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Radiant Barriers – do they work?

By Dale Reagan | July 19, 2011

I like data – in fact, I prefer data based decisions over any other approach; as a consumer, however, I tend to rely on vendors (probably what most of us do.)  Well, sometimes finding the right vendor for a particular problem is quite challenging – I had to resolve this one on my own over a significant amount of time and at most likely, an excessive cost; hopefully you will have a better experience…

In general, purely technical problems (some sort of performance/goal target miss) fall into only a few categories:

  1. a design problem
  2. an implementation problem
  3. a complex, multi-faceted problem with a single system or some combination of interdependent systems (eco-system) problem – in the real world, out of isolation, some sort of combination of events/conditions presents itself and the the interesting condition occurs (probably the most likely choice – the others are relatively simple…)
  4. a Murphy Moment/Scenario (the planets align in some wonderful pattern and the totally unexpected, un-explainable occur – good luck!)

In this case I am dealing with multiple, interwoven complex systems  (an eco-system) in the real world – a dynamic environment with no/little built in measurement tools – the background follows.

Ok, I have an older abode in the mostly sunny southern US with dark shingles and a hip roof.   One room in this abode has always been warmer than all other rooms.  In fact, when I first visited the house I noted that the previous owner was using an oscillating fan in this particular room.  Note to reader – read the entire post before reacting to any particular bullet point – there is quite a bit to consider – also note that your results (should you explore any of these items) will most likely vary quite a bit…

Time has marched on and a number of upgrades occur to the abode:

Time passes with no noticeable change in comfort levels in the warm room. Research begins to discover possible approaches to:

Things that did not occur that should have –  vendors should have provided better information (or I should have asked more questions! OR I should have located ‘better’ vendors…):

Ok, so where are we after months of web research, thought & reflection:

So how warm is the warm room?

What should the temperature be in rooms with A/C vents?

Some notes about the abode:

Finding the right vendor(s)?

Where is the web/tech part of this post? It’s a work in progress and will hopefully, eventually include:

The above sensor network is now in place and data collection has begun (see Arduino and 1-Wire posts for technical information.)

At this point I have decided to move this post/project to a new web site:  http://cooler-house.georgia-usa.com/.  The site will start with above base set of information and may include vendor/product reviews along with the data project.  As always, your mileage should vary, at least a little… 🙂

I’m developing a plan to measure & track temperatures in my attic, on the roof, in the house, as well as ‘the air’

Topics: 1-Wire, Computer Technology | Comments Off on Radiant Barriers – do they work?

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