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Another affordable energy


 Keep the heat out with radiant barriers


I receive many, many calls


about hot attics. Well, it may not be super hot in your attic now, but now is the best time to make energy improvements there. I actually had a fellow call me while writing this column to ask about installing a radiant barrier in his attic. It is a nice cool day today. I told him to do like most folks and wait until it is a hot summer day with the attic temperature at about 150 degrees. He laughed and I commended him for planning ahead. I’m going to give you a short


course on residential radiant  why the attic gets so hot. The rays of the sun hit the roof. The roof  back to the atmosphere but others actually go right through the  is heated and the attic insulation absorbs much of the heat, thereby creating a super hot attic. A residential radiant barrier


is any product that can stop the radiant heat. It usually consists of sheets of aluminum foil, although it can be an aluminum-type paint. Some folks say it is okay to just place that foil on the top of the attic insulation. That may actually help some, but it does not prevent


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the attic from getting hot. And if you have ductwork in the attic, it will still get hot. It is also my opinion that the product will lose  best location for the radiant barrier is at the roof deck.


rafters. If you think about it, this is not always a simple process and would probably take at least two people. This past summer I was


I don't suggest anything


  


” For new construction it is best


to use roof sheathing that has the radiant barrier actually laminated to the sheathing. It is simple and certainly feasible and is being installed on many new houses in the south where cooling costs are a major consideration. Our testing  If a radiant barrier is so


helpful, then why don’t more folks install it in their existing house? The answer is because it is  right, the radiant barrier should be fastened to the bottom of the roof


introduced to a product that is much easier to install, can be done by one person, and needs no tools. It looked good to me, but I don’t suggest a product to others until I have used it and have total  We found a house that really


needed a radiant barrier. We installed the product early in the morning on a day when the temperature at noon was 100 degrees. We came back to the house two days later when the temperature was even hotter–at 102 degrees. We were happy to  nearly 30 degrees cooler than before. When the attic temperature


and ductwork are 30 degrees cooler, one should have better comfort and lower utility bills.  foil” radiant barrier. The cost of the product is about 70 cents per square foot, which makes it feasible for many homes. For more details about this product go to  


Reprinted courtesy of Rural Arkansas magazine and Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas. Doug Rye, a licensed architect living in Saline County, Ark., 


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