Start in the attic to keep your home and energy budget cool


(BPT) - Is your home ready for what may be another historically warm summer season? According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2023 was the planet’s warmest year on record and there is a one-in-three chance that 2024 will be warmer than 2023.1

As hot temperatures can place a strain on indoor comfort as well as HVAC equipment and energy bills, now is a good time to make sure that your home is ready for the summer cooling season. Getting your home’s air conditioning equipment inspected and serviced is a good first step. A technician should check not only the equipment components of your home’s cooling system (condenser, thermostat, etc.), but also specific areas in your home that can affect indoor comfort and energy bills. The attic is an area where insufficient levels of insulation can allow temperatures to soar. Hot attic air can infiltrate other parts of the home, causing HVAC equipment to cycle on and off more frequently and increasing energy usage.

Why manage attic temps

A properly sealed attic with sufficient levels of attic insulation can help keep temperatures cooler throughout the home. Just as insulation reduces heat loss in the winter, it impedes the transfer of heat from your attic to inside your home in summer.

Because the attic is typically shut off from other parts of the house, homeowners sometimes ask why they should be concerned about this area. Simply stated, air in the attic doesn’t necessarily stay in the attic. Warmer air will always seek to move toward cooler spaces. Thus, in the summer, soaring temperatures in the attic will drive air toward cooler indoor areas. Having a well-insulated attic can help reduce this heat transfer.

Moisture is yet another consideration. As moisture builds up in attics, conditions can be favorable for mold growth, wood rot and structural damage, threatening both comfort and safety. Attic insulation can also help guard against the threats posed by moisture.

How much insulation is sufficient for a home’s attic space? Every home is unique, but EnergyStar recommends the following guidelines. For homes in the South, a minimum of 13 inches of attic insulation should be installed. In colder climate zones, Energy Star recommends installing a minimum of 18 inches of insulation.2 Even though these minimums are recommended by EnergyStar, it has been estimated that 90% of homes across the U.S. are under-insulated.3

Budget is always important when it comes to home improvements and the payback period should be considered. According to EnergyStar, done right, a properly sealed and insulated attic may save you up to $200 annually.3

Beyond materials – consulting an AirCare® expert

Achieving comfort and energy efficiency requires more than materials. A qualified HVAC technician should bring a “whole home” approach to caring for a home’s air. He or she should evaluate the attic to assess the amount of insulation currently installed and the potential opportunity to conserve energy by insulating the attic to a specified thickness. Contractors designated as AirCare® Professionals are trained by Owens Corning and equipped with tools to assess attic insulation and recommend specific solutions to help target a desired level of energy efficiency.

Beyond insulation, other factors in the attic can also contribute to comfort and energy issues. Over time, holes or poor connections in attic ductwork can allow particulates in attic air to make their way into the living area. Compromised attic ductwork can also provide a pathway for conditioned air to escape into other parts of the home. Signs of ductwork issues may include excess dust in the living areas of the home, or musty and unusual odors (think attic smell) in other areas.

Consulting a professional, such as an AirCare® Professional, can help ensure that ductwork is properly sealed and that the attic is optimized to support comfort and energy efficiency. He or she will evaluate the system for loose connections and evaluate the ductwork to ensure components are properly sealed. To find an AirCare® professional, visit the online locator at HVAC Contractor Locator | Insulation | Owens Corning.

1 2023 was the world’s warmest year on record, by far | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (

2 Insulation Institute. (2016) Study: Boosting Home Insulation Can Cut Electricity, Fuel, Use, Reduce Pollution

3 Cool Off by Sealing and Insulating and Chill Out with ENERGY STAR - YouTube (