People can be passionate about where they set their thermostat. Some like it cool, while others prefer a warm house. But, is there an ideal temperature for your home? It depends on what your goal is: comfort or energy savings – or a combination of both.
The fact is, the closer your thermostat setting is to the temperature outdoors, the more you will save on your energy bill. However, if it is 100 degrees outside, you’re not going to want to set your thermostat to 95 degrees!
Recommended Thermostat Settings for Summer and Winter
The following recommendations for thermostat settings are suggested with your comfort and cost efficiency in mind.
78 degrees Fahrenheit when at home
88 degrees Fahrenheit if not at home for 4 or more hours
For every degree higher you set your thermostat over 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, you could save approximately 6-8% off your energy bill – per degree. That can add up to significant savings.
Just as in the warmer months, thermostat settings for the winter should be adjusted if you are away during the day.
Generally, 68 degrees Fahrenheit during daylight hours is recommended for both comfort and energy savings.
According to energy.gov, turning your thermostat 10 to 15 degrees lower in the winter for 8 hours per day will reduce energy usage by 5–15% per year.
The above are our basic recommendations; let’s talk about a few other things to consider. The first thing is incredibly important: sleep. Scientists agree that the temperature for optimum sleep for adults is somewhere between 60 to 67 degrees. That is considerably cooler than our recommended settings for summer. If you know that you sleep better at cooler temperatures, you may want to lower your thermostat before you go to bed and turn on your ceiling fan if you have one.
The next thing to consider is your family’s activity levels. If you have children who are very active or you’re doing strenuous exercise, then it may be beneficial to set your thermostat a few degrees cooler in the summer.
Finally, some people seem to be always hot, while others seem to be always cold. If you told a hot-natured person to set their air conditioner to 78 degrees, they would likely laugh! The money saved would not be worth the misery they experience being hot and sweaty in their home. So, if the above recommendations seem unrealistic, strive to find a comfortable compromise. If you usually set your thermostat to 70 degrees during the daytime, try setting it to 71 degrees instead. Chances are you won’t notice the difference in temperature—especially if your ceiling fans are on—and you’ll save a little on your energy bill too.
If the temperature schedule of your home is on a long list of things that you know you will likely forget about, then consider installing a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats allow you to set a schedule according to your preferences, habits, and the outdoor temperature.
When programming your thermostat, think about your typical daily schedule and preferences. If you like to sleep in a cool house, set the thermostat to begin lowering the temperature in your home an hour or two before bedtime. Other considerations, such as when you are typically at home, are also important factors. It may take you a day or two to find the ‘perfect’ schedule, but eventually, you will find what’s right for you. Best of all, you can manually override your programmable thermostat anytime.
The ultimate goal is to find the settings that keep you and your family happy and comfortable while saving money on your energy bill.