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How Do Radiant Barriers Work?

What is radiant barrier insulation and how does it work? A common question in this industry! It stays pretty warm here year round in the Hesperia, California area, and these are the types of climates where radiant barriers are beneficial.

Keep reading to learn more about how radiant barrier, or reflective, insulation works!

What Is Reflective Insulation?

Reflective insulation has reflective facing—typical materials are foil-faced kraft paper, plastic film, polyethylene bubbles and cardboard. Radiant barrier insulation consists of a reflective material (generally aluminum foil) and can be combined with other materials in reflective insulation systems.

How Does Radiant Barrier Insulation Work?

Most common thermal insulation materials (like fiberglass) work by slowing conductive heat flow, but reflective insulation works a little differently. This material is primarily used for attic insulation and is designed to reduce radiant heat gain. When the sun heats a roof, it’s primarily the sun’s radiant energy that makes the roof hot. Much of this heat travels through the roofing materials to the attic side of the roof. The hot roof then radiates its gained heat energy onto the cooler attic surfaces. Reflective insulation, installed in the attic ceiling, helps reflect sunlight and reduce the radiant heat transfer from the underside of the roof to the other surfaces in the attic.

This helps keep your home cooler and more comfortable. Radiant barriers work well in warm climates, particularly in homes that have:

  • Air ducts in the attic
  • Asphalt roofing (which more easily absorbs heat from the sun)
  • Little to no shading from trees

Learn more about foil insulation by visiting the Department of Energy online »

Hesperia & Apple Valley, CA Area Insulation Installers

If you need to install insulation in your home, you rely on the Apple Valley Insulation family! We love helping homeowners increase the energy efficiency and comfort of their homes with the right reflective insulation solutions.

Ready to start your project? Contact us today!

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