What Temperature Should I Set My Thermostat in Winter? This is a very common question that people want to know for a variety of reasons. It’s also not as straightforward of an answer as you might expect as their are many variables that factor into the ideal thermostat temperature during winter. But, we aim to explore all of the various ways to answer this important question.
One of the things that I highly recommend is investing in an Energy Star programmable thermostat like the Nest Learning Thermostat, the ecobee4 Smart Thermostat (with Built-In Alexa), Emerson Sensi (1F87U-42WF), or the Honeywell (RTH9585WF1004) (WiFi). We’ll discuss these later in the article, but it’s important to note that if you don’t have a programmable thermostat, where you can set the temperature for every day of the week, for any time period you want (IE. Day and night), then you really should invest in one now.
This will make your life much easier. Let’s be honest, having to manually set the thermostat every day is not practical. I know, because when I was growing up, this is how my parents set the thermostat in the home.
Unfortunately, many people who own programmable thermostats don’t even know how to use them correctly, as written about in this article by the Washington Post.
VIDEO | How to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient for Winter
The average homeowner spends over $2,000 a year on energy bills — more than 50% of that goes to heating and cooling. You can save at least $180 a year by setting your programmable thermostat in an efficient manner. (Learn More)
What Temperature Should I Set My Thermostat in Winter?
The easy answer to the question is that you should set the thermostat to whatever temperature is comfortable for you, which might range between 68°F (20° C) to 72°F (22° C). Body temperature varies among people so ultimately it will depend on your average body temperature and also if you are someone who like to wear a sweatshirt around the house or not.
Personally, I wear light pajamas’s and a t-shirt around my condo and I live alone, so for me the ideal temperature is around 74° (23.3°C). But that’s me. If you live alone, it’s easy to figure this out. I would recommend starting at 67°F (19.4° C) and see how that feels. If it’s too cold, raise it up one degree at a time, and stop when you feel comfortable.
At night, I drop my thermostat to 68°F (20° C). In general, I prefer my home to be on the warm side. And since I live alone and pay my own heating bills, I can set it the way I want. I will admit that heating a residential house is far more costly than heating a condo so if you want to save money, then it really does make sense to be smarter and more strategic with how you heat your home in the winter.
Now, for most people who have a family and have to deal with finding the right temperature for more than one person, in a variety of age groups, you know that this quickly can become a heated issue (pun intended). Everyone seems to have an opinion on the temperature. There’s a big range between kids, middle-aged people and the elderly, and everybody seems to want something different. So, how do you find the right temperature for your thermostat in winter when there are many people living in your home?
✓ Fact : Every 8°F (4.5°C) you lower your temperature saves you about 10% on your energy bill, and consequently, increasing your thermostat by 8°F (4.5°C) higher increases your energy bill by about 10 percent.
Recommended Thermostat Temperatures in Winter
Ideal thermostat temperature — Daytime — When People Are Home
I recommend a setting your thermostat to 68°F (20°C) during the day, if people are at home. This is generally a comfortable temperature for most people who wear normal clothes, like pants or pajama bottoms and a t-shirt. If someone finds it too cold then they can easily use a blanket or have them wear thicker socks around the house. You’ll be amazed at what a warm pair of socks will do for your overall comfort level. It truly does make a big difference.
Ideal thermostat temperature — Nighttime — When People Are Sleeping
I recommend a setting your thermostat to 64.4° F (18° C). It makes sense to lower the thermostat temperature since everyone will be in bed and wrapped their bed sheets. To save money, you really should drop the temperature down at least 2°C and perhaps go as low as 3°C and see what the response is from everyone in the house. I’m sure they won’t notice.
If there’s one person in the house that finds it cold at night, rather than increase the temperature for the entire house then buy them a small space heater for their bedroom. This is much cheaper than heating the entire house to please one person.
Ideal thermostat temperature — When Nobody is Home
When nobody is home there’s no need to have a warm home. So, the best thermostat temperature during the day when people are gone is 62°F (17°C). This is also the perfect temperature to prevent your pipes from freezing, which a lot of people don’t think about.
I live in a condo and this is also the minimum temperature set by the strata to prevent the pipes from freezing. So, when the house is empty because everyone is at work or at school make sure you set your thermostat to 62°F (17°C). Even when you’re on vacation this is the ideal temperature for your thermostat in winter.
