Common Myths About Radiant Barrier – Cell Phone Signals

Myth: If I install a radiant barrier on my roof my cell phone won’t get reception in my home because the aluminum blocks the radio waves.

Radio waves and cell phones.
Cell phones use radio waves to transmit signals, including the ones that allow us to make phone calls, send text messages and stream the web. Radio waves control more than just phone signals; they control the signals for TV, cordless phones, garage door openers, microwaves and even your wireless routers.

What materials block radio waves?
There are several materials that have virtually no effect on radio waves. Those materials include plastic, glass and wood. On the other hand, there are materials that will block radio waves, many of them being metallic in nature. Aluminum is one of those materials known to block radio waves.

Cell phones and Radiant Barrier Foil
Cell phones and Radiant Barrier Foil

Aluminum and Cell Phones

The thickness and the amount of the aluminum being used (surface area) can determine whether or not it will completely block radio waves to/from your cell phone. Consider certain buildings where your cell phone doesn’t work, this could include hospitals, research facilities and government buildings. Typically these buildings are forged with thick, metallic frames and walls, making signal transmission in and out of the building difficult without specific technology.

A different example is your car. You most likely have no problems transmitting signals to/from your cell phone while in your car (though the occasional dropped call can happen, this has nothing to do with the car’s metallic exterior). Your car, unlike a building, has a much thinner metallic structure and it contains about 40% glass, making transmissions easier.

Green Energy Barriers and Cell Phones

Radiant barrier, also referred to as a green energy barrier, like the car example, is a thin layer and is only covering the roof of your home (generally around 20-35% of your total surface area). Your home still has four walls that radio waves can travel seamlessly through to provide a signal for your cell phone. Both the thickness and the amount of foil being used make it unlikely that it will have any impact on your cell phone. Additionally, many new phones are equipped to handle commonplace interferences because they are made with stronger antennas. The only cases where we’ve heard of signal transmission problems arising are where the cell phone or particular area had a weak signal to start with, beyond that there have been no reported issues.

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Comments 4 comments

top-bannana profile image

top-bannana 5 years ago from England

very interesting hub. Did not know Aluminium could block out radio waves

Better Yourself profile image

Better Yourself 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks! Yep, the trick is how much aluminum does it take to block a signal altogether. Sounds like a lot.

Harris 4 years ago

My experience is that it DOES impact reception - my cell doesn't work until I walk outside my new home that has radiant barrier insulation, and my FM radio doesn't pick anything up INSIDE ONLY.

Better Yourself profile image

Better Yourself 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Harris, Sorry to hear you have trouble with your reception. It's possible there are other factors involved like how strong the signal in that area is to begin with.

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