Radiant barriers are a great source of energy savings and improving the comfort levels of your home. Although the cost of installation varies depending on the manufacturer, you will notice significant savings in your electricity bills. The installation cost is well worth the investment during typical heating or cooling season.
Radiant barriers are installed with the reflective side facing up the vented air space. In the basic application, attic floor installation is performed. The radiant barrier sheets are placed over existing insulation in the attic. These sheets overlap each other. This allows access to wiring that might require work. Care must be taken during installation to ensure that the reflective side is facing up, and that the radiant barrier does not actually touch the insulation. The radiant barrier will transfer heat to the insulation if aluminum sheets are touching the insulation. As a result, heat will enter home during the summer and escape in winter.
Radiant barrier can be installed by attaching the foil sheets nearer to the roof. If your home is under construction, you can drape the foil sheets over rafters before the roof decking is installed. You can also attach them to the bottom of the roof deck. In this method, foil sheets are attached to the undersides of the rafters. At least 3/4 inch dead air space should be left.
Another type of radiant barrier installation is to place the barrier in the walls of the home. This works best for newly built homes or during a full retrofit of an existing home. To accomplish this, the installer sets furring strips around the wall perimeter. This separates the outer wall from the external wall structure, and “sandwiches” the radiant barrier between the outer and inner wall. There is a system of vents at the top and bottom of the interior wall. It directs heated air upwards into the attic. The heated air is finally dissipated through the attic venting system.
Water vapors can condense and freeze in colder climates. They accumulate beneath the radiant barrier and lead to disastrous results in ceilings. Therefore, a major consideration is to ensure that the attic of the home is properly ventilated. This will expel water vapors out of the attic. Many new constructions ensure proper airflow in the attic by using a system of vented roof-peaks and vented soffits.