What is a Reasonable Temperature for a House in Winter?

ResidentialCalendarNovember 26, 2018

When cold winter air sets in, it might not only usher in the holiday season. It could also unleash thermostat battles. Everybody in the house wants to stay warm, but keeping the temperature reasonable to save energy is important, too. Let us be the neutral third party bringing harmony to your home by answering the question, “What is a reasonable temperature for a house in winter?”

Some like it hot, some like it cold. Most can’t keep their hands off the thermostat. Although there is no hard and fast rule for what heating and cooling temperature works best for everyone, there are some general ranges that make the most sense. Keeping the thermostat within these temperatures, along with a few other ideas for staying warm in winter, is the best way to please just about everyone. 

What is a Reasonable Temperature For a House in Winter?

When people are in the house during the day or evening, keeping the thermostat at 68 degrees F is a good temperature. For some, this may seem like common sense, while for others it may seem like an unachievable goal. A good starting point for the latter is to set the thermostat to 72 degrees F, and then slowly reduce this by one degree every week until reaching 68. 

While it might be hard to go from 72 degrees to 68 degrees cold turkey (pun intended), gradually adjusting by a single degree every week will help your body slowly adjust to the air. You’ll be happy to find that balance between heating the house, and energy savings. 

During the day, when everyone heads out for school or work, set the thermostat to 56 degrees. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, this simple tactic can reduce your energy bill by 5 percent to 15 percent per year. The savings could add up to 1 percent per degree that you reduce it for eight hours.1

Good House Temperature for Out-of-Town or a Winter Night

Even better, if you go out of town on vacation, make sure to set the heating to 56 degrees before you leave. You don’t want to turn the heat off completely or much lower than 56. The air in the house might be so cold it could cause the water pipes to freeze and burst, which would interfere with your strategy to save money. 

Make turning the thermostat down from 68 degrees to 62 degrees part of your evening routine just before heading to bed. People actually tend to sleep better when the air is cool but still comfortable. If you feel too chilly, wear soft, thick socks (if you’re a socks-on kind of sleeper) and sweatshirts, and cozy up under extra blankets and comforters. 

Tips for Easy House Temperature Modulation 

While you can simply make adjusting the house temperature part of your routine, some thermostats are programmable. By setting it to increase or decrease at specific times of the day, it takes one more thing off your plate by automating your desired behavior. 

Smart thermostats are even better. They can monitor the air temperature and adjust to your pre-set temperature preferences. Some, such as the Vivint Element Thermostat, can even be accessed from your smartphone so you can monitor and adjust your home climate remotely. This intuitive tool alone can add up to 12 percent on energy savings.2

Other Ways to Stay Comfortable at Home in Winter Temperatures

As mentioned above, for bedtime, the simplest way to keep warm in winter without giving up comfort is to dress for the season. It’s cozy anyway, so why not indulge in a soft sweater and a pair of warm socks? Especially at night.

Another idea is to use an electric space heater to heat the room you’re in. This is only energy efficient if you turn it off when you leave the room. Blasting it all day, even if you’re not enjoying it, won’t save you much energy or money. Never sleep with a space heater on, either, just to be safe. 

Some other practical tips to help save energy are fairly common sense, but can be easy to overlook.  

  • Seal windows
  • Weatherstrip exterior doors
  • Use blankets at the base of doors where drafts can sneak in
  • Close doors to rooms you’re not using
  • Make sure there's no furniture in front of air vents3

Here are some basic home maintenance rules that increase energy efficiency and keep the heat in and the cold out.

  • Insulate the interior of your attic and basement
  • Change your furnace air filter regularly
  • Keep your HVAC system maintained4

Though it might not feel like summer, with these tips and temperature guidelines, you’ll be able to find an ideal balance between keeping your comfort levels high and your electric bills low. 

 

Endnotes

1 https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/articles/program-your-thermostat-fall-and-winter-savings
2 https://www.vivint.com/products/element
3 https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/fall-and-winter-energy-saving-tips
4 https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/fall-and-winter-energy-saving-tips

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