When the cooler air of winter (or the sweltering heat of summer) hits, Cherry Hill homeowners’ thoughts invariably turn to utility bills. Every year, we want better home performance than the year before, when we paid too much and were still too hot or too cold.
But what’s the most effective and affordable way to improve the energy efficiency of your home? One solution you may have heard about is a radiant barrier.
Radiant Barrier 101
A radiant barrier is a shiny, metallic surface that reflects radiated heat, reducing radiant heat transfer from one area to another.
For example, if a radiant barrier were installed in your attic, it would reflect the heat gathered by your roof and conducted downward through the rafters back out toward your roof. This would help keep your attic, and everything in it, from overheating.
Will A Radiant Barrier Improve Your Home’s Comfort?
Here’s where it can get confusing. There are claims that a radiant barrier can cut your utility bills dramatically. Others who have tested radiant barriers in various situations say that depending on the structure and climate, the savings are minimal. And, if your home is well insulated, a radiant barrier makes no real difference at all.
If you’re thinking about a radiant barrier, consider this:
- If your home is well insulated, a radiant barrier will make almost no difference in the energy efficiency of your home or your utility bills.
- If your home is not insulated well, a radiant barrier may slightly improve your comfort and slightly decrease part of your utility bill, but it will not address the core issues with your home’s energy inefficiency.
- The amount of insulation required for a home to be up to code is enough to negate the effectiveness of a radiant barrier.
- Radiant barriers are expensive to install, and it can be many years before the cost is paid off in savings.
A More Economical and Effective Answer
Rather than invest in a shiny solution that, by all accounts, will not make an appreciable difference in your home’s comfort, consider investing in air sealing and insulation. Together they have been proven to have a substantial impact on heating and cooling costs as well as increased home comfort and safety.
Air Sealing and Insulation: A Smart Combination
Allied Energy Efficiency Experts will perform a whole-house energy assessment for you and run a blower door test to determine the amount of air leaks in your home. Then we’ll seal the leaks to stop your conditioned air from escaping and outside air from entering. Outside air brings with it pollutants that can decrease the air quality of your home as well as moisture that causes mold and mildew, another potential health hazard.
Once the leaks are sealed, Allied will insulate your home to hold your conditioned air in your living areas where it belongs. The result is a more comfortable, evenly heated or cooled home with better air quality. You’ll also lower your utility bills and reduce the workload on your HVAC systems.