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Radiant Barrier Myths – Debunked

February 6, 2015

Radiant barrier technology has taken the green energy world by storm. We’ve installed radiant barrier insulation in attics all over Central Texas. However, there are still several misconceptions that people have about this cost effective energy solution. We dispel some of those radiant barrier myths here.

Myth #1: Installing radiant barrier will cause your roof to heat up exponentially, damaging roofing materials like shingles.

Truth: Many homeowners hear this myth and immediately worry about radiant barrier “cooking” their roof shingles. While this is an understandable concern, it’s contradictory to the way radiant barrier works. The foil reflects about 95% of the heat back to the source, so it’s not causing your roof to absorb all the heat, it’s simply changes the direction of the flow. Consider the fact that your roof already heats to 150 degrees Fahrenheit on an 80 degree day. Any increase in temperature potentially caused by the radiant barrier would be too insignificant to affect your shingles.

Myth #2: Radiant barrier causes moisture issues like mildew and mold.

Truth: Many homes experience problems with moisture, but this is unrelated to radiant barrier. Foil insulation doesn’t cause moisture – warm air meeting cool air causes moisture.If a home has a moisture problem before radiant barrier is installed, it’s not going to clear up after installation. In order to avoid problems, attics must be properly ventilated so that excess air and moisture can escape. Likewise, ensure that HVAC systems are working properly and all holes in the ceiling are repaired.

Myth #3: Radiant barrier is for new construction only.

Truth: Untrue. Radiant barrier can, in fact, be retrofitted to an older home. Actually, a majority of the homeowners investing in radiant barrier already have an existing residence.

Myth #4: Radiant barrier paint is just as effective as radiant barrier roll insulation.

Truth: Unfortunately, radiant barrier paint will not provide the same effects as radiant barrier insulation. In fact, the paint can’t even be classified as radiant barrier under the U.S. Department of Energy’s guidelines because radiant barrier products must have a reflectance of 90%, and the paint is only 75% reflective. And furthermore, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not classify radiant barrier paint as insulation. However, roll-type radiant barrier products meet the EPA’s criteria and qualify them as Energy Star products.