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ALUMINUM FOIL USED TO WRAP POTATOES ACTS AS A RADIANT BARRIER

 

Foil used to keep a potato warm longer is another example of a radiant barrier

Foil used to keep a potato warm longer is another example of a radiant barrier

Ever wonder why you wrap a piece of aluminum foil around your potato?  Some people just do it automatically because that is what mom or dad did.  We just know we end up with a hot and moist potato.  The concept of wrapping a potato in aluminum foil is a great way to understand how Radiant Barriers work in the home to keep more heat in the home during winter or cold weather.

WHAT IS A RADIANT BARRIER?

According to the U.S. Department of Energy “Radiant barriers are installed in homes — usually in attics — primarily to reduce summer heat gain and reduce cooling costs. The barriers consist of a highly reflective material that reflects radiant heat rather than absorbing it.”

According toExplainThisStuff.comheat flows towards cold things and never the other way around (2nd Law of Thermodynamics).

Radiant Barriers block 90 -97% of radiant heat that strikes it surface.  In the oven heat is coming from outside the potato.  You may then ask  “how does the foil act as a radiant barrier”?

THE POTATO – RADIANT BARRIERS KEEP THE HEAT IN!

Do you ever think about why we wrap a potato in foil?  Think of a dry potato vs a moist potato  A cold potato vs a hot potato.  We think everyone would prefer a moist and hot potato.  When a potato is wrapped in foil (radiant barrier) it keeps more moisture inside the potato because the foil blocks the heat – in the form of moisture – from leaving the potato while it’s cooking and it keeps it the heat in the potato after it comes out of the oven.

Remember the last time you unwrapped a potato?  Remember the burst of steam that came out as you unwrapped it?  That comes from the moisture that has been held inside the potato with the assistance of the foil (radiant barrier).

Once taken out of the oven the heat from inside the potato will immediately seek the cold outside of the potato – 2nd Law of Thermodynamics as described above.  When the heat from inside the potato is trying to flow to the cold – outside of the potato – the reflective nature of foil sends it inward which is why it keeps the potato hot longer.

RADIANT BARRIERS IN THE HOME

Radiant Barrier - Keep the Heat InReflective Insulation compliments and makes traditional insulation more effective.  Reflective insulation which includes a radiant barrier in the form of a thin layer of foil with perforations (to let a small amount of moisture out) attached to an insulative material when installed in an attic reflects 94-97% of radiant heat back into the home or building the same way the foil wrapped potato reflects heat inward as described above.  The majority of radiant heat generated from inside the home comes from heating equipment.  Keeping the heat inside the home keeps it warm longer and means the heating equipment needs to run less!

Have you always put foil around your baked potatoes?  Why?  Tell us in the comments section below.

About the Company

Footer-BBBSmart Energy Today, Inc.™ has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.  The company provides home improvement and maintenance services and products including reflective insulation which includes a radiant barrier called Sol-Blanket SETI Logo 150 Pixel TestInsulation™.  Smart Energy Today, Inc.™ seeks to increase comfort while at the same time reducing consumption and lowering costs.