double-sided to perform properly. That means the aluminum must face an open-air space to reflect radiated heat away from the home.

The insulation beneath a radiant barrier must be a foam board or cellulose, not fiberglass. Conventional insulation, such as fiberglass, can sag or delaminate, causing the reflective surface to lose effectiveness. This type of insulation also tends to hold moisture, which can lead to fungal growth in the attic and require a costly dehumidification system.

Foam boards and cellulose are also more resistant to extreme heat and moisture than fiberglass, which may make them a better choice for a radiant barrier. A DIY homeowner can install these products, but hiring a professional installer is best to ensure the installation is done correctly.

Radiant barriers reflect solar energy, decreasing heat build-up on a roof. Typically, aluminum foil is laminated to one or more substrate materials, like cardboard, kraft paper, and oriented strand board. They can also be combined with cellulose or fiberglass insulation to create radiant sheathing. The combination reduces cooling costs and improves the home’s overall energy efficiency.

A radiant barrier is especially important for homes with air-conditioning ducts in the attic, as it keeps them cooler and allows you to use a smaller system, resulting in annual savings of up to $150. However, this is a general rule of thumb, and the precise amount you’ll save depends on how much existing conventional insulation is installed in your attic and the climate zone in which you live.

Without a radiant barrier installed, the sun’s radiant energy enters your house through your attic and warms up your ceilings, causing your air conditioning to work harder. A radiant barrier will block up to 95% of this radiated heat, saving you money year after year. However, radiant barriers must be installed in an open-air space to perform properly; if they are sandwiched between other materials or the attic floor, they become conductors and will not do their job.

If you calculate the present value of your electricity savings using standard economic calculations, a radiant barrier should pay for itself within ten years in most regions of the country. Additionally, energy-efficient features are highly desirable for new home buyers and can increase resale value. If you’re considering adding a radiant barrier to your home, it’s best to shop around and ask for a quote from multiple contractors to see what deal you can get.

Many homeowners are still determining which way a radiant barrier should be installed to get the most benefit. According to the Florida Solar Energy Center research, radiant barriers work best when installed with the foil side facing down and under the roof sheathing. This way, the radiant barrier can reflect the sun’s heat away from the building rather than absorbing and heating it.

Radiant barriers have a high reflectivity and a low emissivity, meaning they only allow a very small amount of radiant heat to pass through into the living space. That means homes with radiant barriers have a much lower energy consumption, especially during the warmest parts of the year.

That is because air conditioning systems do not have to work as hard to cool a home with a radiant barrier installed. According to a study by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, homes with radiant barriers in their attics can save up to 17% per year on energy bills.

There are several different ways to install a radiant barrier in an attic. Still, the most common is simply laying it on top of existing attic insulation with the reflective side up. In new construction, radiant barriers can be stapled under the attic rafters before installing the roof deck. This method is preferred in warm climates since it allows the radiant barrier to reflect heat from the sun away from the living spaces.

In both installation methods, an air gap must be left for the radiant barrier to do its job. This air gap should be about three-quarters of an inch or larger. That will prevent warm air from escaping the attic into the foil surface of the radiant barrier, which can cause it to lose effectiveness.

There are several different radiant barriers available on the market. The main characteristics to look for are high reflectivity and low emittance. The most common type of radiant barrier is a reflective aluminum foil laminated to a stiffer material for support, which can be paper, plastic, OSB, or other materials. Radiant barriers can be installed as a standalone product or combined with traditional insulation in an attic to reduce heat transfer (radiant, convection, and conduction).

It is important that the reflective side of the radiant barrier faces open air space to perform correctly. It should always be evenly distributed between two materials, which will cause it to act as a conductor instead of a reflector. That can significantly reduce its efficiency, and installing them this way in attics is not recommended.

When installed properly, radiant barriers can significantly reduce cooling costs in homes with air ducts in the attic. In a hot climate, this can translate to savings of up to 16% on energy bills. These savings are primarily due to lower air-conditioning run times, fewer over-exertions of the system, and a reduction in peak cooling loads.

For the best results, radiant barriers should be combined with traditional attic floor insulation to protect against all three types of heat transfer. That will ensure the entire home is insulated and maximize the benefits of reduced energy bills and improved comfort. If you are considering adding a radiant barrier to your attic, consult a professional to ensure it is installed properly and to achieve the maximum benefits. That will help to keep your air conditioning running less, improve your indoor comfort, and extend the life of your HVAC system.

