How Much Do Radiant Barriers Lower Electric Bills?

According to the US Department of Energy, homeowners can save 5 to 10% on cooling expenditures, with hot, sunny regions coming in at the upper end of that spectrum when compared to colder climes or homes with extensive shadow. This equates to around $120 in annual savings for warm temperature locations and $15 in annual savings for cooler climate places.

Some radiant barrier manufacturers even claim to be able to save up to 17 percent or more when installed. However, you can save a lot of money in either case. According to another source, radiant barriers can save you $200300 per year in energy bills.

Another cost-cutting feature of radiant barriers is the reduced wear and tear on your air conditioning and heating systems.

A good barrier will allow you to use a smaller air conditioning/heating system, which will be less expensive and save you money in the long run.

Another key factor to remember is that if your cooling load is not as large as it is in warmer U.S. states or regions, you will save less money and energy. Furthermore, if your area’s electricity rates are greater, your savings will be lower.

Installing a radiant barrier in your home will certainly assist lower sweltering summer attic temperatures while also giving your HVAC system a break.

You’ll want to pair the barrier with the correct kind of insulation for maximum effectiveness. According to one estimate, insulation absorbs and re-emits about 80 to 90% of radiant heat.

As a result, combining insulation with radiant barriers helps keep heat out of your indoor rooms effectively. As a result, the less cooling requirements you have, the less energy you’ll use, and the less money you’ll spend.

To be honest, radiant barriers will only save you five to ten percent on your monthly cooling expenditure. However, when used in conjunction with sufficient insulation, they have the ability to cut your cooling expenditures in half.

Naturally, the results will differ depending on the size of your home and whether or not it is well-insulated. Regardless, every little bit counts.

Is it worthwhile to install a radiant barrier in Texas?

During the summer, the average temperature in Texas is between 86 and 98 degrees Fahrenheit. 90-degree heat can be uncomfortable when combined with low humidity and scant rainfall. Radiant barriers, when used as part of a whole-attic system, can increase your home’s comfort.

Humidity Does Not Affect Radiant Barriers

In most parts of Texas, humidity is not an issue. Southern and eastern Texas, on the other hand, have higher humidity levels than northern and western Texas. Radiant barriers, thankfully, are unaffected by humidity regardless of where you live in Texas since they reflect rather than absorb heat.

Is it worthwhile to invest in radiant barriers?

A mixture of conduction, convection, and radiation transports heat from a warm to a cool location. Heat is transferred from a hotter to a colder point within a material or assembly, similar to how a spoon in a hot cup of coffee conducts heat via its handle to your hand. Convectional heat transfer happens when a liquid or gas, such as air, is heated, becomes less dense, and rises. The liquid or gas grows denser and descends as it cools. Radiant heat radiates in a straight path away from any surface, heating anything solid that receives it.

The majority of conventional insulating materials work by slowing convective and conductive heat transport, respectively. Reflective insulation and radiant barriers operate by minimizing radiant heat gain. The reflecting surface must face an air space to be effective. The reflective surface’s capacity to reflect will be reduced if dust accumulates on it. The radiant barrier should be installed in such a way that dust does not collect on the reflecting surface.

When the sun heats a roof, the radiant energy of the sun is the primary source of heat. Much of this heat is transferred to the attic side of the roof by conduction via the roofing materials. The hot roof material then distributes the heat energy it has gained onto the colder attic surfaces, such as the air ducts and attic floor. The radiant heat transfer from the bottom of the roof to the other surfaces in the attic is reduced by a radiant barrier.

When a radiant barrier is perpendicular to the radiant energy impacting it, it works optimally. In addition, the bigger the temperature difference between the sides of the radiant barrier material, the more benefits it can provide.

In hot regions, radiant barriers are more effective than in cool ones, especially when cooling air ducts are in the attic. When employed in a warm, sunny region, radiant barriers can cut cooling costs by 5% to 10%, according to some research. Because of the lower heat gain, a smaller air conditioning system may be possible. In cool climates, however, adding more thermal insulation rather than a radiant barrier is usually more cost-effective.

What is the cost of a radiant barrier?

The main question with radiant barriers, as with any insulation, is whether the cost is justified. Everyone agrees that it reduces air conditioning costs.

Radiant barriers, according to the Department of Energy, “may reduce cooling costs by 5 to 10% when used in a warm, sunny region.”

