What Should Your Attic Temperature Be in the Winter?

Many homeowners do not think about their attic as much as they should. An attic is an integral part of any home, even when it is only used for storage. 

For instance, an attic space that is much too cold during winter can drive heating bills up for the entire house. So what average temperature range should you aim for?

Since your attic’s temperature can affect your power bill, it should be slightly lower than the outdoor temperature. If it is not, there are several things you can do to lower it, like installing proper insulation and sealing cracks.

This article will share important information about why it’s essential to keep your attic at an ideal temperature and how to do so.

Should an Attic Be the Same Temperature as Outside?

attic temperature outside

Keeping your attic at an ideal temperature during the coldest months of the year is not always easy to achieve, but you can do it. Your attic is one of the parts of your house most affected by the cold and heat.

Assuming that you use your attic simply to store items away, your attic should be about 10°F warmer than the outside. On the other hand, if you have turned your attic into a living area, then it should be just as warm as every other room in the house.

If you reside in a particularly cold climate, you probably get a lot of snow on your roof, making it even harder to maintain adequate attic temperature control. 

Additionally, if your attic insulation is inadequate, the heat being generated downstairs to keep your loved ones warm will escape more readily and drive up heating costs.

But that’s not all. Having to produce more heat to keep the house warm not only costs more but also puts more stress on your HVAC system. This can lead to the system breaking down more often or cause it to stop working altogether, requiring maintenance or replacement.

Are Attics Supposed to be Cold?

attic in the winter

Whether attics are supposed to be cold or not depends on their use. Attics that are rarely used or only used as storage space can have larger differences in temperature. But areas used daily should be at whatever temperature is most comfortable for you.

Some attics get colder than others because of where they are located and how much cold air enters through vents and otherwise.

Poor ventilation can significantly affect how hot or cold your attic gets. If you feel that your attic is much too hot or cold, you can check on your roof vents and other attic ventilation. Make sure to do this safely to avoid falling from the roof.

Roof Vents

Your roof should have vents for airflow. You can check on these vents to see if gaps are letting in more air than they should. 

If you find gaps, caulk them up with weather stripping or even duct tape for the time being. Sealing up areas like this around your roof and attic is very important to keep the air temperature under control.

Poor Insulation

Attic insulation is critical when it comes to how cold your attic gets in the winter months, and it also affects the rest of your home. Heating and cooling costs can skyrocket when a home has poor attic insulation. 

In addition to making your attic colder than it should be, poor insulation can lead to other problems, such as excess moisture causing mold growth and rotting wood.

Insulating Your Attic

man insulating attic

If your attic temperature is much too cold in the winter, one of the best things that you can do to address the issue is to install more insulation. This is a tedious and often expensive task, but it should pay for itself in the end.

Taking on this project yourself is not easy. But if you are an experienced DIYer, you can get it done. You can also enlist some help, although that will be more expensive.

Follow these steps to properly insulate your attic and better control the temperature:

Use Protective Gear

Insulation contains fibers that can be hazardous, so you should wear protective gear. Put on gloves, jeans, and a long-sleeved shirt. You might even want to use a respirator to avoid breathing in fiberglass fibers.

Remove the Old Insulation

You could just layer fiberglass insulation over what is already there, but it is better to remove the old insulation altogether. 

Once that is done, check for cracks and gaps that could be letting air in or out. If you find any, seal them.

At this point, you should also check the roof and seal any cracks you find.

Install the New Insulation

installing new insulation

Now it is time to put the insulation in place. Start from the back of the attic and make your way toward the front as you install the insulation to avoid stepping on it.

Why Is My Attic So Hot in the Winter?

Some homeowners find that instead of being too cold, their attics are much too hot on cold winter days. If this is the issue you are facing, the cause could be due to poor insulation or ventilation.

Make sure that your attic is adequately insulated. If it is not, follow the steps above to add insulation.

Your attic should have vents. Ensure that these are not blocked. If that does not solve the issue, you might want to hire a professional to check them out. 

You can also install an attic fan to add even more ventilation and bring the excess heat down to an acceptable level.


The temperature in your attic should not be as cold or hot as it is outside. Instead, it should either be within about 10°F of the outside or should match the rest of the house. Always ensure proper ventilation and insulation to keep energy costs down.