Author Archives: ACT Home Energy Specialists

Do Radiant Barriers Really Work?

Close Up of Radiant Barrier Fiber Reinforced Foil

Radiant Barrier Information

Radiant heat, otherwise known as heat radiation is the best kind of heat transfer in relation to the other two methods of convection and conduction. Conduction involves direct transfer of heat like a stove heating a pot while convection involves surrounding heat from liquid or air heating something like with something in an oven or a being heated in a hot bath.  With radiant or heat radiation you can refer to a microwave as the kitchen analogy. Essentially heat is generated from the movement of the charged particle within an atom that is converted to electromagnetic radiation. Other such examples can be from materials or objects such as heat from light fixtures, floors or the sun. With a radiant barrier in a home, radiant heat will transfer through the air without heating the air itself. It will instead transfer to surfaces which will then re-radiate the heat in the space making it feel warmer. Here is some more Infomation about a radiant barrier that may prove useful for you.   

Does Radiant Barrier need air space?

As mentioned before a radiant barrier will work with air and without air space you won’t have radiant heat or a radian barrier. That is to say, the radiant barrier material, say if aluminum is involved would turn into a conductive heat object once the air is removed from the equation. Essentially, without the required air space heat, will work against its nature and increase heat flow.

What is radiant barrier made of?

A radiant barrier is made of highly reflective materials such as aluminum foil. The material is then applied to one or both sides of a substrate that can be plastic film, kraft paper, oriented strand board, cardboard or air infiltration barrier materials. Some of these options may even go further and be fiber-reinforced to increase durability and ease handling. As of such, a radiant barrier could be applied with numerous different insulation materials as a facing material.

Is spray foam a radiant barrier?

With radiant barrier vs spray foam insulation of the spray foam variety doesn’t protect from radiant heat but it will have the effects of conduction and convection. They won’t be as effective in keeping cool in the summer however when radiant heat is more powerful.

Can Radiant Barrier cause mold?

A radiant barrier can risk causing mold and other damages if not properly installed. Grime and dust buildup can come in the way of a radiant barrier’s ability to reflect heat and allow it pass on. If a property has leaking problems or too much condensation from improper air seals or poor vents than moisture is being collected in the house. If it’s the attic you have a confined space that will trap moisture on drywall and the radiant barrier. In the winter months, this condensation can be worse and form mold. These issues can be resolved as long as your vents and seals are in place as they should be. Problems of the mold with a radiant barrier are not caused directly by the barrier but by home systems that are having issues instead and affecting moisture levels in the air.

Attic Insulation Project Between Joists

Radiant Barrier Benefits

  • Reduce HVAC Costs
  • Stabilize Internal Temperature
  • Various Substrate Options
  • Can Be Fit To Any Roof
  • Efficient Installations

Does radiant barrier really work?

Studies show that a radiant barrier can lower cooling costs by 5-10% in warm sunny climates. Reduced heat can allow for smaller air conditioner systems and more energy conservation efforts as well. In cool climates, however, it’s usually more cost-effective to install thermal insulation that a radiant barrier. 

When To Use Radiant Barrier Insulation

A radiant barrier is a great way to improve on the comfort of your building’s temperatures in any season as essentially it works as any proper insulation should in being adaptable in any climate or season. Particularly harsh seasons like summer or winter however it will prove especially useful. The heat will move from hot areas to cold areas thereby reducing energy costs in the summer and the sheathing will prevent heat transference away from the interior during winter months.

Is radiant barrier worth it in Texas?

Essentially a radiant barrier can be useful in any climate, it’s essentially insulation and insulation is great in stabilizing temperatures inside of a building. As radiant heat is perhaps the highest in summer it can be great for warmer climates.

Contact A Professional 

Add radiant barrier benefits to your property with a roll-on foil barrier or other such material to improve your home or business’s insulation. Remember, it’s important that a professional install your radiant barrier with precision and care or you may run into problems down the road. When you require assistance, be sure to contact a professional as they will be able to conduct a roof inspection to determine the specifications and characteristics of your property. Look into your local residential or commercial roof installation services for professional care. Benefit from a radiant barrier today!