According to Fi-Foil, a Florida maker of barriers utilized in the Phoenix area, AC savings can be as high as 10% to 12%.

Let’s use a 2,000-square-foot all-electric Arizona home with three bedrooms and two baths for a family of four. The usual March utility bill for the house is $200. That’s what we refer to as the base load in the absence of air conditioning. The statement for August is $400, reflecting a cooling cost of $200 during the hottest month of the year.

Let’s say the attic in this house is responsible for 12 to 15% of the cooling costs due to heat transfer via the ceiling and into the living space. To put it another way, a hot attic costs roughly $26 a month in the summer and significantly less in the late spring and early fall, based on a figure of 13%.

When you multiply $26 by four months, you get $104. The cost of air conditioning owing to the attic is virtually nothing if we consider April, May, October, and November. But let’s say it’s $10 multiplied by four months. Due to the heat load from the attic, the total cooling cost for this typical house is now $144.

Compare this to the cost of constructing a radiant barrier to see how long you’ll need to stay in the house to get a good return on your investment.

The majority of radiant barrier installation estimates I’ve seen are in the thousands of dollars. This equates to a payback that will take decades rather than years. Radiant barriers, in my opinion, are not the best location to start saving money on your cooling bill from a pure ROI standpoint.

If you’re still interested, hire a reputable, long-standing insulation company to install your radiant barrier. There are businesses that come to Arizona for a few months during the summer to construct radiant barriers and add excessively thick insulation for exorbitant fees before leaving. Look for a reliable company that will provide you with a reasonable rate.

Another point on attic cooling: I never advocate powered attic ventilation unless homeowners have first sought advice from a mechanical expert to verify that the fan would not increase summer energy expenses.

Does the presence of a radiant barrier have an impact on WIFI?

Metal, in general, can interfere with the transmission of radio waves, which are used by cell phones and Wi-Fi systems to communicate data. Because most radiant barrier products contain a tiny coating of aluminum, these signals may be affected slightly, but this is considered to be minor. To convey information between the nearest cell tower and a home, cell signals bounce and reflect off a variety of surfaces. The roof only covers 20-30% of a home’s surface area, and the aluminum is only a few microns thick, so the real impact is likely so minor that you wouldn’t notice it. There is unlikely to be any influence with Wi-Fi signals unless the radiant barrier is between you and the router.

Is it possible to use a radiant barrier in the winter?

On hot days when the sun shines directly on your roof, radiant heat from the underside of the roof absorbs the majority of the heat in your attic. In warmer areas, radiant barriers are most effective when the air duct is positioned in the attic.

When employed in a warm, sunny region, “radiant barriers can lower cooling costs by 5% to 10%,” according to the US Department of Energy.

If you reside in a colder region, it’s critical to improve your thermal insulation first, such as blow-in fiberglass. Radiant barriers are most effective in attics with adequate R-value thermal resistance insulation.

When it comes time to replace your HVAC system, better attic insulation may allow you to choose a smaller air conditioner.

Radiant Barrier Insulation Benefits

  • In the winter, it keeps warm air in and solar radiant heat out in the summer.
  • Improves energy efficiency and reduces utility costs, particularly if the HVAC and duct systems are in the attic.
  • With fewer cycle periods, it provides faster heating and cooling. This cuts down on the number of repairs needed and increases the life of your HVAC system.

Overall, effective insulation will limit heat transfer, reduce HVAC burden, and maintain a comfortable temperature and humidity level in your home.

Radiant barriers and attic insulation should be installed by a competent HVAC team for best performance. You can also inquire about inspecting and sealing attic air leaks.

SilverShieldTM, a product from Service Champions, guarantees increased comfort and energy savings by deflecting solar radiation.

Contact a professional, such as Service Champions, before embarking on any big home renovation job, such as attic air sealing and insulation.

Insulation and indoor air quality services, such as attic insulation and air duct sealing, are available from Service Champions.

Is it worthwhile to install a radiant barrier in California?

According to the Department of Energy, adding radiant barriers decreases cooling expenses by 5% to 10% in sunny climates. These energy savings can be considerably greater in the hottest places.

How much does a radiant barrier in the attic lower the temperature?

According to research conducted by the United States Department of Energy, placing radiant barrier in the attic can reduce heat gain through the ceiling by 40 percent, resulting in a 17 percent savings in heating and cooling utility expenses.

