If you’re interested in learning more about the potential cost savings with radiant barrier, then when faced with all the positives you may be asking yourself “Are there risks with this product?” The answer, of course, is up to you. But first some facts.
Radiant barrier is a product proven to reduce the loss and gain of radiant heat inside any building or space. In traditional residential construction, radiant heat is gained during the summer primarily via the roof as the sun’s rays beat down on the large surface area (it can enter through side walls too, but not to the same extent). Radiant heat is also lost during the winter as the heated air from your furnace fights to escape to a cooler space, namely the outdoors via your attic. Does it sound like a lost cause? It doesn’t have to be.
This is where radiant barrier becomes valuable. When installed along the rafters in your attic, radiant barrier reflects almost 99% of the radiant heat trying to invade your home, and pushes it right back out into the atmosphere. When installed along the joists in your attic, on top of your existing traditional insulation, radiant barrier reflects the heated air generated by your furnace during the winter back down into the living space. In both cases, heated air stays where it should, seasonally appropriate. Your HVAC system gets a break, which means so does your wallet.
The risks? Well, I suppose you could fall off the ladder when entering your attic. Other than that, you might get a finger stapled when installing radiant barrier along the rafters. Otherwise, provided you follow manufacturer instructions, there really are no risks or downsides. Be sure to allow some quarter inch gaps between sheets of product when you lay it down over your existing insulation. That will allow moisture to escape and prevent any possible mold growth.