Receiving your monthly utility bill can seem like a reoccurring, overwhelming experience, especially in the hottest months of the year when costs skyrocket as a result of trying to simply maintain a comfortable living or working environment. The ultimate goal is always to keep the heat out of your structure, and using a radiant barrier can be an essential element in achieving this goal.
It’s important to have a basic understanding of the various ways in which heat transfers from one area to another. Conductive transfer, convective transfer and radiant transfer are the three ways outside heat can infiltrate your space. Conductive transfer requires some direct physical contact to transfer the heat. For example, think of touching a warm coffee mug; the heat penetrates your skin as a result of direct contact with the cup. Next, you probably have heard of a convection oven, and this appliance relies on convective transfer to work. It uses heated air (the same principle applies to liquids) to warm food. Think of heat transfer through air circulation when you hear the word convective.
True to its name, the third method, radiant transfer, has a direct connection with radiant barriers. Radiant heat transfer occurs each time you use a microwave; charged particles are converted to electromagnetic radiation that heats some object. This may sound complicated, but for our purposes, it’s only necessary to understand that the sun is the greatest source of electromagnetic radiation.
The sun beats down on our homes and businesses hour after hour for months on end. A radiant barrier is a thin, highly reflective material that efficiently deflects radiant heat from entering our spaces. It is installed in the top of attics and should be considered the first layer of defense against keeping out radiant heat, ultimately lowering utility bills.
Energy.gov reports that properly installed radiant barriers can reduce cooling costs by up to ten percent, a particularly high number when multiplied by the lifetime of your home or business. These barriers can even result in the need for a smaller air conditioning system. Ultimately, the widely held consensus is that this thin material is an essential layer of protection that will pay for itself and add value to new or existing construction. Reach out to your local insulation company to see if a radiant barrier can help reduce your energy costs today.
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