So, a so-called energy expert or has suggested you install a radiant barrier in your attic. Or maybe your neighbor just got one and is raving about it. Or maybe you got an advertisement telling you it’s the greatest thing around for cutting your energy bills. Or maybe your HVAC guy has suggested he install one for you. Whatever the reason you’re investigating radiant barriers, at Home Performance NC we’re here to tell you that if you live in central North Carolina and you’re thinking about a radiant barrier, think again.
Here are some facts about radiant barriers:
- Yes, they will save you money. Industry stats suggest they will save you 5-10% on your cooling bills each years. The average central NC resident spends about $300 cooling his or her house each year, so your yearly savings will be $15 – $30. Use this to figure out how long the payback will be! If you’re a D.I.Y. type and are installing it yourself, then maybe it’s worth the money…but if you pay someone else to do it? No. Too long a payback.
- That 5-10% figure for savings on cooling bills each year? Those stats are based on a house with very little to no insulation and very little to no air-sealing. If your home is properly air-sealed and you add insulation, the 5-10% figure goes way down – to practically no impact.
- Insulating and air-sealing a home’s attic costs less than the professional installation of a radiant barrier and results in 20-30% savings on year-round heating and cooling costs. And since a well sealed and insulated home gains little by the installation of a radiant barrier…well, why are you still considering it?
And a tip for those of you stubborn folks who insist on going forward with the radiant barrier despite our advice to the contrary: NEVER install a radiant barrier on top of existing insulation. NEVER. Dirt will build up on the radiant barrier, make it ineffective, clog its pores, and can cause condensation problems, which will impact the health and durability of your home.