The answer to that question, of course, depends on who you’re asking. Everyone has a different preference when it comes to the temperature of their home — some like it warmer, some like a bit of chill in the air.
That makes finding an ideal, comfortable home temperature very personal, and sometimes challenging. Different preferences among family members can sometimes lead to “thermostat wars,” with your home temperature yo-yo-ing up and down.
The trick is to find a happy medium that works for the whole household.
What the Research Says
According to research done by the Helsinki University of Technology, the ideal temperature for productivity is between about 70 degrees and 72 degrees. Other research has also shown that the ideal sleeping temperature is between 65 degrees and 72 degrees. But when you're talking about your home, it really doesn't matter what the research says. You should set your thermostat where you feel most comfortable.
Finding a Household Ideal
For fall and winter temps, HVAC pros — and many homeowners — recommend starting in a range between 68 degrees and 70 degrees. Most people will find reasonable comfort somewhere in that range. Experiment a bit and see if you can’t find a happy medium for the whole family. For those who really like it warmer, a cozy sweater helps. Or, for smaller areas, an electric space heater can add comfort. Just keep in mind that electricity costs more than heating fuel. So, if it’s a larger area that you want warmer, bumping up the thermostat may be the better choice.
Keep Efficiency in Mind
If all else fails and you do find yourself in the middle of a thermostat war, keep in mind that you don't want to be frequently changing your thermostat temperature more than a couple of degrees either way. If you do, you may be sacrificing efficiency — your HVAC system will have to work extra hard to keep up with frequent changes.
Danny, from Stay Comfy in Minnesota, explains the ideal thermostat setting for maximum efficiency in this video:
The easiest way to manage your home’s temperature is with a programmable or smart thermostat. You can set lower temperatures at night or during the day when you’re not home, and have the house warmed up before you return. Not only can this save on fuel costs, but it can help settle family disagreements about when and how much to adjust the thermostat. Plus, the convenience of being able to adjust temps remotely is a real advantage for busy families.
Interested in learning more about programmable and smart thermostats? Check out our Guide to Choosing the Best WiFi Thermostat.
Another way some families manage home temperatures is with zone heating. Zone heating employs separate thermostats for separate areas, or zones, of the home, so that the temperature in those areas can be controlled separately. While zone heating is most commonly found in new construction homes, more and more homeowners are considering retrofitting portions of their homes with zone heating. Common choices for zones include basements, home additions, or for remote parts of the house that need heating without causing overheating in other areas of the home.
However you decide to manage your home’s temperatures this heating season, keep in mind that spring isn’t that far away. Soon, we’ll be talking about ideal summer temps!