Everyone wants to feel comfortably warm at home – without having to dig out woollies or shorts in the wrong season. Getting room temperature right is essential for health and wellbeing, and for keeping damp at bay. It’s also important when you’re trying to keep the yearly energy bills down. However, it can be difficult to know where to begin when it comes to working out the best room temperature. And keeping your home at a comfortable temperature through the varied and unpredictable British seasons is no easy feat. Look no further, as we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to finding and maintaining the ideal room temperature in your home.
So, what is the ideal room temperature for your home?
Statistics are a great starting point when thinking about the best room temperature for your home. In the UK:
- The average indoor temperature is 18°C.
- A UK survey suggests most people believe the ideal temperature is 21°C.*
When it comes to health and wellbeing, the World Health Organization and UK government advise:
- The minimum recommended temperature is 18°C.
- The optimum room temperature is between 18°C and 21°C.
- Minimum temperatures of 20°C or 21°C may be required for infants, the elderly and the sick.
- Temperatures lower than 18°C or higher than 24°C can be a health risk.
There are a few things that can affect what your ideal room temperature is. Top of the list is your own preference. There’s no point setting your thermostat to someone else’s recommendation if you don’t find it comfortable.
Another factor to consider is which room it is. The UK government suggests keeping different rooms at different temperatures:
- 21°C in living rooms, dining rooms and bathrooms
- 20°C in kitchens
- 18°C in bedrooms, hallways and cloakrooms
The different temperatures reflect the different ways you use the rooms in your home. The warmest temperature is recommended for the areas you spend most of your time in. The kitchen can be cooler as it gains added heat when you’re cooking. There’s no need to keep infrequently used areas toasty, and a lower temperature is better for a good night’s sleep.
Using a thermostat to find your ideal room temperature
You can use a thermostat to help you easily find your ideal room temperature. A thermostat measures how warm your room is and switches the heating on when it falls below a set temperature. It normally has a timer you can programme so the heating only comes on at certain times.
Try different temperatures in the optimum range of 18°C to 21°C to find which the most comfortable room temperature is. Once you’ve found the right temperature, you can maintain it by setting the times the heating is on. Set the timer to suit your household so the house is warmest at times like breakfast and after work. Make adjustments when the seasons change to adapt for different levels of heat and humidity.
A smart thermostat makes finding and maintaining your ideal room temperature even easier, and it saves you money on your energy bills. It links your heating system with an app on your phone so you can control it remotely. A learning thermostat is the most advanced type of smart thermostat. It learns your schedule and preferred room temperature, automatically adjusting the temperature and timings. That means you can avoid costly spikes and you won’t be wasting energy if you forget to adjust the heating manually.
Room temperature myths
“If you turn your thermostat up very high, your house will heat up quicker”
The heating will always come on at full blast until the temperature on the thermostat is reached. There’s no power control like there is with an accelerator pedal, for example. As such, your house won’t heat up any quicker if you increase the thermostat to a high temperature. Your house will heat up in the same amount of time. The downside is that energy is wasted when the system overshoots the actual room temperature you want, increasing your bills.
“It’s better to only heat the rooms you are in, rather than the whole house”
This depends on the size of your house, how many rooms you use and the type of heating system you have. If you have central heating, it’s usually more efficient to heat the whole house. Alternatively, if you can adjust individual radiators, you can keep these lower in the less used rooms.
“Turning the thermostat down is cheaper than turning the heating on and off”
If your house is well insulated, it can be cheaper to turn down the thermostat instead of switching off the heating. However, if there is a lot of heat loss from your home, it will be more expensive. The best way to check is to take a meter reading and try a week just adjusting the thermostat. Then take another meter reading and spend a week turning the heating off and on. Take a final meter reading to find out which was cheaper for you.
Banish draughts from your home
If you don’t feel warm enough using a temperature from the optimum range of 18°C to 21°C, check for draughts - a draught can make things feel a lot cooler. They’re particularly common around windows and doors. For a simple fix, get creative and make your own caterpillar draught excluder.
As well as keeping an eye on the room temperature, why not keep an eye on your energy tariff? Browse our range of energy tariffs or log in to your account for a personalised breakdown of your energy usage with ‘My Energy’.
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Important information regarding our advice and tips
We try to make sure that the information we include in our blog is correct. Unfortunately information can become out dated, and we can’t guarantee that we won’t ever make a mistake. With that in mind, we accept no responsibility (including loss, damage or injury) for your use of the advice on our blog, or the wider website. Please always consult a professional if you intend to carry out DIY and you’re not fully confident in doing it yourself.