Is a radiant barrier worth it for an attic?
Attic radiant barriers serve the function of limiting radiant heat transfers from the underside of roofs to other surfaces within the attic. This is a form of insulation aimed at controlling heat transfer.
This article takes a critical look at attic radiant barriers to find out if they’re worth having.
Do Radiant Barriers Work?
You’re probably reading this because you seek to find answers. As you go through the entire article, you’ll find all the information you need about this attic provision.
Apart from the information provided, it’s proper to also seek professional advice from an insulation expert. This gives you all the knowledge you want.
Here is the cost of a radiant barrier.
Presenting you with the Facts
Topics as these always lead to the presentation of all the facts. We believe the final decision lies with the reader.
As such, this article will be presenting you with all the benefits of attic radiant barriers as well as the downsides. It has always been observed that people have different needs and perceptions.
So, what might work for one homeowner might simply not be considered by another. Based on this fact, we’ll begin by providing a brief introduction to attic radiant barriers and how they provide insulation.
This will be followed by the benefits and the disadvantages tied to radiant barrier use.
About Attic Radiant Barriers
If you’ve ever heard about a reflective foil material that’s used for insulation purposes, that’s a radiant barrier! These are used to improve energy efficiency in homes.
This reflective insulation material is glued or stapled to the attic to prevent radiant heat from reaching the living sections of homes.
These barriers are a response to the heat transfers that happen when the sun heats the roof. Without any form of insulation, it’s common to find homeowners paying more in energy costs due to more frequent conditioning.
The lifespan of air conditions is also reduced because they have to work more frequently than necessary.
Benefits of Attic Radiant Barriers
Most of the benefits heard about attic radiant barriers are those given by companies manufacturing them.
This isn’t to say radiant barriers aren’t useful. Rather, there might be exaggerations about the benefits derived from these attic insulation materials.
The most obvious benefit derived is the significant drop in temperature in summer. A likely increase in a property’s resale value is another benefit you might get with this insulation material.
As a permanent fixture, it doesn’t need to be frequently replaced.
Additional benefits include lowering the workload of your air conditioner and heating units. Also, attic radiant barriers reflect about 97% of the sun’s radiation.
Further details on these points will have to be provided for more clarity.
Significant Drop in Attic Temperature
An appreciable number of attic radiant manufacturers promote their products as having the potential to significantly drop attic temperatures. While this sounds great, it might not be as effective as other forms of attic insulation.
Nevertheless, a significant drop in temperature will be just fine for a lot of homeowners.
Increase in Property Re-Sale Value
The resale value of a property can significantly increase when sellers can clearly show a difference in energy expenses from the time an attic radiant barrier is installed.
This makes prospective buyers have faith in the property and may lead to a sale.
However, we must state that this will only apply to some buyers as not everyone thinks radiant barriers provide excellent attic insulation.
Is a Permanent Fixture and doesn’t have to be Changed
When attic radiant barriers are installed, they don’t have to be removed and continue to serve the purpose for which they were installed.
However, when the house gets a new occupant or owner, they might decide to change to a more durable type of insulation.
Lowering the Workload of your Air Conditioning Unit(s)
Attics with no form of insulation usually cause an increase in temperature that adds more burden to home conditioning units. These need to work continuously to lower the temperature. This tireless functioning reduces their lifespan.
With an attic radiant barrier, such workload is largely reduced.
Reflecting about 97% of Sun Radiation
Some manufacturers make claims about their product’s ability to reflect about 97% of solar radiation. This shields the home from the heat reaching it.
There might be debates about whether or not this is possible. Whatever the case is, it’s important to make independent findings. Asking a licensed professional will be a great place to start from.
Disadvantages of Attic Radiant Barriers
Attic radiant barriers have numerous downsides as well.
These include minimal savings on costs, don’t hold up for long, might loosen a lot, and has a shorter lifespan compared to other types of attic insulation.
Having a radiant barrier might also make roof leaks undetectable.
Minimal Savings on Energy Costs
One common feature with attic radiant barriers is the characteristic low savings on energy costs.
Some researchers have only given a 10% savings on energy costs. This is dismal because such a figure doesn’t measure up to other types of attic insulations.
Doesn’t Hold up for Long
The reflective properties of attic radiant barriers get dulled out gradually when dust accumulates on them. This also drops efficiency levels by a lot, thus making it possible for increased heat penetration to occur.
Might Loosen a Lot
A lot of times, technicians have reported cases of radiant barriers frequently loosening or disengaging. These have to be fastened back in place.
Such situations make them unreliable and simply inefficient.
Compared to other attic insulation types, radiant barriers simply don’t measure up. If you want an insulation type that stands the test of time, radiant barriers simply won’t be among the best.
Most homeowners will want to go with what works efficiently for longer periods.
Making Roof Leaks Undetectable
Because attic radiant barriers are spread out below roof sheeting, It becomes harder to detect leaks. Leaks coming from the roof are likely to drop on the radiant barrier and slide elsewhere.
It’s left for you to make choice. The information provided helps you with a yardstick to compare and contrast between the merits and demerits.
So again we ask, is the attic radiant barrier worth it?