If you don’t have a programmable thermostat already then you need to buy one. More specifically, you need to buy an Energy Star certified programmable thermostat which allows you to get a rebate depending on where you live. Visit the Energy Star site and scroll down a little, where you’ll find a place to enter your zip code to find out which rebate you are eligible for, like the image below.
A programmable thermostat will allow you set the thermostat temperature for every day of the week. Each day can be different so you can fully customize the thermostat to your liking. Some Energy Star thermostat’s like the Orbit 83521, already have been programmed with Energy Star settings to save you money right from the beginning. But, nowadays, all of the thermostat’s we recommend are easy to program.
When I was growing up technology was primitive and difficult to use. Three out of the four thermostats we recommend have an app that allow you to quickly and easily program it. It’s important to learn how to use your thermostat by reading the manual thoroughly. There’s no point in investing in a high-quality thermostat with plenty of energy saving features if you’re not going to learn how to use them. So, don’t be stubborn. Spend a little time to get acquainted with your new thermostat. In the long run it will save you thousands of dollars. Set it and forget it.
NEST – 3rd Generation — Smart Thermostat
- ENERGY STAR : First thermostat to get ENERGY STAR certified
- Works with Alexa for voice control like the Echo Show or the Echo Plus (Alexa device sold separately). See all the Alexa products.
- It will learn the temperatures you like for different times/days and programs itself
- Automatically turns itself down when you’re away to avoid heating or cooling an empty home
- Remote control: connect it to Wi-Fi to change the temperature from your phone, tablet or laptop
- Energy History : See how much energy you use every day on your phone
- Receive an alert on your phone or tablet if your home gets dangerously hot or cold
- Weather aware : Tracks the weather
- Farsight : Lights up to show you the temperature, weather or time. You can choose a digital or analog clock face. You can see it from across the room.
- Time-to-Temperature : Tells you how long it will take to get to your set temperature.
- Advanced Fan Control
- Cool to Dry : Can use your air conditioner (AC) or heat pump to help reduce excessive humidity, and help maintain a healthier environment in your home.
- Thermostat Lock : Prevents other people from changing the temperature
- Software updates over Wi-Fi : Get the latest updates immediately
- Safety Temperature Alert
- Furnace Heads-Up : lets you know when your Nest Thermostat has detected a problem with your forced air heating system
- Filter Reminder
- Works with 95% of 24-Volt heating and cooling systems, including gas, electric, forced air, heat pump, radiant, oil, hot water, solar and geothermal
- Better together; the Nest thermostat works with Nest protect, if Nest protect detects dangerous carbon monoxide gas, it can tell the Nest thermostat to turn off the furnace – a common source of CO leaks
- High resolution color screen: 24-bit color LCD, 480 x 480 resolution at 229 pixel per inch (PPI), 2.08″ (5.3cm) diameter
- Stainless steel ring
- Sensors: Temperature, Humidity, Near-field activity, Far-field activity, Ambient light
- Built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery
✓ NOTE : Check the compatibility with your home heating system by visiting the Nest site.
- Heating: 1, 2 and 3 stages (W1, W2, W3)
- Cooling: 1 and 2 stages (Y1, Y2)
- Heat pump: with auxiliary and emergency heat (O/B, AUX, E)
- Humidifier or dehumidifier (HUM, DEHUM)
- Fan (G)
- Power (C, RH, RC)
DOCUMENTS FOR NEST:
- View or download the INSTALLATION MANUAL
- View or download the SPEC SHEET
- View or download the BROCHURE
ecobee4 Smart thermostat
Designed with embedded microphones with far-field voice recognition and a speaker engineered for clear voice and full sound. With built-in Alexa, you can speak directly to it and it responds to your commands.
