How it Works
The three ways by which heat is transferred include conduction, convection, and radiation. In conduction, heat energy travels from a hotter material or region to a cooler one. Convection meanwhile, is the transfer of heat through gasses and liquids. In radiation, heat travels through any space whether it is impeded or not. The sun’s radiation is the main cause of heat transfer in homes. Conventional insulation doesn’t offer sufficient protection from radiation as it only slows down the transfer of heat. Radiation eventually travels through. Radiant barriers are more effective as they reflect 97% of the sun’s heat from your roof.
Radiant barriers last longer than conventional insulation barriers. Humidity has no effect on radiant barrier foils. Since heat is reflected from the surface of a radiant barrier foil, moisture, and hot air will also have no effect on it. Perforations are made in some radiant barriers to allow the passage of air and prevent the build-up of moisture. Furthermore, radiant barrier foils do not settle after a period of time and hence, retain their R-value. This is a good advantage as conventional insulation materials tend to lose their R-value with the passage of time.
Asides from your roof and crawl space, radiant barriers can also be used to boost the thermal efficiency of existing insulation around your home. They will increase the R-value of your insulation material. So, while radiant barrier foils can’t replace your conventional insulation, they will definitely bring you more value. Adding radiant barriers to your insulation will reduce the workload on your cooling system. Also, radiant barriers are excellent insulators. You will get great results when you wrap your hot water tanks, ducts, and water pipes with radiant barrier foils. This is evident in how food stays warm for longer when wrapped in foil.
Health and Safety
Some conventional insulation materials emit particles that are harmful to the respiratory organs. They may also cause irritations when they come in contact with the skin. Radiant barriers are made from non-toxic materials and are completely safe. Just like most types of insulation materials, radiant barrier foils inhibit the growth of mold and mildew. Furthermore, radiant barrier foils are excellent radon retarders. Randon is a major cause of lung cancer and many other respiratory problems. When used on floors, radiant barrier foils prevent the penetration of radon through floors.
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