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What Temperature Should I Set My Thermostat in Winter?

Is your family constantly arguing over winter thermostat settings? It’s time to put the family feud over the proper thermostat temperature in winter on ice.

Keep cool, or warm, we should say. In this article, we’ll help answer these questions:

  • What is the best temperature to set your thermostat during winter?
  • What temperature should you set your thermostat in winter at night?
  • What temperature to set your thermostat in winter when you’re away?
  • What is the lowest temperature to set your thermostat in winter?

Now, let’s start with the most important question anyone responsible for paying the heating bill is asking...

What Heating Temperature Should My Thermostat Be Set to in Winter?

Everyone reacts differently to the weather and changing of seasons. The temperature outside can play havoc on our moods and might urge us to adjust the temperature by cranking up the furnace, getting under a fleece blanket, and binge-watching something on the couch.

But the truth is heating your home throughout the winter takes a lot of energy. And with natural gas prices in 2021 expected to be 30 percent higher than last winter, families across the United States will need to find a way to reduce heating costs while still keeping the family toasty warm.

The best way to save energy and lower your monthly heating bill is to properly set the thermostat to keep your home’s temperature at the right comfort level this winter.

The Ideal Temperature During Winter Is…

best thermostat temperature setting for winter 68 degrees

According to ENERGY STAR, the best temperature to set your thermostat this winter is 68 degrees Fahrenheit. 68 degrees may seem like a low number to many, but there are benefits to limiting your home to this temperature.

Forcing your furnace or heating system to keep the interior temperature at a high level with freezing conditions outside can add a lot of strain on your HVAC. A furnace that keeps running to try and reach a higher temperature setting will send your heating bills skyward and the added operational stress on your system can run the risk of furnace repair.

Keeping a modest temperature setting for home heating this winter will not only provide adequate warmth for your family indoors, but can also provide energy savings and help keep your heating energy bill costs down and increase the longevity of your furnace.

What Should I Set My Thermostat to in Winter At Night?

You would think when winter temperatures drop at night you’d want to turn the furnace up when you go to sleep, right? Not so fast.

best thermostat temperature setting at night

The U.S. Department of Energy says an indoor temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit at night is best. Setting your thermostat to a lower temperature at night may actually help you sleep better. Medical experts know that our body temperature drops at night. When it is too cold or hot indoors at night, our internal body temps get out of whack and can lead to more inconsistent sleep.

Best Temperature to Set a Thermostat in Winter While Away

Heading away from home to someplace warm this winter? (Lucky) You may have the energy-saving thought to just shut your furnace off entirely while you’re on vacation. You’ll still want to keep the heat running at some capacity, especially if pets will be left at the house.

winter thermostat setting when away

If you have houseplants or pets that won’t be making the trip, then you should adjust your thermostat accordingly. Houseplants need an indoor temperature of at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit to stay alive. And for your furry friends, not setting the thermostat lower than 64 degrees Fahrenheit will keep your pets safe and comfortable while you’re gone.

What’s The Lowest Temperature I Can Set My Thermostat in Winter?

Do you just love the cold so much you’d rather not run any heat in winter? The winter thermostat setting should at minimum be between 50-55 degrees to keep your appliances and pipes from freezing. The worst way to end a vacation or wake up one morning is to a frozen dishwasher or a flooded basement. 

The same can be said for any vacation properties that go unoccupied in winter, or a rental property with no winter tenants. You will still want to keep some heat flowing through the home to protect from property damage.

Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat

It doesn’t often make sense to pay to replace something that is working—unless it can save you money. Programmable thermostats or a smart thermostat, like the Nest Thermostat, can save money by helping reduce your heating costs throughout the year. You can program your temperature settings to the ones our Home Comfort Specialists have recommended here, and keep your thermostat on autopilot.

Whether you’re asleep, on the way to work, or playing with the kids out in the snow, upgrading your thermostat can help keep your home’s heating schedule in control while saving you as much as 10 percent to 12 percent on your annual heating bills.

Additional Cost-Saving Thermostat Tips for Winter

Here are a few other quick tips to help you lower utility bills while maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature that the entire family can enjoy.

Lower Temperature Settings Gradually

Once your family acclimates to the colder winter weather, lower the temperature in the home by one degree each week. Eventually, you all will become more comfortable with a lower thermostat setting and it will help reduce heating costs.

Maintain Your Furnace Annually

It’s important to schedule a heating system tune-up every fall before the temperatures really turn cold outside. Having a properly maintained furnace or heating system will ensure your family stays comfortable this winter, and proactively catches potential issues before the system breaks down.

Invest in a New Energy-Efficient Heating System

If your existing system is over 10 years old, it’s time to start considering new furnace installation and upgrading to a newer HVAC system. Furnaces built today are as much as 15 percent more efficient and can produce the same, if not more heat, than older models.

Consider Multi-Zoned HVAC Options

A multi-zone heating and cooling system allows you to adjust your HVAC system at a different comfortable temperature in different parts of your home. While multi-zone heating systems are more expensive than a typical HVAC unit, they provide the most control over the indoor temperature throughout your entire home.

Keep Your Home Comfortable This Winter With ARS/Rescue Rooter

Looking for other ways to reduce costs this winter? ARS/Rescue Rooter is the nation’s leading home services provider with heating and cooling service, electrical, plumbing, and attic insulation. Find your nearest location or call us to schedule a home evaluation today.

Searching for more knowledge to boost your indoor comfort? Sign up for our email newsletter and you'll receive expert tips and advice from our HVAC & plumbing pros. Plus when you sign-up. you'll be entered into a drawing to win a FREE 50 Gallon Gas or Electric Water Heater!

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