If you’d like to learn more about a radiant barrier in Fort Worth, TX call 817-781-8781 with ACT Home Energy Specialists!

How Do You Do A Home Energy Audit?

Hand Holding an Energy Efficiency Rating House Icon

Benefit From An Energy Audit

Your home uses a large amount of energy to keep your home systems operational, yet that doesn’t mean that you can’t make some key adjustments to soften the consumption of energy for a more green home environment. Average Americans spend around $2,060 a year on energy costs as seen by the Lawrence Berkely National Laboratory. Ultimately the amount of energy that you use will depend on the types of fuels used in your home be it from oil, gas, electricity to even wood in your fireplace. Each pulls on different energy sources and have different price rates when being used. A good way to determine what systems will work best with your preferences is to have an energy audit done with your home. This will determine what sources of energy have a high use and will let you know about the patterns of spending which can give you an idea of how to seek alternate forms of energy or at the very least modify your energy usage. Here is some more information about energy audits that may prove useful to you!

Should I get a home energy audit?

A home energy audit will help you assess your home to see where you’re losing the most energy and will give you recommendations on how to save energy and reduce your bills. With a professional audit, the time that is taken for completion will depend on the size of your home but you can expect anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours out of your day as a general rule of thumb.

Are energy audits free?

There are many energy service companies that offer free energy audits yet they will typically provide you with generalizations about energy use in your home. If you wish for more details there are other types of energy audit services that you can choose to assist with your home.

Energy Efficiency Home Model on Desk With a Businessman Calculating With Papers

How do you prepare for an energy audit?

An energy audit can be prepared for by knowing a few basic details regarding your home or business. It’s important to be present during an energy audit that way you can discuss concerns and provide informative details about your energy systems that may be of help for the overall results.

How To Prep For An Audit

  • Make a List of Problems
  • Prepare Copies of Energy Bills From the Past 12 Months
  • Be Present at the Audit
  • Know Your Average Thermostat Settings For Summer/Winter
  • Know Your Heating Sources & Fuel Types
  • Be Aware of Energy-Intensive Appliances

How can I make an old house more energy efficient?

There are a few things that can assist you in making your home more energy efficient. Once such way is to incorporate energy efficient light bulbs which pull on less energy while still producing bright lights. You could even use a lighting system that can adjust brightness and be dimmed by command as well, there are also options that light up only when an occupant is present in the room or given space. As far as the overall home, your HVAC system can be an indicator of higher bills. Believe it or not but your roofing ties a large hand into how hard your HVAC system performs. When your roofing’s insulation is not up to par in both cooling down or keeping a building warm your HVAC system will work harder in order to maintain stable temperatures. In order to conserve energy consider a roof inspection to make sure insulation is good or consider roofing materials with reflective properties as that can save you a large percentage of heating and cooling costs.

How can I improve the heat efficiency of my home?

A good way to improve the heat efficiency of your home is to check on the insulation of your roof as this can affect how your home retains heat. You may also choose to insulate your loft as this is another area that will affect heat distribution. Upgrading your boiler to a more energy efficient model can also be a good idea for better heat distribution and heat conservation. As far as interior design, thick curtains or thermal ones over windows or doors can prevent cooler temperatures from infiltrating your home and prevent heat from leaving your property.

Contact A Professional

When you are in need of an energy audit for home, energy audit for industry or an energy audit is required for your business consider relying on the services of home performance testing. Energy audit and conservation efforts are essential in maintaining proper system functions and proper energy consumption. With an energy audit, you can make beneficial strides to more energy efficient use that can be a great benefit to both the environment and your pocket! If you’d like to know more get in touch with a professional today!

If you’d like an energy audit in Fort Worth, TX call 817-781-8781 with ACT Home Energy Specialists!

Is it Time to Replace My Attic Insulation?

Old, Grimey Fiberglass Matt Insulation in the Attic

When to Remove Attic Insulation

The next time you sit comfortably on the living couch, consider all the effort that goes into making your home cool and cozy. Of course, we all know how much our comfort depends on a working heating and cooling system. But your family also relies on a protective shield that lies just above the ceiling: attic insulation.

