Finding ways to save on energy costs is an important consideration for all Portland-area homeowners. In the summer, the costs of cooling your home inevitably go up, and one of the biggest culprits is heat gain. However, installing radiant barriers in your attic can reduce this heat gain and help you save money.
Heat gain occurs when the temperature of an enclosed area increases due to solar radiation. As the sun’s heat energy shines on your roof, the temperature of your house goes up. This causes your air conditioner to work harder in order to cool your house, which in turn causes your energy bill to increase.
The best way to stop heat gain is to block the heat from solar radiation. A radiant barrier can do this. It is made of reflective material that reemits the heat energy from the sun back into the atmosphere, keeping it from ever heating up your house. Depending on the weather, a radiant barrier can provide up to 10 percent lower cooling costs, especially when your cooling ducts are located in the attic. When cooling ducts run through an unconditioned air space, some of the coolness is lost as the air travels to its destination. The cooler the space that your ducts run through, the less energy that is necessary to bring your house to your desired temperature.
Radiant barriers come in several different types, from reflective foil to roof sheathing to spray paint. There are even radiant barrier shingles, although due to their cost, they generally are used only when a new roof is being installed. Most types of radiant barriers lose effectiveness if not installed correctly, so you should ensure that you have a professional HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) contractor perform the work for you.
Radiant barriers work best in conjunction with insulation. While the radiant barrier prevents heat gain, insulation holds in coolness in the summer and warmth in the winter. The two together work to save a significant amount of energy that would otherwise be lost.
For more expert advice on preventing heat gain with radiant barriers or any other HVAC questions in the Portland area, contact Roth Heating & Cooling. We’re proud to have served you since 1976.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about heat gain and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.