Published on December 6th, 2014 | by Peter Young


How To Measure Your Attic’s Temperature and Assess Insulation Needs


Keeping your home properly insulated can a long way when it comes to ensuring that it’s using energy efficiently, but did you ever stop to think about your attic temperature and insulation? Odds are it may be the last thing you think of when it comes to home energy usage, but you’d be surprised at how much it can help. Just follow these easy steps to measure your attic’s temperature and see if your home is using energy efficiently:

Things you’ll need for the job:

  • Infrared Thermometer

How to measure your attic’s temperature

Before proceeding, check out this quick video to see just how easy it is to use an infrared thermometer:

 1. Determine at least three locations in the attic where you’d like to test the temperature. It’s very possible that the insulation in your attic may not be evenly distributed throughout (especially if you live in an older construction home). Because of this, it’s ideal to measure the temperature in at least three locations. We would recommend the entrance to your attic, the middle and the far wall from the entrance. However, if you have an exhaust vents or other such pipes running through your attic we would recommend measuring the temperature where those vents/lines enter and exit the attic as well.

2. Turn on your infrared thermometer and aim it at your first location. Be sure to aim the thermometer at multiple spots around the location your trying to measure, this will help you find any drafts or air leaks and will give you a better idea of the temperature in that part of the attic.

3. Repeat step #2 for all the locations you’ve selected. Now that you’ve determined the temperature in your first location, repeat step #2 for all the locations you’re going to measure. As you’re doing this it’s a good idea to write down the various temperature readings, you’ll want to take an average of all your readings to get an idea of where your home’s attic temperature is relative to the recommendations set out by the Department of Energy.

4. Compare your results to the recommended temperatures for attic spaces. Now that you’ve taken all of your attics temperature readings, find the average (by adding all the temperatures together and then dividing by the number of readings) and compare it to the recommended temp. Are you running cold or hot? The Department of Energy suggests the following temperatures for your attic:

  • 68 Degrees Fahrenheit (for cold climates)
  • No more than 10-20 Degrees Fahrenheit hotter than the outside air temperature (for hot climates)

If you’ve found that your attics temperatures don’t fall in line with the ones specified above, contact a local professional to come in and have your attic’s insulation updated or have a attic fan installed for better ventilation.

Looking for more ways to ensure that your home is using energy efficiently? Be sure to check out our green home improvement projects: Green Living Ideas, after all, is a top 20 home improvement website!

Photos courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons (Attic Space)

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About the Author

graduated from Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) with a degree in journalism and has made sustainability and eco-conscious living mainstays of both his professional and personal life. It was during his time at PLU that he began his journey with sustainability and it's what has led him to writing for Green Living Ideas. He currently resides in Honolulu and works for Pono Home, an energy efficiency company focused on reducing carbon emissions and promoting a healthier, greener lifestyle.

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