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Mon, Nov. 18

Ask the contractor: Radiant barriers deflect heat and are easy to apply

I received a call this week from a woman with a concern about the high heat level in her garage, and she was requesting a contractor to install vents. Ninety-five percent of garages are not vented. The creation of heat can be minimized by insulating your garage, and I can personally attest to that fact. I insulated my garage door DIY (do-it-yourself) as they say, and bingo: The amount of heat radiating through the door into the garage was drastically cut down. Well, OK - I did not DIM (do-it-myself) - I called in for reinforcements and muscle.

Thanks goodness for brothers! A steak and lobster dinner later and I had an insulated garage door.

The next approach to minimize garage heat would be to look at attic insulation. I was cool with that - at least my garage was; I had plenty of insulation and no issues there.

There is another technique for heat reduction, and that is spray-applied radiant barriers. A radiant barrier can greatly reduce attic heat buildup (and heavy air-conditioning loads). This coating system can be applied to the underside of wood or metal roof decks.

Air-conditioning in the U.S. produces about 140 million tons of CO2 per year. It is one of the biggest energy gluttons in the residential portfolio and, as they say, "ripe for efficiency gains."

The first step in shrinking the A/C footprint is to reduce demand. That can be done by a number of ways - reflective roofing, higher R-value in the roof or radiant barriers. Radiant barriers are a straightforward way to reflect that unwanted heat away from the house and garage. A complaint from the past was that radiant barriers were difficult to apply; however, modern improvements and new coatings and application processes have simplified installation, and the complaints have all but disappeared.

Radiant barriers can be applied with brushes or rollers, though spray is the preferred method because many roofs and attics have nail penetrations and other obstacles. The spray method is easy-breezy. So if you have heat issues, call YCCA and we'll connect you with contractors who apply radiant barrier sprays.

***

The volume of calls is increasing and the community is calling for help. You have skyrocketing energy bills, you have mold, you want to know about sustainability features, what can you do to increase the value of your homes, and the beat goes on, as they say. I have met and talked with so many wonderful families. So many of you are pushing for energy efficiency: You want water-conserving fixtures, and lots of you are showing a willingness to make sacrifices for green methods. Even at 85 years of age, in the example of one caller, you are concerned.

A good number of you are staying in your homes longer, and you are considering the return on investment. Choices will pay for themselves over time. YCCA is impressed: You are well-versed and educated consumers, and you have durability on your minds.

I have heard tales of woe and tales of triumph; I have heard things that have gone wrong with the unscrupulous contractors, and stories about how a YCCA member has gone the extra mile to help you. You have shared your needs, your expectations and your quest for value. You have all touched my life and I am so honored that YCCA is here to help you. You can't like us on Facebook because we are not socially connected; you can't follow us on Twitter because we are not socially connected - but you can continue to call and email. YCCA is here to help you day or night - 24/7, we are connected. There are thousands of reasons to call YCCA - we are here for you!

Sandy Griffis is the executive director of the Yavapai County Contractors Association. The YCCA is a professional association representing licensed, bonded and insured contractors, suppliers, distributors and business entities. Call YCCA for information on hiring a contractor at 778-0040. Submit questions to ycca@cableone.net or through www.ycca.org. The 34th annual YCCA Home Garden Show is coming to Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott Valley, May 18-20. Admission is free.

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