The Benefits of Having a Radiant Barrier in Your Home Using Reflective Attic Insulation in North Dakota

February 26, 2018 11:11 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Radiant barriers are typically installed in attics to reduce the amount of heat entering a home during the summer, which can help to reduce cooling costs. The general idea is that the barrier is made with an extremely reflective material that repels radiant heat rather than absorbing it.

Heat travels from a warm area to a cool area using a combination of convection, conduction and radiation. Through conduction, heat travels from a warmer location within a material or assembly to a cooler spot. For example, a spoon in a cup of coffee will conduct heat through the handle to your hand. Convection occurs when a gas or liquid is heated, becomes less dense and rises (think of a convection oven). Radiant heat, meanwhile, travels in a straight line away from a surface and heats anything solid in its path that will absorb its energy. Think of sunlight on your skin as an example.

Many common insulation materials slow down conductive and convective heat flow, but not necessarily radiant heat flow. This is where radiant barriers and reflective attic insulation in North Dakota come into the picture.

As the sun heats a roof, it is the radiant energy that makes the roof hot. The heat then travels by conduction through the materials to the attic. By adding a radiant barrier, you drastically reduce the radiant heat transfer from the underside of the roof to other surfaces that would cause the attic to heat.

Radiant barriers are most effective when placed perpendicular to the radiant energy source. They are also more effective in hot climates than in cool ones.

Typically, radiant barriers are made of a highly reflective material, such as aluminum foil. This material is applied to one or both sides of substrate materials like plastic films, cardboard, paper, strand board or filtration barrier materials.

Installing radiant barriers

The effectiveness of a radiant barrier depends on your ability to install it properly. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to hire a certified and experienced radiant barrier installer to handle the job.

Typically, it’s easier to put radiant barriers into a home during its initial construction phase, but you can install them in existing homes, especially if there is an open attic. During new construction, the installer will drape a rolled-foil barrier with its foil face side down between the rafters in the roof to prevent dust from accumulating on its reflective sides. This step usually happens right before the roof sheathing is installed.

As the barrier is installed, the person installing it must allow the material to slightly droop down between attachment points so there is at least an inch of air space between the barrier and the bottom of the roof.

This is just a brief overview about the benefits of radiant air barriers using reflective attic insulation in North Dakota. For more information about the variety of radiant barrier options available to you and how to install them in your home, contact the team of experts at Interstate Insulation today.

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