"I'm very pleased with my AtticFoil radiant barrier installation! I had hoped I would see savings to my electricity bill but I have several other efficiency improvements I need to make. Why would I be pleased when I haven't had a reduction in savings? It's the same answer that others have offered but I didn't completely understand until now; it comes down to comfort.
To unpack what that means, I'll have to explain what cooling my house has been like the 4 previous years since I bought this home. My single-story, 1100-square-foot, brick home was built in the 50s. Originally, it had a floor furnace and gas heaters in each room and no air conditioning. Over 20 years ago, they converted the home to central heat and air. It was this inefficient unit that I inherited. The attic insulation ranges in depth from 1 to 6 inches. A neighbor assures me there should be insulation in my walls as his house has it. My windows are a mix of single pane only and single-pane with storm windows added. I've since added reflective films to most windows to cut the summer heat gain.
Prior to adding AtticFoil, cooling my house meant my AC took several hours to make a one-degree drop. To save on electricity bills, I signed up for my electric company's SmartHours program over the hot summer months. While this is easy on my bills, it wreaks havoc on the comfort of my house. During the weekday hours of 2-7, my thermostat was set at a high temp of 85-89 to prevent the AC from kicking on. Without a radiant barrier keeping the attic temperature at or near the outside air temperature, my AC was having to overcompensate for more than the 20-degree drop I was asking of it. It was also having to fight the 140-160-degree heat radiating into my home from the AC return lines sitting in the attic; My AC ran non-stop from 7 PM to 5 or 6 AM and beyond! I didn't like inviting people over any time of the day because the AC couldn't get my home to a comfortable level, ever.
After reading some of the AtticFoil reviews, I realized that my attic story was similar to another person's. My roof was originally cedar shake and I had gable-end vents. At some point it was converted to composite roof (asphalt) and sadly, typical of conversions by sloppy roofers, they also closed in the soffit vents eliminating air flow. I contacted a roofer with my observations and questions and he said that before a radiant barrier can be installed, I must solve the ventilation issue. This was my 2017 home-improvement project.
Now that I've had a radiant barrier and experienced its effects for almost 4 months of Oklahoma's summer heat, I am quite astonished at the difference in my, here it comes, comfort level. I'm still on SmartHours with my electric provider and my inside temps still climb over 80 degrees but what's different now is that it no longer takes forever to get at a comfortable temp. My AC can drop several degrees within an hour as it's no longer fighting against the excessive heat buildup in the attic.
Since my install, I have monitored my attic temps and the results are most dramatic on the hottest of days. On the 108-degree day, my attic temp was just 10-degrees hotter at 116! Oddly, on cooler days, the attic temp was more like 15 to 20-degrees warmer. Not sure why but I'm deeply thrilled by how much difference this has made on my AC's ability to keep me comfortable.
I bet you're asking why my electric bills didn't go down. I'm a hot sleeper, so I need my room to be around 67-degrees so I can get a good night's sleep. I didn't want to cool my whole house to 67 so I installed 1 small window AC in each bedroom, for a total of 2 units. I set my home temp to 75 at night and our units to where we need them. These run often throughout the night likely because my windows are inefficient and leaky and more insulation is needed in the attic. Also affecting the bills, I've been so happy to finally have a cool house that I have kept the temperature on either side of SmartHours a bit lower than normal.
I think you get the picture here. I am very hopeful that with other major improvements like new windows, new HVAC and more insulation, my bills can be reduced. But until I can afford those improvements, I can finally enjoy my first home purchase, even in the heat of an Oklahoma summer! "