Determining the best temperature for your thermostat in winter is a task many households face, especially when there are multiple occupants. We consulted with American Home Water and Air, a trusted HVAC company, about what the ideal temperature for heating your home in winter should be. Here’s our findings.
How to Choose the Best Temperature Setting for Winter Heating
The best temperature setting for your furnace thermostat in winter depends on several factors, including your personal preferences, the climate in your area, the insulation of your home, and the age and efficiency of your furnace. Here are some general guidelines to help you determine the best temperature setting for your thermostat:
What temperature do you feel most comfortable at? Many people prefer a temperature of around 68-70°F during the day and around 65°F at night. However, there are no fixed rules for setting a temperature when talking about what temperature you feel most comfortable at, especially if you have multiple people in your home. You may need to compromise or take measures to accommodate everyone’s comfort.
Sunny weather can greatly increase the temperature of your home and should be put to use when possible. Use these tips to incorporate natural sunlight into your heating scheme:
- Window size and orientation: Larger windows and windows that face south will allow more sunlight into your home and add more heat. You can maximize the amount of heat added by sunlight by installing energy-efficient windows.
- Time of day: The sun is strongest and provides the most heat during the middle of the day.
- Window treatments: Blinds, curtains, and other window treatments can block some of the sun’s heat from entering your home. Open them up to bring the heat in. For those reluctant to leave their curtains or blinds open during the day, you can purchase simple window film that will allow heat in while providing privacy.
In general, natural sunlight can add a significant amount of heat to your home, especially during the middle of the day. However, the exact amount of heat added will vary based on the factors mentioned above.
A well-insulated home will retain heat better and require a lower thermostat setting than a poorly insulated home. One of the best things you can do is take measures to improve the insulation in your home to help keep your home warm in the winter, reduce your energy bills, and increase your home’s comfort.
Here are some steps you can take to improve the insulation in your home:
- Check your attic: Attic insulation is one of the most crucial factors in maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature. Check the depth of your insulation and add more if necessary.
- Seal air leaks: Air leaks around windows, doors, and other openings in your home can allow heat to escape. Use caulk, weatherstripping, or spray foam to seal these leaks.
- Insulate walls: If your home has uninsulated walls, you may want to consider adding insulation. This can be done from the inside or the outside of your home, depending on your specific circumstances.
- Replace old windows: Single-paned windows are notorious for allowing heat to escape. Consider replacing these windows with more energy-efficient double-paned windows.
- Insulate your ducts: If your home has a forced air heating and cooling system, make sure the ducts are properly insulated to prevent heat loss.
- Consider adding insulation to your floor: If your home has a crawl space or unfinished basement, consider adding insulation to the floor to help keep the heat in.
Improving the insulation in your home can be a big project, but the results are well worth it. By reducing heat loss, you can keep your home more comfortable and save money on your energy bills.
Furnace age and efficiency
An older, less efficient furnace may need to run longer to maintain a certain temperature, so you may need to set your thermostat higher to avoid overworking your furnace. A newer, more efficient furnace may be able to maintain a comfortable temperature at a lower setting.
If you are looking at replacing your aging furnace, here are some signs that it is time for a system upgrade:
- Age: The typical lifespan of a furnace is 15 to 20 years. If your furnace is nearing its twilight years or has lasted past them, you might be due an upgrade to a more energy-efficient model.
- Increasing repair costs: If your furnace is requiring more and more frequent repairs, it may be more cost-effective in the long run to replace it rather than continue paying for repairs.
- Decreased efficiency: If your furnace has stopped heating your home efficiently, it is likely time to replace it with a more energy-efficient model.
- Unusual noises: If your furnace is making strange or unusual noises, it may be a sign of a malfunction or that the furnace is reaching the end of its life.
- Uneven heating: If some rooms in your home are warm while others are cold, it may indicate that your furnace is no longer able to evenly distribute heat throughout your home.
- Yellow pilot light: A yellow pilot light on a gas furnace is a sign that the furnace is producing carbon monoxide, a potentially dangerous gas. This is a serious issue and requires immediate attention, including possibly replacing the furnace.
If you are experiencing any of these issues, it’s a good idea to have a professional heating contractor assess your furnace and provide recommendations for repair or replacement. It may also be a good time to consider upgrading to a more energy-efficient furnace, which can help lower your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint.
These suggestions should help you to determine the best temperature for your thermostat this winter. Ultimately, the best temperature setting for your furnace thermostat in winter is one that provides you with a comfortable indoor environment while also maximizing energy efficiency. You may need to experiment with different settings to find the one that works best for you and your home.