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Reflective Insulation Fact vs. Fiction

The R-value Of Reflective Insulation And Mass Insulation Is Based On The Same Fundamental Equation - The Ability To Stop Heat Transfer.

  1. R-value of reflective insulation - How is it measured?
  2. Definition of reflective insulation
  3. History of Reflective Insulation
  4. Video of how Prodex Reflective Insulation works
  5. Parameters used by other insulation types to test R-value
  6. Inaccuracy of R-value of cellulose and fiberglass insulation
  7. Uses - Applications for reflective insulation
  8. Five Reasons to Buy Prodex Total Reflective Insulation

The R-value of A Reflective Insulation

The R-value of reflective insulation and mass insulations is based on the same fundamental equation: The ability to stop heat transfer. The R-value of reflective insulation is measured as a system. The best system consist of two reflective surfaces surrounding an inner substance (core) plus two trapped airspaces. If you know the system measured (parameters of test), the R-value you're using is accurate.

Fact vs. Fiction

Fact: The R-value of a reflective insulation system is accurate.

Fiction: The printed R-value on fiberglass and cellulose insulation (Proof that their printed R-value is fiction is just a few paragraphs away).

The R-value of reflective insulation is measured as a system rather than just the product. It's a better form of measurement when you think about it. What good is an R-value of a product if when it's applied in your application it has a different value. You need to know the answer to a question like - What will be the R-value when installed in my roof for example.

  • Reflective insulation R-value is measured as a system.
  • It has a center (core substance).

Example - Prodex Total Reflective insulation has an R-value of 16.

prodex insulation cross section

13/64 inch (approx. 3/16") - 5mm closed cell polyethylene foam covered on both sides with .0012 inch (0.03mm) aluminum foil facing. 

The R-value was measured under the following parameters:

24-inch on center 2" x 6" wood assembly. Roof application. Test Method ASTM 1116. Airspace of 2.64 inch on each side of product. Heat flow direction down. 

Best Definition of Reflective Insulation

An insulation system that reduces the transfer of heat across air space by the use of two surfaces having high thermal reflectance and low emittance (typically metalized film or aluminum) + plus an inner substance (mass insulation) + plus trapped airspaces.

Most definitions, even those on .org websites fail to mention the inner substance (mass insulation) that is in between the two reflective surface layers. This is the cause of much of the confusion. Without the inner substance, (foam, fiberglass, wool or Mylar bubbles) it is not reflective insulation - it is only a radiant barrier. 

This bears repeating " Without the inner substance, (foam, fiberglass, wool or Mylar bubbles) it is not reflective insulation - it is only a radiant barrier.

History of Reflective Insulation 

Reflective insulation is a commercial spinoff of the NASA Apollo Space Program. NASA used a reflective foil covering to create a radiant barrier for both the spacecraft and space suits to reflect the intense heat of the suns away from the astronauts by day and to reflect internal heat back inside the capsule of space suit at night for warmth. NASA estimates that "Using conventional insulation, a space suit would have required a 7-foot-thick protective layer." Prodex improved on this technology to consumers for all types of building applications.  

Today, reflective insulation has become a standard component of a total insulation system. It's designed for both new construction and retrofits. Using reflective insulation for either your house or metal building will increase the comfort level inside, protect against condensation and save on energy costs.

All Insulation Types Have Parameters To Their R-value Testing

Pitchmen for competing insulation types make a big deal about the air-gap required for a reflective insulation to achieve its optimal R-value. They fail to tell you that an air-gap doesn't improve their R-value. They also fail to tell you the parameters of the testing used to achieve their stated R-value. Since they won't tell you, we will.

Is the Stated R-value for Fiberglass and Cellulose Insulation Accurate?

Not unless you're in an environment of zero humidity and zero wind. The parameters of the R-value test for fiberglass and cellulose insulation involves no moisture or wind. You might be saying, "That's ridiculous. That can't be. Those aren't the conditions of my home or building."

Even in the desert there is humidity. All buildings and houses leak air and water. Water vapor from the atmosphere, showers, cooking and even breathing move back and forth through the walls and ceiling. Those of you in humid areas may lose half of your R-value with fiberglass or cellulose insulation. 

Fiberglass is assigned an R-value of 3 to 3.5 per inch. Remember it will only achieve this number in a zero moisture and zero wind environment. Fiber insulation placed in an improperly sealed house will allow wind to blow through it as if there were no insulation at all. In the event of flooding the R-value goes to zero. Even small amounts of moisture will cause a dramatic drop in fiberglass and cellulose insulation's R-value. The question you should ask Mr. or Ms. Fiberglass and Cellulose is, "What is your R-value in my real-world environment?"

mass insulation heat flow reflective insulation heat flow

Uses: metal buildings (there is nothing better - period), pole barnsunder concretewallsroofsatticsductscrawlspacehouse-wrap,shipping containersgaragesceilingsbasements...

Prodex Total Reflective Insulation - The Best reflective insulation, is the standard bearer in the reflective insulation industry: Insulation + radiant barrier + vapor barrier ALL in one product. Other reflective insulation products offered on this website.

I've been in the industry since 2002 and I must admit that for a couple years I didn't completely understand all aspects of this unique and versatile product. It's no wonder many are confused. Hopefully this article has helped you better understand reflective insulation. Maybe you also agree it's awesome.

Reviews - What to Believe

5 Reasons To Buy Prodex Total Reflective Insulation

  1. Independent reviews at Site Jabber. Site Jabber is the leading community of online business reviewers. The community helps consumers find great online business and avoid scams. The community has grown to over 850,000 members and has reviewed over 58,000 online businesses. Site Jabber was developed in part with a grant from the National Science Foundation.
  2. BBB report. For over 100 years, BBB has set the standard for ethical business behavior. We're proud to maintain an "A to A+" rating. This rating takes into account a company's size in its relation to complaints. We're proud to maintain an "A to A+" rating. We've been accredited since March 15, 2004
  3. Prodex Insulation Reviews on every product page
  4. ICC-ES Recognized - ICC-ES is an evaluation service that takes independent test data for a variety of products and analyses it against a uniform Acceptance Criteria that is recognized internationally.
  5. Over 3 billion square feet sold worldwide.

Prodex Difference: ICC-ES Recognized : R 16 unaffected by humidity : Prevents condensation : Prevents 97% of radiant heat transfer : Vapor barrier : Elastic : 19dba contact noise reduction : 90 degree celsius (194 fahrenheit) contact temperature rating : UV resistance : Does not promote mold or mildew : Does not provide for nesting of rodents, bugs or birds : Seals around nails (no leak) : Reflective aluminum foil on each side of 5mm (13/64) closed-cell polyethylene foam center : Keeps its shape over time (doesn't collapse) : Rippled surface increases airflow :  Member of US Green Building Council - Made with 100% recyclable virgin raw materials : Over 3 billion square feet sold worldwide.

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Updated August 17, 2016 About us  Contact us


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