What R Value do I Need for My Attic?
With below zero wind-chills and snow already on ground, you don’t have to be a member of House Stark from HBO’s “Game of Thrones” to know that “Winter is Coming”. If you’ve lived in Wisconsin for any length of time, you know that winter usually gets a lot worse before it gets better.
For many of us, this means staying indoors and staying warm. But without proper attic insulation, your heating bill can go through the roof just as quickly as the heat inside your home escapes through it. With the right attic insulation, you can prevent your home from losing heat and keep moisture and mold out of your attic. It’ll also make your home a cozier place to be during the frigid winter months.
So how do you find the best attic insulation for your home? To answer that, you need to consider the R-value of your insulation and the location of your home.
What is R-Value? According to Energy.gov, insulating material is measured by the thermal resistance to heat flow and is assigned an R-value. The higher the R-Value, the more effective the insulation material is. Generally, R-Value (the thermal resistance) depends on the type of insulation, its thickness, and its density. But there are other factors that can also affect R-Value such as the age of the material, moisture accumulation, how the material is installed, and whether it covers a wall or ceiling.
What R Value do I need? In the midwest region of the United States, the U.S. Department of Energy states that the best attic insulation has a rating between R49 and R60. For most homes in the southeastern Wisconsin area, R49 rated insulation is enough to keep homes properly insulated, as it’s 16.5″ thick. We also recommend installing insulation around the attic hatch in the ceiling of your closet or hallway if your home has one, as this further prevents any heat loss from occurring.
Does it mean you need more insulation just because your house is cold? An easy test is to look at your roof. If the snow on your roof is melting faster than the snow on the ground, this is a sign that heat from your house may be escaping into your attic and warming up your roof instead of warming up your living areas. To be certain of what’s going on, get a professional assessment of your situation.