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Do Insulating Paint Additives Work? Here is The Scoop On Whether Insulating Paints Work Or Not.

 

By Andy Patterson, Home Repair Specialist

 

What is the deal with the advertisements for Insulating Paint? Do insulating paints really work as advertised? I was curious about insulating paint since I live in the south and heat gain is a problem. So, does insulating paint really work or is it a scam? The answer is not that simple.  I did some research and found some more information that makes some of the claims by insulating paint companies look a little fishy. My first clue should have been the paragraphs on the major insulating paint sites on how to sign up for their "affiliate program" and make money referring customers to them. Bad sign.

"NASA inspired technology, NASA spin-off technology", etc, etc, are part of the advertising slogans for insulating paint. Just because the space shuttle tiles contain ceramic doesn't mean that a cup of ground up ceramic powder or aluminum flakes put in a can  of house pant can reflect heat off of your home any better than regular paint.

One of the leading insulating paint makers claims to have a relationship to home expert Bob Vila but nothing can be found on Bob Vila's site about it when a search is done.

Many manufacturers of insulating paint claim that their products are Energy Star Certified when in fact they are not.

These same insulating paint companies may make a product that is reflective, and is used to paint the undersides of your attic and these products do have Government Energy Star recognition as having merit to save energy by keeping your attic cooler. However, when these same miracle additives are added to paint their reflective quality disappears regardless of whether the product is "high tech NASA ceramics, sliver, gold or kryptonite. The reason why they loose their reflective property is similar to what happens when you paint a mirror black. When the reflective particles are coated with colored latex house paint then it is no longer a reflective surface. Likewise ceramic as a material can dissipate heat but the entire wall would have to be made of ceramic tiles.  Just adding a few ounces to paint would give very little if any benefit.

Studies by the University of Florida on the two main makers of insulating paints show that these products are no more effective than any other paint at reducing heat gain in an exterior wall. Insulating paint claims don't seem to match the test results.

Another study which is available at this site did an in depth review of the "insulating" properties of ceramic based paint such as Insualadd. http://www.energyideas.org/documents/Factsheets/PTR/Insuladd.pdf

Insulating Paint Claims Vs. Reality

The study determined that, yes, there is some dissipation of heat, 20% at best, on a newly painted exterior wall but that it can degrade over time and the manufacturers claim of 40% energy savings cannot in any way be possible. Exterior walls account for only a quarter of a home's heat gain. The paint only works on walls that are in direct sun so once you factor that in it seems impossible to achieve such large energy savings.

A plain white wall may reflect heat just as well as one painted with insulating paint.

Their study also determined that the additive could contribute to up to 35% of heat loss during the winter on a wall that is in direct sun!

Applied to interior walls the study showed almost no effect at all.

The Energy Star website even requests that you send them the names of any company that claims that their paint is Energy Star certified when applied to the exterior or interior of a home.

The best way to reduce heat gain on a side of your home that gets direct sun is to install solar window screens, plant trees that leaf out in spring and summer and to paint the wall a lighter color.

You can use a solar roof vent that uses free energy to help keep your attic cool. See How solar roof vents help cut your energy bill. 

You can find out more about radiant barrier attic insulation, which has been proven to work here:  How radiant barrier attic insulation saves money. 

According to the tests done by the site above on Insuladd, Insulating paint additives have a slight cooling effect but when added to colored paint and applied to the outside of a home apparently  they do not work as well as advertised nor  give energy savings anywhere near what is claimed so  therefore I would recommend that your save your money. However, if you doubt the results of these studies, buy a small bag and do a test yourself by painting a section of wall. I tend to believe the study and therefore am saving my $12.95.

So, Does Insulating Paint Work as Advertised?, See the Link Below

Here is the Energy Star page describing how to report fraudulent claims about insulating paints.

http://energystar.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/energystar.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=4911&p_created=1200427307&p_topview=1

 

Follow Up:  eHelpfulTips forwarded the following message to me from the maker of a product called Insulpaint.

  It appears to be a different type of product entirely, not ceramic based. but "plant based".

