As the song goes: Baby, it’s cold outside! Winter temps can make you shiver, but high energy bills can leave you just as cold. Setting the thermostat too high can send the energy bill skyrocketing. Too low, and no one in the home is comfortable. It begs the question: What’s the best temperature to set the thermostat in winter? Luckily, there’s a middle ground between freezing and spending. Consistently setting your thermostat for savings and supplementing your heat with a space heater can help when determining the best temperature to set the thermostat in winter. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
It’s tempting to blast the heat as high as possible to keep the entire home hot in the winter months, but those high settings come with a high price tag. Even worse? High settings may be counterproductive when heating the home. The experts at the Department of Energy share that aiming for a lower interior temp may be the best temperature to set thermostat in winter. They recommend setting the thermostat at around 68°F or lower during the daylight hours when the home is empty, or at night when everyone is asleep, and raising it slightly when you come home. Many believe that when the temperature is set to a lower setting, it overworks the furnace to raise the whole home’s temperature when raising the thermostat after returning home at the end of the day. According to the DOE, this is a myth. Keeping the home at a lower interior temperature actually slows down heat loss. The DOE recommends turning your thermostat back by 7°F to 10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting. Turning it up when you return home will not overwork the heating system, but will save you up to 10% a year on heating costs. With this in mind, the best temperature to set your thermostat in winter depends on consistency. If you and your family are comfortable with setting the temp around 68°F when at home, you’ll experience less heat loss during the day and save money on your heating bill.
For some, the idea of keeping the home at 68°F all winter immediately causes shivers. What’s way too chilly for one person is a comfortable temp for another. For those who are less tolerant of chilly temperatures, 68°F may not be enough heat to feel comfortable. Supplementing your heating with electric space heaters can provide the extra warmth needed without excessively raising your utility bill. The best temperature to set the thermostat in winter requires turning down the main thermostat temps, but placing a space heater in the rooms that you and your family use. This keeps your home’s occupied spaces warm and cozy despite the arctic blasts outside. Keep in mind that the best temperature to set the thermostat in winter can be affected by other sources of heat and sun; “ghost readings” can occur if your thermostat is located in direct sunlight or by a heating source. This affects the performance and efficiency of your home’s central heat, and the false reading in one room can lower the temp in others. Make sure your space heater is working with your home thermostat settings instead of against them.
While space heaters cannot be a substitute for the primary heating source in the home, they can provide the extra burst of heat needed to maintain a comfortable temperature. Larger room heaters, like the Digital Ceramic Heater with Warm Air Motion Technology and the Cyclonic Ceramic Heater with Remote Control, fit best in bigger spaces, like living rooms, family rooms, and dens. Pedestal heaters are sleek, tall, and distribute heat at an elevated level over sofas and coffee tables for a more direct blast of warmth right where you need it. A pedestal heater like the 30″ Digital Space-Saving Ceramic Pedestal Heater with Digital Remote and the Ceramic Pedestal Heater with Remote Control come with programmable thermostats to help regulate room temps and avoid overheating. Kitchens often warm up from cooking, but a small tabletop heater can help warm up a breakfast nook before you sit down to eat. Space-saving heaters like a Ceramic Heater with Adjustable Thermostat or the stylish Simple Touch Ceramic Heater pack a powerful punch of heat and can be set to quickly warm the room before breakfast, just in time for your morning coffee. Bedrooms benefit from tower heaters like the Digital Ceramic Tower Heater with Remote Control or the Electronic 34″ Ceramic Tower Heater with Logic Center Remote Control; the remote controls allow you to raise, lower, or turn off the heater without leaving the comfort of your bed. Don’t forget spaces that central heating may not reach: Garages, basements, and other work areas may not have the luxury of choosing the best temperature to set thermostat in winter, and stay chilled all season long. A utility heater like the Pro-Ceramic Utility Heater or the Ceramic Utility Heater with Adjustable Thermostat offers a strong and durable heating source for spaces that need the extra warmth. Remember to follow all safety instructions found in the user’s manual when operating your heater. (Visit Safety and Portable Space Heaters: What You Need to Know for more information.)