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How Much Insulation Do You Need in Your Attic?


With the ever-increasing electricity bills and constantly changing SoCal temperatures, running the thermostat up isn’t the best idea. But wearing layers of hoodies is far from comfortable. So, is there any way to keep your house energy-efficient while also being warm in the winter and chilly in the summer?

The answer is simple. If your house has adequate attic insulation thickness, you’ll ensure that it stays at an optimal temperature without the electricity bills skyrocketing. But how much insulation do you need in your attic? And how thick should it be?

That’s exactly what we’ll focus on in this article. From recommended R-values to over-insulating, we’ll help you determine if you need to call up a few friends and install some new insulation. But before all that, let’s actually find out how much attic insulation your house truly needs.

How Much Attic Insulation Should You Install?

A general rule we’ve come up with is that your attic insulation must look like one big, homogenous pillow. Simply put, it has to be high enough to cover the joists and equally spread out to ensure that the entirety of your attic has adequate insulation.

As for the exact numbers, it’s suggested that you install 10-14 inches of insulation. But, as we’ll explain below, this depends heavily on the type of attic insulation.

Another factor you’ll need to consider is how old your house is. Or, rather, when you last installed insulation. We’ve noticed that houses from even 10 years ago don’t have adequate attic insulation.

How Thick Should Attic Insulation Be?

When it comes to the attic insulation thickness, it comes down to 2 major factors: where you live and what attic insulation you have. Starting with the former, as you can understand, places like SoCal don’t require as thick insulation as Alaska. But, when compared to South Florida, SoCal’s insulation has to be somewhat thicker.

Now, regarding your attic insulation type, you should learn what material is used. For example, fiberglass is generally less thick than spray foam, thus requiring more volume to have the same effects. To explain this, we’ll have to take a quick look at R-values.

What Is the Recommended R-Value for an Attic

R-values are a way to measure heat resistance. Simply put, the higher the R-value, the harder it is for heat to pass through. In turn, this keeps your house warm in the winter and chilly in the summer as heat travels from warm to cold.

The R-value for an attic ranges from R30 to R60, depending on your location. In SoCal, the recommended R-value is between R30 and R38. As we go toward the north, the minimum R-value goes up to R49, which is also the maximum for areas like San Antonio, Texas.

Signs Your House Lacks Attic Insulation

So, you know how much insulation your attic needs, but how can you tell if your attic lacks insulation? Well, it’s actually pretty simple.

  • Fluctuating Temperatures (and electricity bill prices): If you notice that some areas of your house are extremely cold during the winter, there’s a high chance that there’s not enough insulation right above them. Plus, if the electricity bill is hefty during these cold months, chances are that you’ll need some more attic insulation.
  • Rodent Infestations: If animals get in your attic, there’s probably not enough of it to prevent them from doing so.

Can Excessive Attic Insulation Cause Problems

Funnily enough, we’ll get the occasional call asking if an attic has too much insulation. Is that even a thing? Yes, yes, it is. And it can cause some major issues.

For one, removing old attic insulation will become a burden, whether you choose to do it the DIY way or call us up. Also, too much insulation doesn’t promote good ventilation, and, in turn, moisture gets trapped, causing mold and mildew to grow.

Installing Your Attic Insulation the Green Way

Knowing how much insulation your attic needs is a must if you end up going the DIY way for its installation. However, if you’re in SoCal and are looking for a professional to take care of it, look no further than us!

At Green Rodent Restoration, we’ll clean up your attic from old insulation and install the required attic insulation thickness so that you won’t have to splurge money on electricity bills. Plus, if you’ve got any rodents hanging around, we’ll get rid of them; the green way!

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