It’s not something we think about everyday, but your attic insulation installation protects you from the heat that naturally builds up during daylight hours. As long as it remains thick and clean, you don’t have to worry about it. But how do we know when to replace insulation? Today, we’ll look into this crucial home element, how it works, and planning its replacement. You should have a deeper respect for your insulation afterwards! Let’s dive in.

How Attic Insulation Works

Throughout the day, sunlight warms the surface of the rooftop. Through a process known as conduction, that surface heat travels down to the underside of the roof, where it radiates into the attic. This heat gradually accumulates until the attic is swollen with heat. Two factors determine whether or not that heat then sinks down and spoils your cozy, conditioned air: ventilation and attic insulation.

While ventilation allows hot air to upwards through the rooftop, your attic insulation installation prevents heat from traveling through the floor joists and the ceiling drywall.

Cooling Factor

Does Attic Insulation Help With Cooling?

Yes! Insulation helps prevent the two processes that permit the transfer of heat. There’s conduction, which we mentioned earlier. There’s also radiation, where heat radiates outward from a given surface. Most forms of insulation deal with the first type. Radiant barriers target the latter form, but we’ll discuss that later.

In other words, insulation stops heat from sinking down into your living areas and tarnishing your conditioned air. That means shorter run times for your AC unit and subsequently lower electricity consumption. Will attic insulation make a difference? Absolutely! If you’ve been struggling with unusually high energy costs on your utility bill, better insulation could be a very cost-effective solution.

Longevity

How Long Does Insulation Last in the Attic?

Many professionals suggest that insulation should last 80 years or more, given ideal conditions. The problem with that figure is that many forms of insulation naturally degrade over time and gradually lose functionality. Blown-in systems get compressed, while matts start to pick up moisture and develop mold.

The odds of your insulation lasting for the full 80 years are slim. Which is why 20 to 30 year estimates often make more sense for homeowners.

Bottom Line

Is Attic Insulation Worth It?

So if your attic insulation installation is going to break down eventually anyway, is it really worthwhile in the first place? Definitely yes! Insulation not only protects your home from enormous would-be energy waste, it also prevents some pests from coming in through the ceiling. With the right insulation type, you could enjoy hundreds of dollars in savings every year.

Replacing That Old Insulation

So how do homeowners know when to replace their aging insulation? There are a number of signs to let you know it’s time. These include:

  • Pest damage
  • Low insulation levels (for blown-in)
  • Mold growth
  • Clear coverage gaps

Mold growth is a particularly strong sign it’s time for immediate attic insulation removal. The longer spores continue to reproduce in the attic, the more likely the growth will spread to other parts of your home.

Volume

How Much Attic Insulation Do I Need?

Blown-in and matt insulation should come up just above the joists in the floor. For types with higher R-values (such as polyurethane spray foam), you can sometimes get away with thinner layers. Consult with an expert to see how thick your particular type of insulation needs to be.

Types

Types of Attic Insulation

There are many kinds of attic insulation besides your average fiberglass matts and shredded newspapers (cellulose).

Types of Insulation for Your Attic

  • Blanket Insulation
  • Blown-in & loose-fill
  • Foam Board
  • Spray Foam
  • Radiant Barriers

The last two options are often utilized on the roof underside. Spray foam absorbs much of the heat conducted from the rooftop. Radiant barriers go the extra mile by reflecting heat out of the attic. This actually lowers the resting temperature of the protected areas by as much as 30 degrees, leading to some impressive energy savings.

Threats

Can Attic Insulation Get Mold?

Can attic insulation get wet? If the answer is yes, then there’s also a decent chance of mold development. Fiber matts and cellulose are particularly susceptible to mold growth following a roof leak, though spray foam and radiant barriers are often designed to resist it. If your attic insulation installation gets wet (no matter the type), be sure to dry out the area with fans as quickly as possible!

Installing Thermal Insulation Inside the Attic

Schedule Your Insulation Replacement!

Is it time to remove that old, underperforming attic insulation? Our team at ACT Home Energy Specialists would love to help you! Learn about all our local services, including attic insulation installation in Fort Worth, TX, by calling our friendly staff at 817-781-8781.