Mr Andy Patterson,
Read your article on  Insulating paints working or not, and must agree with your comments on ceramic paints, however there are other additives used to create thermal performance, we use plant fibres in our Insulpaint A500, and have been doing so for the last 22 years. Insulpaint is a coating which won the 1988 goverment award, for energy inovation and unlike the coatings in your article, does not lose thermal performance over time, if you care to visit our web site, and in particular the video section, which clearly shows the Infra Red camera recording, showing real time, substantial temperature reductions.

The RAAF building towards the end of the video section, will probably interest you, summer temperatures were very comfortable after painting, and in winter the heating requirements, went from 6 gas bottles a week to 2 on an uninsulated 1000 M2 shed. We have many happy Insulpaint clients all over the world, and endless validated reports, which confirm the performance of Insulpaint A500,on thousands of private and commercial buildings, we look forward to your comments on Insulpaint, and would be very happy to supply you any information, you may need, look forwaed to hearing from you. Attached A500 information.  

Regards
Gerrard Twomey
Managing Director

More feedback on this article.

RE: Do Insulating Paint Additives Work? Here is The Scoop On Whether Insulating Paints Work Or Not.

The author of this article appears to have glossed over other written articles on the internet which makes him an armchair critic at most.  By informing his readers this is "The Scoop on whether insulating paints work or not" is very misleading because he has only identified a couple of examples and has really only touched the surface.  How does he know if these examples are the leading sellers?  How many has he actually researched?

Articles such as this although intended to be helpful do not go far enough to inform the reader that there are indeed excellent ceramic insulation coatings which do have the required testing and certifications.  Painting the entire industry with the same brush is irresponsible and extremely short sighted.  Obviously the ceramic technology exists, a longer period of time than NASA has existed.  It is the use of certain ceramics to control heat transfer that has led to the development of such products.  Using the right ceramics out of literally hundreds is what separates the impostors from those that have invested heavily in R&D.

Regarding Insulpaint;

"Insulpaint is a coating which won the 1988 goverment award, for energy inovation "

The posted note from Insulpaint failed to either deliberately or otherwise inform all that they are in Australia.  Perhaps this is the "government award" he is talking about??  This has absolutely no bearing on the North American markets.  More importantly this product and the ones you mention in this article MUST have the ASTM certifications and 3rd party testing to PROVE their claims otherwise you are wasting your time and money.  The glossy testimonials and home grown testing are not acceptable.  By the way, the correct spelling is government and innovation.

SD Lawson

Reply From: Andy Patterson

In my article I list a link to an accredited university study that debunks the energy saving claims of one brand of ceramic "insulating paint". In that study the product failed to live up to the manufacturers claims of such grandiose energy savings. The question is not whether ceramic applied as a heat shied has any effectiveness at all, but whether it is worth plunking down your hard earned money for a stir in additive that may not be all that it is advertised to be.  I maintain that these products do not work to the extent they are advertised so buyer beware. Since I wrote the article I felt obliged to try it myself instead of basing my views on a university study. I plunked down my twelve bucks, got the product in the mail, and painted a four square foot swath with one of the leading "insulating paints" inspired by NASA and a four foot swath next to it the same off white color without the additive. Using a spot infrared thermometer there was less than a one degree Fahrenheit difference at an outside temperature of 95 degrees in full sun. I don't see how 40% energy savings on the whole home could result from that so I firmly stand behind my article.

Cheers.

    

 

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Cheers.

    

 

               Helpful Links: Savegreenly.com Eco Friendly Home Improvement    Financial Crisis Headlines    What is The Marcellus Shale     eHelpfulTips Main Page

Thank you for visiting our site! Copyright eHelpfultips.com No use of any material on this website is allowed without permission.  

Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of  eHelpfultips.com's  Terms of Use   Disclaimer: eHelpfultips.com assumes no liability for the use or misuse of any tips or advice found on this site. Information is for entertainment use only and should not be considered professional advice. Use any suggestions, advice, conversion calculators, etc. at your own risk.  Contact  Privacy Policy: We value your privacy. This site collects no information at all other than the cookies used by advertising networks Adsense, Amazon Associates and eBay. We save your e-mail address only for use in contacting you if you submit an article and do not sell or otherwise divulge your e-mail address to anyone.