What Temperature Should I Set My Thermostat to in Winter?

And just like that, it’s time to fire up the furnace this fall and get ready to settle in for winter. We get a lot of questions about what the temperature “sweet spot” is for a home in winter. How low or high should you turn your thermostat? The answer is as individual as your family and there are factors to consider when deciding on that temperature.


How quickly does your home cool off? Knowing just how fast heat dissipates from your home will guide you in knowing how high to set the thermostat. That means knowing how well your home is insulated and how many windows you have on your home where heat will naturally leak out. The faster it does, the higher the temperature must be set.

You also need to know what humidity level you have in your home. During winter months, research suggests that your indoor humidity level should be between 25 and 40 percent. If your humidity is naturally too low, then you need to consider a humidifier. That will also impact what kind of temperature you will need to set the thermostat because higher humidity makes your body feel warmer than the temperature suggests.


The way to know the right temperature for your family is to do some experimenting. First, start at 72 degrees. Then, without telling anyone, lower the temperature gradually over several hours until someone starts to notice it being cooler. When you’ve gotten to that point, go to the last setting where no one complained. That’s your sweet spot.

Knowing that temperature is ideal because if you also like saving money, you’ll be gratified to know that you save 1 to 3 percent on your heating bill for every degree you turn the thermostat down.


If you’re not home for any length of time, you can save significant money on heating if you lower the temperature. You can also save money and sleep better if you lower the temperature at night.  If changing the temperature that often sounds complicated, buying a programmable thermostat is an investment that will pay for itself in lower heating bills. You simply set a program of having it go up and down at different times of the day and you’ll notice savings without noticing the difference when you’re at home or asleep.


So, what is the right temperature? It’s not as simple as telling you 72 degrees, but it’s also not as hard as you might think. Just try a few different ideas on what works for you and then you’ll have an answer that saves you money and makes everyone at your home comfortable.


Pharo Heating & Cooling is a full-service HVAC contractor in Madison. Our team provides top quality service for new construction and replacement furnace and air conditioner needs. We work exclusively with Bryant Heating and Cooling products, and all work is done by our own team. For more information about HVAC systems or furnace or AC concerns, give us a call at 608-849-5410 or submit a contact form through our website.