- SAVE MONEY: Homeowners save up to 23% annually on heating or cooling costs, plus ecobee pays for itself in under 2 years (compared to a hold of 72 degrees)
- ROOM SENSORS: Place them in the rooms that matter the most and have the temperature balanced throughout your whole home. Measuring both occupancy and temperature, sensors signal your ecobee Smart Thermostat to automatically switch to the right mode for comfort when you’re home or for savings when you’re not. One Room Sensor included, 2-pack sensors sold separately
- EASILY INSTALL YOURSELF: It only takes about 30 minutes, thanks to an easy to follow installation guide and an in-app step-by-step walk through. Everything you need comes in the box, including a Power Extender Kit for homes with no common wire (C-wire)
- CONTROL FROM ANYWHERE: Easily adjust your thermostat from wherever you are using your iOS (iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch) or Android device. The ecobee mobile app is available in the App Store or on Google Play
- PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS: ecobee4 works with your favorite smart home setups, including Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana, Samsung SmartThings, Wink, and IFTTT
- BUILT-IN AMAZON ALEXA: Control your thermostat using your voice with built-in Amazon Alexa. Ask to play music, hear the news, set a timer, adjust the temperature, and so much more
✓ View or download the INSTALLATION GUIDE for the ecoBee4.
- Gas, oil, electric, dual fuel
- Conventional (2H/2C)
- Heat Pump (4H/2C)
- Humidifier, Dehumidifier, Ventilator, HRV or ERV
✓ Check for compatibility with your home heating and cooling system by visiting the ecobee website.
Emerson Sensi (1F87U-42WF)
- Installs and operates like a standard thermostat when not connected to Wi-Fi
- App changes color to show if the system is heating or cooling
- Compatible with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Echo and Wink
- Geofencing option and smart alerts
- Built-in dual fuel heat pump option Named the ‘Best Value’ smart thermostat of 2018 by USA Today’s Reviewed.com.
- SAVE ABOUT 23% ON HVAC ENERGY: The ENERGY STAR certified Sensi thermostat helps you save on your HVAC energy costs, with features like geofencing, 7-day flexible scheduling, remote access and energy usage reports.
- GET REBATES: Find utility rebates in your area through the rebate finder at sensi.emerson.com/rebates.
- MOST INSTALL IN 30 MINUTES OR LESS: With step-by-step instructions and video tutorials right in the mobile app, most people install Sensi in 30 minutes or less.
- EXTENSIVE COMPATIBILITY: Works with the HVAC equipment found in most homes – a c-wire is required for heat-only, cool-only and heat pump systems without aux.
- SMART HOME COMPATIBLE: Works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit (c-wire required) and Wink smart home platforms.
- CONTROL FROM ANYWHERE: Remotely control your home comfort from your smartphone or tablet using the free Sensi mobile app for Android and iOS devices.
- SMART ALERTS: Sensi features smart alerts to help detect extreme temperature and humidity levels in your home.
Documents for the Emerson Sensi :
- View or download the PRO INSTALLATION GUIDE
- View or download the MANUAL OPERATION GUIDE
- View or download the INSTALLATION GUIDE
- View or download the NAVIGATION & SCHEDULING GUIDE
*Visit the Emerson Sensi site to check for compatibility with your systems.
- Conventional – up to two stages of heating and two stages of cooling (2H/2C)
Heat Only and Cool Only
- Heat Pump (With or Without Aux) – up to 4 stages of heating and two stages of cooling (4H/2C)
- Gas, Oil, Electric
- Geothermal and Dual-fuel
- This system type requires a common wire (c-wire). If you don’t have a c-wire, ‘Emerson
- Thermostat Common Wire Kit’ is available for purchase.
Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Color — RTH9585WF1004
- Wi-Fi enabled – control from anywhere: Works with Amazon Alexa for voice control (Alexa device sold separately)
- Full-color, bright and customizable screen/match with surround decor
- Smart response technology allows for precision temperature control
- Automatic energy-saving settings that fit your life
- Daily weather forecast on-screen, 5 day forecast on app
- Access via app backed by Honeywell’s dependable network
- Help on demand – onscreen help button answers questions as you go
- Auto alerts ensure on-time filter changes; know about extreme temperatures
- Auto-updates for daylight savings; adjusts for 12/24-hour and multi-language needs
- Peace of mind – control energy use, ensures safe temps for pets, or keeps tabs away from home
- Quick schedule changes – update your settings for temporary holds or vacations; restore everyday settings in a snap
- Optional password protection allows only designated users to access the security settings and locking options.
- ENERGY STAR Certified
- Compatible with heating, cooling and heat pumps
- Does not work with heat pumps with electric baseboard heat (120-240 volts)
- System must contain a c-wire.
✓ View or download the USER GUIDE for the Honeywell RTH9585WF1004.