What Temperature Should I Set My Thermostat In The Winter? (72°F?)

Not too cold, not too hot.

That is the perfect winter thermostat temperature setting. However, if you want to save some money on the heating bill you really want to figure out what temperature should you set a thermostat in winter. Is the perfect winter thermostat setting 68°F, 70°F, 72°F, 74°F or 76°F?

Here’s the deal:

What temperature should your house be in the winter is a compromise between 2 things:

  1. Comfort. In general, we prefer warmer indoor temperatures. This is an argument for increasing thermostat temperature settings.
  2. Energy savings. The lower the thermostat setting, the less you will have to pay for heating. This is an argument for decreasing thermostat temperature settings.

Everybody has their own temperature preference in the winter. That’s a subjective matter. Objectively, however, we can determine how much you can save if you lower the thermostat temperature.

Here is a quick summary of how much you can save on heating costs if you adjust the temperature on your thermostat:

thermostat setting in the winter energy savings percentage

“You can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting.” (DOE’s Energy Saver guide on thermostat setting)

This is a direct quote from the US Department of Energy that will help us calculate how much you can save if you lower the temperature on your thermostat.

Basically, you can save about 1% on heating costs if you lower the thermostat setting by 1°F for 8 hours. That means that you save 3% per 1°F if you leave that thermostat temperature setting for a whole day (24 hours).

What is more, we can now calculate what should your thermostat be set in the winter to save money:

What Temperature Should I Set My Thermostat In Winter To Save Money?

The most commonly cited temperature you should set your temperature your thermometer in the winter is 72°F. Based on the DOE’s Energy Saver guide, we can calculate how much you can save by lowering the thermostat setting to 71°F, 70°F, 69°F, 68°F, 67°F, and so on.

Conversely, we can also calculate how much extra you have to pay if you increase the temperature to more than 72°F.

To simplify our energy-saving calculations, let’s presume that you pay $100/month for heating if you set the thermostat to 72°F.

Here is how much you’re likely to pay for heating if you lower or increase the temperature on the thermostat:

Thermostat Temperature (°F) Monthly Heating Cost ($) Monthly Savings ($)
64°F $76 $24
65°F $79 $21
66°F $82 $18
67°F $85 $15
68°F $88 $12
69°F $91 $9
70°F $94 $6
71°F $97 $3
72°F $100 0
73°F $103 – $3
74°F $106 – $6
75°F $109 – $9
76°F $112 – $12

For example, if set your thermostat to 70°F you will likely pay 6% less for heating compared to 72°F thermostat setting. If you set your thermostat to 68°F you will likely pay 12% less for heating a 72°F thermostat setting.

Now, the key question when figuring out what should your thermostat be set to in winter is this:

At what temperature does it become too uncomfortable for you; when the thermostat is set to a too cold setting?

If you feel warm enough at 68°F, you should set your thermostat temperature setting in the winter to 68°F. That will save you an estimated 12% on heating compared to 72°F thermostat setting.

In the US, you’re likely to pay anywhere from $500 to $1,500 for all your heating needs in the winter. Let’s say that you now pay $1,000 and you have a 72°F thermostat setting.

If you were to lower the thermostat temperature setting to 68°F, you will likely save about $120.

Similarly, you can calculate your heating costs savings for any other temperature you want to set your thermostat to.

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