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Reflective Insulation: What It Is & How It Works

New Year, new home—is that your mentality about improving your home in 2015? If you’re looking to increase energy efficiency, one solution to consider is insulation. But there are many different types of insulation—which material should you install in your home?

Let’s say you need to insulate the attic (as a significant source of energy loss in any home, the attic is a good place to start when it comes to insulation). In warm climates, like here in Southern California, reflective insulation is often installed in attics.

What Is Reflective Insulation?

Reflective insulation is a material with reflective facing—typical materials are foil-faced kraft paper, plastic film, polyethylene bubbles or cardboard. Radiant barrier insulation consists of a reflective material (generally aluminum foil) and can be combined with other materials in reflective insulation systems.

How Does Reflective Insulation Work?

Most common thermal insulation materials (like fiberglass) work by slowing conductive heat flow, but reflective insulation works a little differently. This type of insulation is designed to reduce radiant heat gain. When the sun heats a roof, it is primarily the sun’s radiant energy that makes the roof hot. Much of this heat travels by conduction through the roofing materials to the attic side of the roof. The hot roof material then radiates its gained heat energy onto the cooler attic surfaces, including the air ducts and the attic floor. Reflective insulation, installed in the attic ceiling, reduces the radiant heat transfer from the underside of the roof to the other surfaces in the attic.

This helps keep your home cooler and more comfortable. Reflective insulation and radiant barriers work well in warm climates, particularly in homes with:

  • Air ducts in the attic
  • Asphalt roofing (which more easily absorbs heat from the sun)
  • Little to no shading from trees

Learn more about reflective insulation by visiting the Department of Energy online »

San Diego & Los Angeles Area Insulation Installers

If you need to install insulation in your home, make OJ Insulation your first call! For nearly 30 years, we have been helping Southern California homeowners improve the energy efficiency and comfort of their homes with the right reflective insulation solutions.

Ready to start your project? Get in touch with us today!

Where should you insulate in your home? Check out our interactive infographic:

Home Insulation

We insulate attics, walls and crawl spaces.

Commercial Insulation

We insulate warehouses, offices, studio spaces & more.

Insulation Removal

Do you need to remove old insulation? We can help.

Fireplaces & Mantels

We work with builders to install fireplaces and mantels.

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