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Myths About Radiant Barrier Insulation

Reflective insulation like radiant barrier is a great warm weather product and is installed in many attics here in Southern California. It’s not always necessary, but sometimes it can be a cost-effective solution, especially when combined with thermal insulation.

We first want to clear the air about things you may have heard or read online—or simply may think—about reflective insulation. The following statements are false:

Radiant barrier insulation should be installed above the roof deck but below the roof felt.

When the reflective surface of a radiant barrier comes in contact with another surface, it turns into a direct conductor of heat. For this type of insulation to work correctly and be truly effective, it needs to have an air space that faces one of its reflective surfaces.

Radiant barriers can cause deterioration of roofing shingles.

While testing completed by the Florida Solar Energy Center has shown that shingle temperatures do increase between 5 and 10 degrees when radiant barrier is installed under the roof deck, the insulation does not cause shingles to actually deteriorate. The color of the asphalt has more of an effect on shingle temperature than radiant barrier installation.

Dust can’t affect the performance of radiant barrier insulation.

Sometimes radiant barrier is installed horizontally, directly on top of insulation in the attic flooring, which can offer ceiling heat flux reductions, helping improve the overall energy efficiency of your home. For this type of installation, however, dust buildup can decrease the effectiveness of the radiant barrier over time.

Radiant barrier insulation can be used only in warm climates.

Radiant barrier is extremely effective in warm climates, but this doesn’t mean it can’t ever be used in cooler climates. You’ll need to talk to a local insulation company for the best results, but in cooler regions, a radiant barrier can be effective when combined with thermal insulation.

Be Wary of Claims of Energy Bill Savings

Also, be aware of any insulation company who makes exaggerated claims of energy savings. Don’t get us wrong—you can certainly expect to see energy savings when installing reflective insulation and other types of insulation, but be wary of professionals who make exact saving predictions. In reality, exact predictions are hard to make because energy consumption is dependent on so many factors!

If you want to learn more about radiant barrier insulation or need to install insulation in your Southern CA home, contact OJ Insulation today!

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

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