What is Radiant Barrier?
Interested in saving money with an energy efficient home design? We can help you make your home wallet and eco-friendly! One way to save on energy is to install a radiant barrier. But before we dive into the “radiant barrier vs insulation” debate, let’s ask: what is radiant barrier, and how does it work?
Radiant barrier is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a barrier to radiant heat – in other words, it blocks heat coming from the sun, or even a light bulb. Radiant heat is also known as infra-red heat, which travels through space until its absorbed or reflected by something.
That “something” could be a radiant barrier. A radiant barrier is made of material, typically aluminum, that does such a good job at reflecting this heat, your home’s none the wiser of the steaming temperatures outside.
Regular insulation, on the other hand, just absorbs the heat.
Radiant Barrier, At Its Best
The best radiant barriers have aluminum on both sides, one side to send the heat packing, back where it came from, and the other side to ensure the heat doesn’t mingle with your cold and comfy air inside. The best radiant barrier also has plenty of “air space” for this process to happen, and that can be done with double-sided insulation. In a nutshell: radiant barrier insulation in your home, particularly your attic (your first line of defense against the sun), makes heat reflect back into the atmosphere, where it belongs.
A radiant barrier is also great for those cold, winter days! But how? Well, you’ve got heat in your home you want to trap, right? Well, a radiant barrier will reflect this heat back into your home, the same way it reflects the sun’s heat back into the atmosphere!
What does all of this mean? Your air conditioner and heater won’t have to work so hard in summer and winter, your bills will go down as a result, and last but of course not least – your home will be an affordable escape from hot or cold weather.
Radiant Barrier vs Insulation
Now, back to the topic: radiant barrier vs insulation. Although radiant barrier is a form of insulation, it’s not the same as typical insulation.
Typical insulation can come in the form of everything from foam to fiberglass, and it simply absorbs the heat from the sun (or from within your home). Insulation dramatically slows the process of heating down, whether that process is a radiant, conductive, or convective one.
There are reasons to go with regular versus radiant barrier insulation. For one, regular insulation tackles more than just one kind of heat, but heat transferred through radiation, conduction, and convection. As well, culprits like dirt won’t necessarily take its effectiveness away (as it does with radiant barriers).
Conclusion: For Texas residents, radiant barrier is the way to go, as it’s most effective in the summertime, and
simply does a better job than regular insulation at keeping your home cool. However, make sure to research the pros and cons before making a decision.