As the temperature rises outside, homeowners in the Greater Kansas City area are seeing the familiar increase in their utility bills that goes along with increased air conditioner usage. If you are beginning to dread the arrival of your utility bill or find yourself turning up the thermostat and sweating it out to save money, you’ve probably wondered if there isn’t a way to keep your house cooler without breaking the bank. Radiant barriers are one solution to keeping the heat, and your utility bills, down.
One of the ways heat travels is by radiation. This is when heat energy travels in a straight line away from a hot surface and is absorbed by the first solid surface it runs into. Imagine the sun pouring its energy down on your roof. Because your roof is cooler than the sun, it absorbs some of the heat energy and heats up. This triggers another process, conduction, where the heat energy moves from the hot outside surface of your house to the cooler attic surfaces. As your attic gets hot, the rest of your house also gets warmer and your air conditioner has to work harder to cool things off.
A radiant barrier blocks some of the heat transfer from the exterior of your house into the interior of the house. As a result, your attic and therefore the rest of your house stay cooler. There are several types of radiant barriers, including reflective foil, reflective roof sheathing and reflective shingles. While effective, the shingles are the most expensive and are generally only used if a new roof is needed anyway. The reflective foil is more commonly used, either installed under shingles or hanging down between the roof rafters. Because the effectiveness of radiant barriers depends on proper installation, it’s best to have them installed by a professional.
Radiant barriers don’t replace insulation, but they do work with insulation to help reduce your energy costs and keep your home cooler.
For more information about radiant barriers or other HVAC matters in the Greater Kansas City and Kansas area, contact Overland Park Heating & Cooling today.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).