The use of a radiant barrier may help keep hot air in during the winter months, and hot air out during the summer months. When this occurs, the home will maintain a more comfortable temperature, and energy savings of as much as 17% may be realized. While this number may seem quite impressive, it is important to note that there are many different factors that will determine what your actual saving percentage will be. The cost of the product and installation will also need to be considered.
Radiant barriers do not take the place of attic insulation. Instead, they help the existing insulation work better. During the winter months, the barrier serves to cover the insulation like a blanket of sorts, and keep heat in. During the summer months, sunlight is reflected off and away from the insulation, allowing it to stay cooler. Testing has shown that despite the reflected sunlight, the roof does not absorb excess heat. Testing has also shown that summer time ceiling heat gain is reduced by 16-42% when barriers are used in conjunction with insulation.
The question that many have is will a radiant barrier be worth the expense? There is no set answer to this question, as the answer will vary based on the climate where you live, configuration of the roof, insulation type, and how you use your heating and cooling system. A well trained radiant barrier dealer will be able to determine how much you may save after visiting and evaluating your home. Take the time to research dealer options in order to find a reputable one. Otherwise, the savings estimate may be inflated in order to convince you to make a purchase. You can get a second opinion if you wish to compare notes.
What may be most important to note is that some level of monthly savings will occur, regardless of these factors. Over time, these savings will cover the cost of the product, and bring a total return on your investment. Once the total cost has been recovered, all money saved will be free and clear. Depending on your specific circumstances, this complete return on the investment could take years. It is entirely up to you whether or not you are fine with that. Should you plan to sell your home in the near future, you may not wish to bother with this expense. However, if you plan to stay in your home, a radiant barrier can be considered a worthwhile investment.