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The Ideal Thermostat Setting For Winter, According To Experts

house temperature

There’s no temperature on your thermostat that is perfect for any one person all of the time, let alone everyone all of the time. For a lot of us “Chief Household Officers” and bill payers, determining the optimal indoor temperature comes down to finding the right balance of the cost of heating your home and the number of complaints you hear about the temperature!

While we all have our own preferences for indoor temperatures during the winter, the consensus across most sources is that 68° is more or less ideal. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should set your thermostat to 68° in October and leave it there until April!

Here are 5 factors worth considering when you’re deciding where to set your thermostat when it’s cold out.

5 Factors To Consider When Setting Your Thermostat For Winter

house temperature

1. Home Insulation

Warm air goes a lot further in a home that’s well insulated and built to hold heat. If you’re confident in your home’s insulation, feel free to drop the temp a little overnight, knowing you can quickly warm your home back up in the morning.

Modern thermostats have automated settings and timers that make the whole process extremely simple, or you can look into smart thermostats that learn from you and can adjust themselves.

If you live in an older home that’s more drafty, you’re better off picking a temperature and sticking with it (or you could try this hack to better insulate drafty windows).

house temperature

2. Thermostat Location

Where is your thermostat located within your home? If it’s in a warm kitchen, in the path of direct sunlight, above a heating vent, or near a door where temperatures are constantly fluctuating, it’s important to factor those things into your mental equation when setting it.

house temperature

3. Flooring Type

If you’ve ever gotten out of a cozy bed and put your feet down on ice cold hardwood or tile, then you already know how your flooring can impact your heating needs. Hardwood and tile take significantly longer to warm up than the air does, so you may want to avoid turning down your thermostat at night—or at least invest in a good pair of slippers!

house temperature

4. Travel Plans

If you’re leaving the house for an extended period of time, it’s best to turn off your heat/cooling system unless the temperature is supposed to dip below freezing or you have pets. If freezing temperatures are a possibility, avoid the expensive catastrophe of burst water pipes by making sure your home stays warmer than 32º.

Pets should be fine as long as the temperature stays above 60º, but it’s best to consult your veterinarian to learn more about his or her specific needs (in addition to ensuring you have someone stopping by regularly to take care of your pet, of course!)

house temperature

5. Indoor Plants

Most plants prefer indoor temperatures between 60° and 75°, so be sure to set your thermostat somewhere in that range if you want to keep them alive and well. To avoid unnecessary casualties, do some research on your particular plant varieties to find out what temperatures they’re most likely to thrive in.

What’s your ideal indoor temperature?

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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  • Re:Thermostat location. When we had our dual fuel heat pump installed a few years ago, the tech informed us that the thermostat was located in a bad spot, with that spot being just 18″ above the main air return, which means whenever the unit was running, the cold air was being drawn directly over the thermostat. I asked what could be done, and he recommended a Honeywell Vision Pro thermostat that has wireless thermostats available that can be located virtually anywhere in your home. What this means is that the poorly located main thermostat is now mostly just the control panel and display for setting, but the wireless remote thermostat, which we have located on a table in the family room, is now where the actual temperature is detected and controlled from. It definitely made a difference in the run time of the heat pump.

  • Vests! A few years ago my husband got a couple of vests and then urged me to get some. I did – and now wear almost every day for many months of the year. They are lighter and less restricting than a heavy sweater or fleece jacket and easy to take off and put on again. But still provide enough warmth to be comfortable keeping the thermostat at 64-68 degrees in the fall/winter. Plus – POCKETS!!!

  • Another tip, set the temp lower by 5-10 degrees when you’ll be away for 4 hours or more and when you’re sleeping. This saves you heating fuel and money and, of course, reduces your emissions.

    Also, house plants may do best in 60-75F but they can handle _much_ lower for long periods.

  • I live in a 1000 sq ft, 120 year old house with single (regular) glass windows so to say my house isn’t insulated, is an understatement lol but it does heat up fast so I set my heat at 58 at night and 62 during the day. However when company comes, I turn it up to 67. At night I sleep on a heated mattress pad…best thing I’ve ever bought!

    • Replacing all of the incandescent bulbs in your home with led’s will save you a noticeable amount on your power bill, particularly if you like having lots of lights on or have people in your household who haven’t yet figured out how light switches work. We only have three incandescents that have yet to be replaced. One is in the wall oven, and the other two in microwave ovens. The other 122 in and outside of the house, plus all 8 of the fixtures in the garage, are 100% led’s.

  • My winter setting is usually 72-73, in the evenings for about the 10 weeks it’s cold here. I have an older pet that needs to be warmer with her arthritis after 2 knee surgeries. Summer months are 82. We still like to be a bit warmer. We live in Arizona and I know those temps sound a lot off but the house is well insulated and stays cool in the summer and warmer in the winter. I like it warm enough but not stuffy.

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