The best temperature to set the thermostat in winter
We’re all probably a little guilty of messing with our thermostats too much during the winter. On one hand, you want your home to be warm and comfortable, but on the other, you don’t want to pay a huge amount on your energy bill. The 2006 Survey of Household Spending by Statistics Canada (StatCan) revealed that Canadians spend an average of $1,895 on electricity, natural gas as well as other fuels for heating and cooking at home. With such high energy costs, we’re all looking for ways to save on energy in the winter, especially with how cold the winter can get in Canada.
So then, you might be asking ‘what is a reasonable temperature for a house in winter?’ or ‘what temperature should I set my thermostat in winter in Canada?’ What might surprise you is that there isn’t a single answer to this question – it really depends on factors such as if there’s anybody at home or what time of the day it is. In this post, we’ll walk you through the general recommendations for winter thermostat settings and explain the reasoning behind them.
Recommended thermostat settings in the winter
Obviously, the average thermostat setting for winter is going to be higher than any thermostat setting in the summer. What might not be so obvious is that the recommended thermostat setting in the winter depends on the time of day. The ideal healthy home temperature in winter should be no higher than 20 degrees Celsius or 68 degrees Fahrenheit when you’re at home during the day – you’ll be reasonably comfortable at this temperature without splurging on heating.
If you can stand it, however, you could always turn down your thermostat for more savings. According to the United States Department of Energy, dialling back your thermostat by 7-10 degrees Fahrenheit (around 5.6 Celsius) can help you save as much as 10% on your heating bills each year.
When you’re away from home, the suggested thermostat temperature in winter is between 17 and 19 °C. After all, why make your home nice and toasty when there’s no one around to enjoy it?
Be sure not to turn down your thermostat too low though – turning down your thermostat any lower than 17 degrees Celsius could result in your pipes freezing, as well as costly repair. The average house temperature needs to be comfortable and safe in the first place. This is particularly important for seniors.
According to Aire Serv, seniors shouldn’t lower the thermostat below 20 degrees Celsius during winter, as elderly adults may suffer serious health complications from drops or peaks in internal body temperatures.
What heating temperatures are appropriate for your home at night?
Now that you know what temperature to set your home during the day, you might be wondering what the best thermostat settings are for nighttime. Your thermostat should be set to between 17 and 19 degrees Celsius when you’re in bed – you’ll be warm under the covers so there’s no need to overheat your home.
Lowering your thermostat settings in the winter isn’t only important for saving you money on your energy bills – setting an appropriate nighttime temperature in your home can also have an impact on your health.
Studies such as this one by the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, which was conducted in 2012, indicate that the temperature of the room you sleep in can play a big part in how well you sleep. When you go to sleep, your body temperature drops a little bit – it’s easier to make that transition in a cooler room than in a warmer one. Thus, it’s possible that sleeping in a colder room can help you get to sleep faster and help you sleep better.
What if I don’t want to change my thermostat settings manually?
Sometimes, we’re forgetful or we just don’t want to deal with having to change the temperature on our thermostats every day. There’s good news – you don’t have to if you install a smart thermostat in your home. Smart thermostats are an energy-efficient upgrade that can help save you energy in the winter.
Looking for a smart thermostat? Check our guide on the best options for your home
Smart thermostats can ‘learn’ your schedule (for example, what time you leave home and what time you come home) and ‘learn’ what temperatures you prefer at such times. Consequently, they can turn up or turn down the temperature accordingly. With a little investment, you’ll always have the ideal winter thermostat settings running in your home.
What can I do to reduce the load on my thermostat?
You can reduce the temperature you set your thermostat at and save money on your heating bill by using the following tips:
- Seal any cracks around windows and doors where cold air can get in
- Layer up – instead of cranking the thermostat up, put on a few extra layers.
- Place rugs on floors and use thick curtains to reduce how cold your home feels
Hopefully, this guide has given you enough information on how to decide what temperature to set the thermostat in winter. But did you know there are more ways you can save on your heating bills besides adjusting your temperature settings?
One easy way you can lower your heating bills this winter is by comparing energy rates. You can find the best electricity and natural gas prices available and make sure you’re not paying more for energy than you have to.
EnergyRates.ca can help you compare all the available energy rates in your area and find the best energy plans in Canada. EnergyRates.ca is a free and unbiased cost comparison tool and can currently be used to compare energy rates in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Québec.
You can use EnergyRates.ca to compare natural gas and electricity rates in your area regardless of being a commercial or residential consumer. Small business, small commercial, large commercial and industrial electricity and natural gas consumers can get a free custom quote based on their energy needs.
Using EnergyRates.ca is simple – all you need to do is fill in your postal code in the form above and you’ll be able to compare the best energy rates available in your location.