How much does it cost to install radiant barriers?

Cost of a Radiant Barrier Radiant barrier insulation installation costs range from $740 to $2,840, or $1,700 on average. The cost of materials for this project ranges from $0.10 to $0.95 per square foot. For this job, professional installers normally charge $30 to $80 per hour.

Is it possible to use a spray on radiant barrier?

“Liquid foil is what radiant barrier spray-on paint is. While not all radiation barrier paints are created equal, they all start with pure aluminum being ground into a fine powder and then mixed into clear paint. The aluminum powder generates a layer of aluminum after the clear paint dries.

The finest radiant barrier spray is an environmentally friendly, water-based low-e paint called HeatBloc-75, Radiance e.25, or Lo/MIT, which is exclusively accessible to commercial contractors. When properly put, the paint will reflect around 75% of radiant heat and can be a very good product.

The rafters are being totally sprayed (this usually costs more when you get an estimate).

The paint is being applied in the proper manner (many contractors put it on either too thin or too thick).

The paint is not diluted in any way. Some contractors (even big ones with a lot of advertising) may cut* the paint with water in order to expand the coverage. When water is added to paint, it is referred to as cutting; it is a form of cost-cutting.

As a result, radiant barrier paint used by many contractors has only about 15-40% reflectivity. Without testing, the average consumer cannot tell the difference between a good and a bad installation.

It is not a good Do It Yourself (DIY) project to use radiant barrier paint spray. To get proper coverage and eliminate clogging, you’ll need a VOC respirator, a high-end airless spray rig, the right size spray tip, and the right pressure. Brushing with a roller is impractical due to the hundreds of nails poking through the roof deck; also, manually painting it on with a paint brush would take an eternity. Most people who attempt to do it themselves will use far too much paint, resulting in a material cost of over $0.30 per foot. With radiant barrier foil costing less than $0.13 per foot, it’s clear that it’s not just a better product, but also a better deal.

Comparisons of reflective coatings

Radiant barrier spray paint has been produced by a number of companies. In fact, none of them are true radiant barriers because they all reflect less than 90% of the heat, which is the definition of one; officially, they are reflecting coatings. RIMA (Reflective Insulation Manufacturers Association) conducted independent testing on all of the different radiant barrier paints, as shown in the chart below.

It’s worth noting that the best paint still emits 22% of radiant heat, whereas radiant barrier foil emits only 3%. Some paintings claim to have won awards, however it is unclear which awards they have won or how significant they are.

Furthermore, the paint tests were carried out on perfectly smooth samples that were applied under laboratory settings, which are not the same as those found in your attic. Your attic is built of porous wood, which absorbs paint rather than holding it on the surface to form a smooth, shining film, which is essential for full effectiveness. The wood surface must first be prepared with a primer/base layer of paint in order for the paint to come close to the tested emissivity rating.

The major reason you should choose foil over paint is that with paint, you are relying on the product to give results, however with foil, all you need is a person (which might be yourself) to complete the installation. The foil will reflect 97 percent of the radiant heat if it is put between the roof/rafters and the insulation.

Furthermore, installing the foil incorrectly is difficult. The major distinction between Quality Assurance and Quality Control is this. Reflective foil is guaranteed to operate, but you can only hope that the reflective coating is properly put. We don’t sell or install radiant barrier paint; instead, we specialize in radiant barrier reflective foil insulation since it’s the best.

The issue arises when reflective paint is applied too thinly, when water is added to the paint, or when a low-quality paint is utilized. So, what’s next? The clients are thus disappointed when they do not receive the promised results or the cool attic.

To make up for their disappointment, several businesses have resorted to giving away free solar fans. Sure, installing an attic fan may lower the attic temperature and possibly even get it closer to the outside temperature; nevertheless, no matter what type of fan you use, a fan will not prevent radiant heat transfer. It’s good to have a cooler attic, but we really need to lower the insulation’s temperature. Read our article on the differences between air and surface temperatures and how they affect your home for more information.

Is radiant barrier OSB a good investment?

You can reflect up to 97 percent of solar energy by using OSB radiant barrier sheathing. The heat in your attic can be reduced by up to thirty degrees Fahrenheit with this amount of solar heat reduction. Roof sheathing with a radiant barrier can also increase comfort in other places. For example, radiant barrier OSB can make a building’s interior significantly more comfortable during the hot summer months.