February 27, 2018
Your attic can get extremely hot and cold. If you have attic air leaks and insufficient insulation, a lot of your conditioned air will escape into your attic and out of your roof. Additionally, lack of insulation means more hot and cold temperatures seeping into the home.
Most people think about improving attic insulation in the fall and winter to keep the cold air out, but lack of insulation in spring and summer may be even worse for your wallet and comfort.
When temperatures start climbing, the hot rays from the sun beam down on your roof. As the roof absorbs heat from the sun, it starts to heat up your attic like an oven. Proper insulation in the form of radiant barriers will drastically reduce the rate of heat transfer.
Reflective, radiant-barrier insulation is usually made of aluminum foil with a variety of different backings, including plastic film and cardboard.
This type of insulation is most effective in warmer climates, but can also be used for comfort and energy savings in cold weather. The radiant-barrier insulation is attached to roof rafters, floor joists, and wall studs to reduce radiant heat flow, mostly from the outside in, but also from the inside out.
Radiant barriers, however, also help prevent winter heat loss. While traditional insulation materials work by slowing down conductive and convective heat flow, radiant barriers and other reflective insulation systems work by reducing radiant heat flow.
In the winter, most of the heat that escapes through your ceiling and roof is radiant heat. A properly installed radiant barrier can reflect that heat back into your home before it escapes out of the home.
On hot days when the sun is beating down on your roof, radiant heat from the underside of the roof causes most of your attic’s heat absorption. Radiant barriers are most effective in warmer climates with air ducts located in the attic.
According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, “radiant barriers can reduce cooling costs 5% to 10% when used in a warm, sunny climate.”
It’s important to improve your more thermal insulation, such as blow-in fiberglass first, especially if you live in a cooler climate. Radiant barriers will work best in attics that have the proper R-value thermal resistant insulation.
Improving attic insulation may even allow you to choose a smaller air conditioner when replacing your HVAC system.
Overall, proper insulation throughout your home will prevent heat transfer, reduce HVAC workload, and keep your home at optimum temperature and humidity.
For maximum effectiveness, a qualified HVAC team should install your radiant barriers and attic insulation. You can also ask them if they will inspect and seal attic air leaks.
Service Champions offers SilverShield™, which ensures greater comfort and energy savings by deflecting radiation from the sun.
Before tackling any major home renovation project, such as attic air sealing and insulation, contact a professional, such as Service Champions.