How Much Insulation Do You Need in Your Attic?

The Department of Energy (DOE) has some clear recommendations for how much attic insulation your home needs depending on where you live. Learn more about what type and how much insulation you need.

How Much Insulation Do You Need in Your Attic?

When it comes to insulating your attic, the Department of Energy (DOE) has some clear recommendations. For homes in the Southern United States, the DOE recommends a minimum of 13-14 inches of insulation, or R-38. For homes in the Northern United States, the DOE recommends 16-18 inches of insulation, or R-49. If your home doesn't meet these standards, you may want to consider adding more insulation. The R value is a measure of the insulation's ability to resist heat flow. The higher the R value, the better the thermal performance of the insulation.

Generally, Energy Star recommends 10-14 inches of insulation for most attics. However, recently the DOE increased its insulation recommendation for attics to an R-value of 60, which in most attics means that a minimum of 19 inches of fiberglass block insulation or 22 inches of blown insulation is needed. When it comes to how thick insulation should be, there's no one-size-fits-all answer. A number of factors influence the amount of insulation an attic needs.

Valley Insulation professionals can help you determine how much additional insulation is needed and what type of insulation best fits your needs and budget. It's important to leave a section of the attic uninsulated and add insulation only to areas that will not be used for storage. No matter what type of insulation you currently have in your attic, a quick way to determine if you need more is to look at the length of the entire attic. If you can see the wooden beams (the beams are on the ceiling) on the attic floor, it means you don't have enough insulation.

By adding additional insulation, you don't have to use the same type of insulation that currently exists in your attic. It is important that the insulation is evenly distributed without low spots; sometimes there is enough insulation in the center of the attic and very little along the eaves. Valley Insulation uses a cellulose insulator called Nu-Wool, a high-quality insulator known for its fireproof and anti-pest capacity. The Department of Energy recommends that attics in Cincinnati area homes be insulated with an R value of 38 to 60.

This step is more complicated and will require some carpentry, but it's especially recommended if you used blown insulation in the attic for the project. This is a quick checklist to clear up any confusion about how much attic insulation your home needs:

  • For Southern homes: 13-14 inches or R-38
  • For Northern homes: 16-18 inches or R-49
  • For most attics: 10-14 inches or R-38
  • For attics with blown insulation: 19 inches of fiberglass block or 22 inches of blown insulation
By following these guidelines and consulting with a professional from Valley Insulation, you can ensure that your attic is properly insulated and your home is as energy efficient as possible.