What Temperature Should I Set My Thermostat in the Winter?

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Winter Thermostat Setting
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There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who set the thermostat to one temperature and leave it alone, and those who turn it on, shut it off, raise it and lower it at their every whim.

During the summer — when you’re rarely home, perhaps — you may be able to get away with some wide variances in your home’s interior temperature. But in the winter, when it gets cold inside and out, heat is everything.

What Temperature Should You Set The Thermostat During Colder Months?

So what is the best setting for the thermostat during the winter?

The U.S. Department of Energy recommends 68 degrees “while you’re awake and setting it lower while you’re asleep or away from home” is the ideal temperature to save energy.

In addition, the government agency says that no matter what temperature you like, homeowners can save about 10% a year (up to hundreds of dollars) on their energy bill by dialing the thermostat back 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours every day.

Here’s What Clark Sets His Thermostat On in the Winter

Money expert Clark Howard says that newer technology helps keep his family comfortable during the colder months of the year. “I have a Nest thermostat so the house is on 68 during the day and 64 at night.”

Does that sound too chilly for you? Clark says there are some expert opinions that go to a further extreme. “The perfect temperature to sleep is supposedly 62.”

Here’s another thing: You may have been told by your heating company that it’s best to leave your unit on for most of the day so your system doesn’t work so hard to heat the home when the temperature drops in the evening.

The Energy Department disagrees: “A common misconception associated with thermostats is that a furnace works harder than normal to warm the space back to a comfortable temperature after the thermostat has been set back, resulting in little or no savings. In fact, as soon as your house drops below its normal temperature, it will lose energy to the surrounding environment more slowly.”

You may be wondering what contributes to regulating the temperature inside your home…

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4 Things That Affect the Temperature Inside Your Home

  • The location of your thermostat: For optimal performance, a thermostat should be located on a wall that is not in the path of direct sunlight or frequent drafts. “It should be located where natural room air currents — warm air rising, cool air sinking — occur,” the Department of Energy says. That means anything that can throw its temperature off — including skylights or even furniture — should be removed.
  • Rugs or carpet: Hardwood floors can be very cold during the winter. If you want a warmer experience for your feet, put a rug down to keep heat from escaping through the floorboards.
  • Drafty doors and windows: One of the main areas where heat escapes a home is through doors and windows. Test for heat loss by using a flashlight. If light shines through the crack in a door or window, it’s evidence that you’re losing heat. Time to caulk or seal it.
  • Unit filters: Changing the filters regularly can save you money by reducing the strain on your unit, which gets clogged with debris over time.

Conclusion

Here’s a key fact to keep in mind: The smaller the gap between the outside and inside temperature, the lower your energy bill will likely be.

However, no matter what the U.S. Department of Energy — or Clark — recommends, the ideal temperature for you is the one that helps you feel comfortable.

What temperature do you set your thermostat during the winter? Tell us in the comments below!

More Clark.com Home Heating Resources:

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