what is a reasonable temperature for a house in winter

Save Money, Stay Comfortable: Winter Thermostat Settings

We all want to be comfortable in our homes, but heating throughout the cold winter months can get expensive. Luckily, you can make simple adjustments with your thermostat that can save you money, without sacrificing comfort. We’re breaking down the best tips for winter thermostat settings below.

Daily Temperature During Winter

The household thermostat debate usually revolves around what temperature is reasonable for a house in winter. While there’s not exactly one answer, because every person’s comfort level is different, Energy.gov recommends 68 degrees as the ideal thermostat temperature for winter.

However, for every degree lower you set your thermostat, you could save between 1-3% of your heating costs. So, if you’re comfortable at a lower temperature, go for it!

But no matter what temperature you find comfortable during the day, you should adjust the temperature while sleeping or while you are not home to save money.

Temperature For Sleeping

Lowering the thermostat at night could help you sleep better and save you money!

Most people sleep comfortably at a few degrees lower than the daytime temperature. This is because near the end of the day, our body temperature starts to drop as we get ready for sleep. Cooling the house will help your body cool down and fall asleep soundly. Sleep.org reports that the bedroom temperature should be between 60 and 67 degrees for optimal sleep.

Temperature When You’re Away

One of the easiest ways to save money on heating is to lower the temperature when you are not home, either simply gone for work during the day or off on vacation.

When you’re not home, you should set your thermostat between 60 and 65 degrees. Things to consider are plants, animals, house safety, and outside weather conditions.

If you have houseplants, the ideal temperature is usually between 60 and 75 degrees. While one afternoon at 50 degrees probably won’t harm plants, a week long vacation with your house below 60 could kill them.

If you have pets, consider their needs as well. Dogs and cats are usually most comfortable above 64 degrees.

Lastly, keep house safety in mind. The most common concern for homeowners is frozen pipes. If the weather is going to be below freezing while you are away, you should not set the house temperature below 55 degrees.

Choosing a Thermostat

While any thermostat can be adjusted daily to help you save money, programmable and “smart” thermostats can help you automate the process so you maximize savings.

Programmable thermostats allow you to set a schedule of temperatures based on the time of day and day of the week. You can always do a temporary override if your schedule changes.

But the new generation of “smart” thermostats go a step further. Not only can you program them, they also can be controlled remotely and have automatic features that can help you manage your thermostat temperature throughout the winter.

For example, some use motion detection to sense when you are away and will stop heating the house. They have an adjustable minimum threshold, however, so your home does not get too cold.

If your thermostat needs upgrading, investing in a “smart” thermostat could be a good idea. Not to mention, some utility companies offer rebates for qualified thermostats.

Is Adjusting the Temperature Bad for My Furnace?

Some people have heard that adjusting the temperature up and down uses more heat, is harder on your furnace, and is more expensive. But that’s just not true.

The simple truth is that the higher the temperature inside compared to the temperature outside, the more expensive heating will be. Lowering the inside temperature, even temporarily, saves money. You should lower the temperature every chance you get.

So, What Temperature Should I Set My Thermostat in Winter?

Long story short, whatever is most comfortable. But here are rules of thumb:

  • When you’re home: 68 degrees
  • When you’re sleeping: 60-67 degrees
  • When you’re away: 60-65 degrees

Now go program your thermostat and start saving some money!

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