A radiant barrier is a material that works with your insulation to prevent any heat increases or decreases and to help keep the temperature of your home at a constant level. Usually, it is installed in the attic because the attic is usually the largest source of heat loss in the home.
The radiant barrier reflects cold or heat that permeates through the roof of your house. For example, on a warm sunny day, the heat can permeate through the roof and into the house. The barrier if installed will reflect most of the heat back towards the roof, thus keeping it out of the house. As you can see, this could reduce the heating and cooling costs quite significantly.
In some cases, people also notice that a radiant barrier provides less wear and tear on their equipment. Specifically, they are referring to maintenance and repair costs for the air conditioner and furnace. It is believed that a home that has one of these barriers installed could save up to fifteen percent on their total energy costs for the year. For people who do not have them installed, maybe it is time to get it done.
During the winter months, a radiant barrier will work at keeping warm air inside the home. Adding the material over your existing insulation is the easiest method of installation. Make sure the reflective side is facing up.
Another method of installing a radiant barrier involves attaching it to the roof of the house. Typically, it can be installed under the existing attic rafter framing or under an attic roof truss. It is an easier installation if it is a new home construction. The barrier can be installed overtop of the rafters before installing the roof deck.
If you are comfortable with do it yourself projects then installing a radiant barrier in your attic yourself is doable. If you are not comfortable with it then find a contractor that will do it for you. Obviously, get a few estimates before you hire someone.
Many people that have a radiant barrier installed notice a difference in the temperature of the home. For example, you may be able to turn down the air conditioner or not run it as often than before the barrier was installed.