Using radiant barriers to keep heat out in summer and during winter can positively impact a home’s energy efficiency. However, there are other factors to consider when deciding whether or not this type of insulation is right for your house. For example, you should ensure that the existing attic insulation is in good condition and has not been compressed or displaced by installing a radiant barrier. Additionally, inspecting the attic for signs of moisture and addressing any issues is important.

One way to ensure that your radiant barrier works is to hire a professional for the job. These specialists can check for gaps or areas not properly covered, impacting how well the product works. They can also ensure that the reflective surface is properly sealed around any penetrations or vents in the attic, such as chimneys, electrical wiring, and ductwork.

Another consideration is how much you are willing to invest in a radiant barrier. In general, you can expect a 5 to 25% payback on the initial investment, depending on the amount of roof area installed with the insulation. For instance, a single-story ranch-style home will see a greater impact than a stacked two-story home with a small attic.

In addition to the cooling benefits that a radiant barrier can offer, it can also help with heating costs in the winter by reflecting heat into the living space. That can be a great benefit for homeowners who live in hot climates or those with HVAC equipment or ductwork in their unconditioned attic.

Insulation With A Good Impact On Your Energy Bills

Insulation keeps warm air inside your home in winter and cool air outside during summer. This helps reduce energy consumption and cut your utility bills.

The insulation you choose and where you install it will affect how much of an impact it makes on your energy bills. For example, cellulose insulation costs significantly less than spray foam and will break even on your initial investment sooner.

Reduces Air Leakage

Insulation is a barrier to air flow which reduces the amount of energy required to heat or cool a home. It works by blocking the transfer of heat energy from the warmer outdoors to a cooler indoor space, and from inside to the colder outdoors. It also helps to keep conditioned air from leaking out, making it more efficient. When used with proper air sealing and passive design, well-insulated homes are comfortable year-round, cut cooling and heating costs significantly, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

There are a wide variety of insulation products available, with different R-values depending on the climate and type of heating/cooling system, as well as the part of the house being insulated. It’s important to consult a professional contractor to determine what the best insulation solution is for your home.

Good insulation materials trap air between their fibrous or foam-like structure. These materials can be loose-fill, such as cellulose (a recycled paper product that’s treated with boron and is blown into place), Roxul, or fiberglass, or spray foam solutions, which are typically polyurethane-based. Choosing the right type of insulation for your needs is important, but it’s also critical to properly seal any gaps and penetrations with caulk or other durable materials before installing insulation.

The type of insulation you choose is dependent on the temperature ranges in your area, and what types of penetrations are located in the walls or ceiling of your home. Some types of insulation are also rated for their fire resistance, as well as their water resistance and/or vapor diffusion retarder properties.

While it’s more economical to insulate a new home from the design stage, retrofitting older houses can still save money and cut your energy bills. For new construction, a high level of insulation is ideal, especially for the attic. If you are adding insulation to an existing home, consider insulating the walls that adjoin uninsulated spaces like garages, laundry rooms, and storerooms.

Insulation is an inexpensive, cost-effective, and easy way to save energy in your home. By reducing air leakage and stopping the movement of heat between different parts of your home, it cuts your energy costs substantially and improves comfort and indoor humidity levels.

Reduces Noise

Insulation is known for blocking heat transfer, but it also has a good impact on your energy bills by reducing noise. It may not completely eliminate loud neighbors, snoring partners or noisy children, but it does cut down on the sounds that come into your home from outside. Insulation reduces sound by slowing the vibrations that create them. It works in a similar way to water ripples that spread outward from where a disturbance is made on the surface of a pool. The noise reduction from insulation can help you relax at home.

You don’t need to purchase a special product to get this benefit, either. Most insulation has this feature built-in. It is important to note, however, that the type of insulation you select will determine how much noise reduction it provides. Cellulose, fiberglass and spray foam insulation are great choices for reducing noise. These types of insulation are installed in walls, floors and ceilings.

Many homeowners are surprised to find that the same insulation they use to shrink their energy bills can also make their homes quieter places to live. This is because of the way these products are designed. While they are usually marketed as thermal insulation, their thickness and density also makes them ideal for absorbing noise.

