A radiant barrier is a little-known and commonly overlooked feature of roofing in Dallas, but one you ought to be acquainted with. These fixtures are installed mainly in attics for the purpose of reducing summer heat and minimizing cooling costs. Unlike thermal insulation materials, they dont reduce heat conduction, but they do reflect radiant heat instead of absorbing it.
To better understand what radiant barriers do, its important to know how heat travels. Conduction, convection, and radiation are the methods by which heat travels from a warm location to a cooler one. Conduction works transferring heat from a hotter location through a material into a cooler location, not unlike the way heat travels from a hot pot of soup through a metal spoon and into your hand. Convection occurs when a liquid or gas heats up, loses density, and rises, later falling as it cools. Radiant heat will warm anything solid that can absorb its energy.
Most insulation materials reduce only conductive and convective heat flow, but not radiant. Since the suns rays are primarily responsible for heating up your roof, a radiant barrier helps cool it down by reducing the radiant heat transfer from the roof to the inside of your attic. Theyre generally most effective in hotter climates, and particularly in attics containing cooling air ducts. According to some studies, a radiant barrier can help to reduce cooling costs by 5 to 10% in a hot climate in Dallas Ft. Worth.