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Lowering Energy Costs Using Radiant Barrier

SchneiderPeeps - Lowering Energy Costs with Radiant Barrier

When we first bought this house almost 3 years ago, we made a list of some things we wanted to do to the property and to the house. One of the things we wanted to do was install some kind of  radiant barrier to our roof. We wanted to do this not only to lower our energy costs but because the main area of our home is hard to cool. The bedrooms are fine but the livingroom/dining/kitchen area is always warmer than the bedrooms.

This summer we got serious about looking into what would be the best way for us to cool down our home. We’ve had a relatively cool summer. We have had less than 20 days of 100+ degree temps. In 2011, we had a record 56 days. So, even if we have the air conditioning set at 78 there are days that it doesn’t shut off.

We looked at painting our roof white but in order to use the correct kind of paint and put on two coats we were looking at any where from $600-$800 dollars. Also, our shingles are about 10 years old, we hated to paint them and then have them start blowing off. Honestly, I was glad when we looked at the price, because I didn’t really want a white roof.

Then we looked and read quite a bit about radiant barrier that you put  inside your attic. We looked at both paint and foil. In the end, we decided to use foil. There were several reasons for this, one being the installation process. Our attic is full of stuff – stuff I don’t want paint overspray on. If you decide to use the paint, and especially if you hire someone to do it for you, you should read this article on how not to get scammed.

While doing our reseach we came across many articles and videos from AtticFoil.com. The honesty in this particular article about the cost savings was the deal sealer for us. We knew we wanted to work with this company. So, I reached out to AtticFoil.com and began a conversation about working together.

Since I always want to be honest with you about any possible “conflicts of interest” I want to let you know what we decided. Carl and I purchased 3000 sq ft of the radiant barrier foil.  We paid full price plus shipping. I’m going to be doing a series of posts about the AtticFoil we purchased. Today’s post on the installation is the first of four. For the the next 3 months (and probably well into next year) I will be giving you an update on how we like the AtticFoil, if there have been any issues and what our electricity bill was for the previous month and for the same month last year. To be honest, I’m not expecting much change in our electricity during the winter since we live in a mild climate; that’s why I’ll continue to give updates even after the time in our agreement is over. After the fourth post is published, AtticFoil will reimburse me 50% of my total cost. There is nothing in our agreement that I have to only talk about the positives,  AtticFoil wants honest reviews and I want to give honest reviews. So, if something doesn’t work out like I thought it would, you’ll know.

box of one 1000ft rollWe ordered 3 – 1000 sq ft rolls. This is the box that one roll came in, the other two came in a box that was twice as wide. As you can see, the boxes are managable.

attic foil rollThis is what the foil looks like. There is no right side or wrong side. Unlike aluminum foil that you use in the kitchen, this foil was pretty thick and didn’t tear easily. We used a small utility knife that came with the foil to cut it.

attic foil in the cornerWe watched the installation video before starting. As you can see our start was not as smooth as the start on the video. When they say the hardest part is the lower level, they aren’t kidding.

installing attic foilWe worked on this several evenings. We were having 100 degree temps at this point, so we would open up the attic in the afternoon and then about 10 minute before we started working, we’d turn on the attic fan and pull some of our cool air from inside of the house up into the attic. I know that’s not ideal, but it beats heatstroke.

stapling attic foilThe next layer was much, much easier. We used just a regular staple gun with T50 staples.

first layerWe had to cut around some of the beams, but it was really easy to do. (The powdery stuff is from when I painted the house in the Spring and had to sand the walls. The attic fan sucked it all up into the attic.)  We also realized that we really need to add more insulation – I’m sure this stuff is 50 years old.

finished atticThis is what the finished attic looks like. Well, the half that isn’t full of stuff. Carl even hung some lights the length of the attic and put an on/off switch right by the door.

gap for air flowAs per the instructions, we left a gap at the bottom before the first row and at the pitch of the roof.

Service is a huge thing for me. From my very first email, the team at AtticFoil has been very responsive and courteous. I ordered the product directly off their website and recieved an email with a tracking number. I received the packages in just a couple of days.

The supplies needed are minimal – Staple gun and staples (T50, 1/4″ or 5/16″), a measuring tape and a utility knife (one came in one of the boxes, but you could use a pocket knife if you don’t have one). They suggest wearing masks, as you can see we didn’t follow that instruction. We did wear long sleeve shirts, jeans and sneakers. We also used some old doors to sit/stand/lay on.

Overall, this was an easy project to do.

Someone on my facebook page mentioned that the radiant barrier would mess up our cell phone reception. We haven’t found that to be the case. But if you already have poor reception, it will probably get worse.

AtticFoil has tons of information on their site. Here is their frequently asked questions page. You can find out all kinds of information about installing radiant barrier yourself.

If you are looking for commerical applications, they have a site, WareHouse Foil, just for you. If you are getting a new roof, you should check out RoofingFoil, to see all your options in radiant barriers.

Have you ever thought of using a radiant barrier? 

This post is shared at Homestead Barn Hop, Homemaking Link UpHomeAcre Blog HopFrom the Farm Blog Hop,  Simple Saturdays

Thanks for sharing with your friends!

John D Aiken

Tuesday 5th of May 2020

Wondering about a follow up on any energy savings.

Angi Schneider

Tuesday 5th of May 2020

During the summer, we use about 250-300kWs less than we did before we put it in. So, not huge savings but over time it adds up.

Aerolam Insulations

Tuesday 24th of July 2018

great blog post... for me.complete guidance mentioned in it. thank you for sharing with us.


Saturday 27th of June 2015

Now that we have had some warm weather, has the radiant barrier helped much?

Angi Schneider

Saturday 27th of June 2015

Hi Mark, Thanks for asking. I do think it has helped. We've been able to keep our a/c set at 78 during the day without it running all the time and there is not the as big of a temperature difference between the main area of our home and the bedrooms. Each month we are using a little less energy than we did for that month the previous year. Last month it was about 100kwh less.

But we've had very, very wet year and our sump pump has been running a lot more. Also, my son has been doing a lot of bee removals since we've had such a huge nectar flow and so he's been using an old freezer that we didn't use at this time last year.

I really wish there were a way to see exactly how much energy our a/c used in before and after we installed the radiant barrier but there isn't.

I do think that since we live in a warm climate that over time we'll re-coup the cost through a reduction in our electric bill. I don't think that will happen this year.

Tracy @ OurSimpleHomestead

Thursday 25th of September 2014

We live in the south and have many over 100 days. We have been thinking about installing this as well. I will look forward to seeing how it works for you!


Wednesday 24th of September 2014

I was interested to read this because we need to do something with our attic. It just isn't fun to put $$ into something you don't see--is it? But the thought that we'd see a difference in our energy bill would certainly make it more bearable. I'll be checking back--I love that you're dedicated to writing an honest review. ~Pamela

Angi Schneider

Wednesday 24th of September 2014

That isn't fun - which is part of why we have taken so long to get this project done. I don't think we'll see much of a difference this fall and winter but I'm excited to see what happens next summer.