The other way that insulation helps to reduce noise is by creating a barrier between different spaces within a building. This can be helpful if you live in an apartment or other shared living space. Insulation can keep out the sound of music, conversations and other activities that are taking place in other areas of your home.

When you reduce your home’s energy consumption, you also decrease the amount of pollutants that are produced to produce that energy. Insulation reduces your carbon footprint by lowering the amount of fossil fuels that are burned to generate the electricity you use.

In the future, rising energy costs will likely put a squeeze on most homeowners’ budgets. Insulating and air sealing your home today can reduce the stress that these rising prices will cause by plugging air leaks, which is a major source of waste energy. It can also protect you from skyrocketing energy rates by making your home less dependent on costly heating and cooling equipment.

Reduces Moisture

Insulation helps reduce condensation and makes a home more comfortable in the winter and summer. It prevents moisture from being trapped inside a house, which can lead to mould and damp. It also keeps warm air away from external walls and ceilings to stop the formation of water droplets. This is an important benefit in areas of a house where hot or cold air can collect such as kitchens and bathrooms, and is especially beneficial to older homes with poor insulation.

It also helps make a more peaceful home by reducing noise. This can be particularly noticeable to people who live on busy roads or close to industrial areas, as well as in densely packed suburbs and cities. Insulation provides a barrier to noise from the outside world, as well as between different levels of a house. It can even help reduce noise coming from snoring or children playing.

Good quality insulation can last up to 50 years and will provide great return on investment for homeowners, as the energy bills will significantly decrease over this time. It is also environmentally friendly as it reduces carbon emissions into the atmosphere. This is why a lot of insulation is made from recycled material such as plastic bottles or paper.

Insulation is also very easy to install and comes in a range of forms. Foils, films or papers can be fitted between wood-frame studs or joists at standard spacing, or can be blown into place using special equipment. It is also available in a pre-formed bubble form, or can be poured in to fill large gaps and voids. This type of insulation is also suitable for converting existing finished rooms, irregularly shaped spaces and around obstructions.

It can be installed in the roof cavity, attic space or wall cavities. XPS (extruded polystyrene foam) insulation is particularly effective in these situations as it can be installed between the roof joists or rafters and is usually inserted using an adhesive to ensure a tight fit. It can also be sprayed onto walls or ceilings, or into ductwork to insulate ducting and stop heat loss, reducing the amount of energy your heating system uses.

Reduces Carbon Footprint

Investing in insulation is more than just an energy saving measure; it also contributes to the reduction of a building’s carbon footprint. By reducing energy consumption, it lessens the need for powering homes with fossil fuels, which is the main cause of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Insulation is a great preventative measure against climate change and helps safeguard the environment for future generations.

As the world continues to struggle with climate change, many people are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Energy efficiency measures like insulating their homes are an easy way to make a difference. By preventing heat loss during the winter and heat infiltration during the summer, insulation can significantly cut down on energy usage. This decrease in energy usage translates into less demand for fossil fuels, which reduces environmental impact and reduces energy costs.

To help consumers choose the right insulation for their needs, they should consider the embodied carbon of different materials and products. Embodied carbon is the total amount of greenhouse gases that go into a building material, including its production and transportation. By choosing the lowest embodied carbon option, consumers can minimize their environmental impact. Luckily, many insulation manufacturers now offer Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) that contain detailed information on the embodied carbon of their products.

The EPDs allow consumers to compare the embodied carbon of different insulation products and brands. Some of the lowest embodied carbon insulation options include wood fiber and cellulose. Both of these types of insulation are made from agricultural residues, which can act as a carbon sink for atmospheric greenhouse gases. Additionally, they use natural gas as a blowing agent, which is much cleaner than the hydrofluorocarbons used by spray foam and rigid foam insulation.

One study found that a house that is properly insulated with fiberglass or cellulose can save up to 20% of its energy costs. This is because the insulation prevents air leakage, which can result in higher energy bills and more emissions from heating and cooling the home.

For homeowners who want to take it a step further, a number of utilities run residential energy efficiency programs that can pay for the installation of insulation in their homes. These programs can include tax credits, rebates, or utility-vetted contractors that can help with the cost of insulating a home.