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Your home's attic is between the proverbial rock and a hard place. The roof above endures the elements and radiates heat. Damaging humidity is ever present due to poor ventilation. Yet, the living spaces below demand consistent and efficient comfort. What's the remedy to your uncomfortable and expensive situation? Keep reading to learn how a radiant barrier can answer that question.

Radiant Barriers

Summer heat gain into your attic and high humidity can be quite drastic. The sun beats down on your roofing system. Heat is transferred into your attic (and potentially your living spaces) by conduction and radiation. Heat gain makes your A/C work harder, which you pay for in higher cooling bills.

Radiant barriers are designed to reduce summer heat gain into your attic and subsequently reduce your cooling bills — by as much as 10 percent, says the federal program Energy Saver.

Radiant barriers use a highly reflective material that, rather than absorbing radiant heat, reflects the radiant heat away from your attic space. The net gains to you are greater energy savings and comfort — not heat.

Part of the Team

Radiant barriers are great for hindering heat gain radiated from the roof, but they don't stop heat gain due to conduction from the roof and into your living spaces. Nor can the barrier stop air leaks in the envelope. Those are the jobs of a well-ventilated attic, ample insulation, and tight air sealing.

  • Attic ventilation:Ideally, your attic space should remain the same temperature as the temperature outside your home. Adequate ventilation is needed to move air mechanically (e.g. via a solar attic fan) or by natural ventilation.
  • Insulation:Heat buildup in your attic will transfer to your living spaces if you don't have enough insulation in place.
  • Air sealing:Seal leaks between your attic and the living spaces using caulk, foam weatherstripping, and spray-in foam to save even more energy.

If using a radiant barrier appeals to your home efficiency ideas, talk to our experts at Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical. Visit our website for in-depth information on most HVAC topics, or just give us a call at (408) 868-5500.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the South Bay Peninsula and Santa Cruz areas of California about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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