Recommended thermostat settings in the winter

Direct Energy, December 4, 2023

4 minute read

Recommended thermostat settings in the winter

Direct Energy, December 4, 2023

4 minute read

Homeowners across the country ponder this question each year when temperatures start dropping, and it's time to turn on the heat. Answering the question, however, is not as simple as citing one specific temperature, especially as financial and energy usage concerns differ from one family and home to the next.

Man adjusting thermostat
Man adjusting thermostat
Man adjusting thermostat

What temperature should I set my thermostat to in the winter?

General recommendations for winter thermostat settings:

  • If someone is at home in the daytime, 72° F (22° C) is a good start, but aim for 68° F (20° C).
  • If everyone is away from home in the daytime or you're asleep at night, we feel 66° F (19° C) to 62° F (17° C) is best.

But instead of focusing on a perfect number, you will benefit from establishing an energy-efficient winter heating strategy that will keep your home warm and your winter thermostat settings reasonable, so you won't face large energy bills. Here are a few tips.

Ease into winter to start saving

The best temperature to set your heater to in the winter is a matter of preference. However, setting your thermostat to a specific temperature and never changing it isn't helpful to your energy bills.

  • Set your thermostats at that desired high temperature.
  • Once you and your family acclimate to the colder weather, lower the temperature in the home by 1 degree each week.
  • This 1 degree reduction - maintained for even 8 hours - can reduce a home's energy bill by 1%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • Lowering the temperature further and preserving these lower temperatures for longer periods of time increases those savings, and you'll probably never notice the difference with such a slow, gradual change.

Invest in and optimize a programmable thermostat

There is no perfect winter interior temperature for every home, and the savviest homeowners realize there is no perfect temperature for every moment in their homes. During times when your home is empty – such as work hours or traveling periods – are the best times to lower the temperature and reduce expenses. However, many homeowners miss this opportunity because they find constantly programming their thermostats too time-consuming. Others simply forget.

Seek other temperature-control resources

Since you still want to reduce your winter energy expenses without feeling the cold, it pays to be creative.

  • Shop for a great electricity rate to ensure you're not paying more than you need to for your power. Direct Energy has options to help you make the most of your energy dollar.
  • Close doors and vents to unused rooms make it easier for the home's furnace to deliver the desired temperature to occupied living spaces.
  • Schedule annual furnace maintenance and inspection.
  • Seal cracks around the windows or door jambs.
  • Bundle up. Dressing warmly, even inside the home, will make your family less reliant on the furnace, allowing you to turn down the thermostat another degree. Try using an electric blanket for extra warmth.

Start saving energy today

Determining the perfect winter indoor temperature for your home is really a matter of supply and demand. You must measure your family's desired comfort against the price you're willing to pay for your winter heating bills.

Employing the strategies above can help you find that comfortable winter thermostat setting, one that doesn't depend completely on your furnace and its associated expenses.

Want to save even more? Sign up for an electricity plan with Direct Energy and you'll get the tools you need to track your usage and stay energy efficient.

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