Radiant Barrier


Old 07-14-08, 12:55 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 26
Radiant Barrier


I wanted to know if anyone can give me a estimate on how much a radiant barrier cost. Home Depot has been putting out commercials for efficient attic and I'm getting tempted to call them, but don't even want to waste their time if it cost thousands.

I just bought my home a year and a half ago. Last month I received a 560 dollar energy bill (which I cannot afford). When we did a home inspection the inspector told us the A/C unit outside was about 8 years old, and the (attic portion) was new.
I notice the outside portion is constantly going and I'm thinking it might be overworking. The attic portion might be new but as I remodel I'm noticing the duct work in some parts is untaped and looks old. I also don't think the thermostat is working properly because when the house feels comfortable when it reads 79-81 and don't know if this might have something to do with it. I don't want to be told I need a radiant barrier when what I really need is a new unit, or vice-versa. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-14-08, 07:53 PM
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: USA
Posts: 1,873
The simplest things usually save you the most money.

First check your air filter. A dirty filter can literally double your cooling costs.

Leaky ductwork causes a variety of problems, not just increase your cooling costs. Taping the seams or using mastic will also lower your cooling costs.

Check your condensate pipes. You want to make sure the condensation from the air handler in the attic is draining the condensation away. If nothing coming out of the pipe on a warm humid day when the unit is running a lot there is a good chance the the evaporator coil inside the air handler is frosted up. The first thing to check for is the air handler's service panel, access ports and plenum (where the ducts attach to the air handler), Make sure all these areas are closed and sealed properly.

At this point if there is frosting up on the evaporator coil and all these areas are closed properly, I would recommend calling a service person.

Let me know how things turn out and I'll tell you more things to do to lower your cooling costs.
Old 07-15-08, 12:02 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 26
Thanks for the advice, I will start with the air filter, everything else I'm going to have to look up to make sure i'm looking for the right things as I don't know what all of those things are.
Old 07-15-08, 12:02 PM
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Join Date: May 2007
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Definitely start with the ducts. If they are leaking, torn open or falling apart, fixing them first is the biggest bang for the buck. I would never install more insulation or radiant barrier until the ducts were sealed tight. As for radiant barrier, there are two types: Radiant Barrier Foil and Radiant Barrier Spray. The foil will reflect over 95% of the radiant heat and the spray (if properly installed) will at best reflect 75%. The foil can be either a do-it-yourself project or you can hire a professional installer. Spray is not an easy do-it-yourself project.

Cost for the spray is usually about .60/ft. but usually does not cover spraying the complete rafters (which is essential) and the foil guys get about .75-1.00/ft. Material cost only for paint is about .15-.20/ft. and the foil is about .12/ft.

Hope this helps.

Stay Cool.

Last edited by the_tow_guy; 07-16-08 at 09:35 AM.

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