With so many subdivisions spread out all over the Houston area, cell providers are having a difficult time keeping up with demand. There are a few providers that are notorious for having poor signal service when the customer is in his/her own home.
There are several explanations of the poor reception, depending on who's talking. The cell phone companies say it’s the radiant barriers in attics that cause the problem. Radiant barriers are installed in order to keep cooling costs down in the summer by reflecting radiant heat instead of absorbing it. The home builders say that a subdivision may not close enough to a cell tower to get a good signal.
Blogger Martin Holladay, “The Energy Nerd” with greenbuildingadvisor.com, is an expert in all things that conserve energy in and around homes. He took this problem and interviewed cell phone companies, radiant barrier manufacturers, radiant barrier installers and David Yarborough, “…one of the most respected insulation experts in the country.” So what is the bottom line here?
Holladay reports that radiant barriers may affect cell phone signals in a minor way, but the signal may appear to be worse if a cell tower is too far away. Some areas get double-punched because not only do the homes have radiant barriers, they’re also moderately far away from most towers that provide cell phone companies’ signals for their users.
Is there any hope for a stronger signal? Fortunately, there are solutions called cellular signal boosters (also called repeaters). This device basically amps up the cellular signal that's being received and makes it stronger. Fortunately, several of the cell carriers in some areas do provide cell signal boosters FOR FREE, AT&T being among them.
If a carrier doesn’t provide free boosters, they most likely sell them. Most cellular companies have their own version of the booster. If all else fails, then do an Amazon.com search. They offer all kinds of boosters in many price ranges. Expect to spend anywhere from $200 – $400, depending on how many square feet you want to cover.