A “SPACE BLANKET” FOR YOUR HOME.
Radiant Barrier works just like the space blankets developed by NASA to protect astronauts from the sun’s rays. Even though thin, space blankets are made of material that efficiently blocks radiant heat.
The materials in Radiant Barrier are similar. By reflecting radiant heat like a space blanket, Radiant Barrier reduces heat transfer from one area of your home to another, greatly magnifying the effect of traditional insulation.
Understanding how heat and energy move in and out of your home will help explain why Radiant Barrier is such an effective method of reducing energy transfer, thus reducing energy use and cost.
How does Radiant Barrier work?
Radiant Barrier is unlike mass insulation, which only slows down or resists heat transfer. Radiant Barrier reflects heat. Heat always goes toward cold by natural law—the problem is how to keep the heat in during the winter and how to keep it out in the summer.
There are three ways in which heat goes from warm spaces to cold spaces:
- CONDUCTION is direct heat flow through a solid object such as a wall or a ceiling.
- CONVECTION is heat movement through air, occurring when air is warmed. The warm expands, becoming less dense and rising.
- RADIATION is the movement of heat rays across air spaces from one warm object to a cooler object. The heat we feel from a wood stove or a quartz space heater is radiant heat.
- ALL OBJECTS AND BODIES GIVE OFF RADIANT HEAT. Even the insulation in your attic gives off radiant heat to the cold attic space in the winter, and to the living space in the summer. Regular insulation won’t stop radiant heat loss. Radiant heat must be REFLECTED with a radiant barrier.
What is the “R” Value of Radiant Barrier?
The “R” value depends on the number and size of the airspaces surrounding the Radiant Barrier and on the direction of the heat flow. Since Radiant Barrier is usually installed on top of existing mass insulation, its R-value is a moot point. It is Radiant Barrier’s ability to reflect heat that makes it such an energy saver.
How does Radiant Barrier keep me warmer in the winter?
Just like wrapping a baked potato in aluminum foil keeps a potato warm longer by holding the heat in, covering your attic insulation with Radiant Barrier holds heat in the house. Another analogy would be that Radiant Barrier in the winter works just like a space blanket, which, although very thin and lightweight, holds your body heat in. A thin space blanket can keep you warmer than several heavy blankets.
If Radiant Barrier keeps heat in during the winter, how can it keep heat out during the summer?
Just like a space suit, Radiant Barrier reflects the sun’s heat before it can warm up the insulation in your attic. When the insulation stays cooler, your house will stay cooler. It helps to understand how Radiant Barrier will work for you if you think of other things that work in much the same way. ASTRONAUTS’ SPACE SUITS—keep body heat and reflect the sun’s heat away. THERMOS BOTTLES—keep hot things hot and cold things cold. They are almost perfect insulators. The tight seal and air space prohibit heat transfer by conduction and convection. The reflective surfaces inhibit radiation heat transfer. If the bottle starts out hot, it stays hot because very little heat is transferred to the cooler outside. If it starts out cold, it stays cold because very little heat is transferred from the warmer outside.
What if Radiant Barrier collects dust over a period of time? Will it still work?
This very issue has been studied by research institutes. Most attics don’t accumulate enough dust to affect Radiant Barrier’s ability to save energy costs. Thousands of homes and structures have had Radiant Barrier installed for as long as ten years or more with no significant accumulation.
Do I have to take out my old insulation to put Radiant Barrier in?
No. Radiant Barrier actually makes your present insulation more effective.
Where do you install Radiant Barrier?
Radiant Barrier can be laid over your present insulation like a blanket or stapled under your rafters or crawl space.
What about foil-faced fiberglass? Isn’t it just as good as Radiant Barrier?
No. The foil on the fiberglass is in direct contact with the attic floor. Aluminum foil becomes more conductive when in contact with a solid surface. The air space facing the reflective surface is of primary importance.
I already have plenty of insulation in my attic. Do I really need Radiant Barrier?
Regardless of how much insulation you have in your attic, adding Radiant Barrier will save on your heating and cooling expense, and keep you much more comfortable. Energy savings for heating and cooling can be as much as 17%, depending on a number of factors, including climate, building configuration, materials used, site, family size and lifestyle.
Has Radiant Barrier been tested by a qualified independent laboratory or government agency?
The Florida Solar Energy Center at Cape Canaveral has tested radiant barriers in both small scale laboratory and full scale building models. Their results indicate that radiant barriers provide significant resistance to heat transfer. Current tests conducted by the Tennessee Valley Authority and the University of Mississippi support the findings of the Florida Solar Energy Center. Northeastern Illinois University conducted winter tests in residential and commercial structures using infra-red thermograph photography. The photos showed significant resistance to heat transfer over the regular insulation.
CALL GF SPRAGUE TO WRAP YOUR HOME FOR COMFORT AND SAVINGS.
Contact us for a free estimate on installing Radiant Barrier insulation in your home by calling 781-455-0556.
Areas we service in Massachusetts:
Needham MA | Wellesley MA | Weston MA | Wayland MA | Sudbury MA | Newton MA | Brookline MA | Cambridge MA | Arlington MA | Boston MA | Concord MA | Lexington MA | Canton MA | Dover MA | Duxbury MA | Winchester MA | Cohasset MA | Hingham MA | Beverly MA | Swampscott MA | Scituate MA | Prides Crossing MA | Framingham MA | Natick MA | Quincy MA | Carlisle MA | Ipswich MA | Gloucester MA | Manchester MA | Newburyport MA | Westwood MA | Sherborn MA | Belmont MA | Lincoln MA | Milton MA | South Natick MA | Wellesley Hills MA | Newton Corner MA | Auburndale MA | Newtonville MA | Forest Hills MA | Waban MA | Newton Highlands MA | Newton Centre MA | Chestnut Hill MA | Waltham MA | Watertown MA | West Roxbury MA | Dedham MA | Norwood MA | Medfield MA | Milford MA | Wenham MA | Rowley MA | Marblehead MA | Georgetown MA | Hamilton MA | Medford MA | Sharon MA | Jamaica Plain MA | Walpole MA |