Best Temperature for Your Heater in Winter

Learn how to save energy by sticking to the average house temperature and using recommended thermostat settings in winter while still being comfortable in your home.

Now that the air is colder outside and you’ve switched from using the central air conditioner to the furnace, you might be looking for ways to save energy – and money – this season. One useful technique is to set the thermostat to the best temperature for your heater in the winter so you don’t overwork your furnace and cause it to consume more energy. If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, consider installing one to enjoy maximum energy savings this winter without compromising comfort.

Best Temperature for Furnace During Winter

What Temperature to Keep The House at Winter?

The average house temperature in winter is 68 degrees Fahrenheit. While Energy.gov recommends lowering your temperature when you’re asleep or away from home, some people aren’t comfortable with lower temperatures.

How to Save Energy in Winter

While everyone's threshold for too cold or too warm is different, setting your winter heater temp at 68 degrees is one way to save on energy bills over winter. If you dislike the cold or are prone to feeling chilly, 68 degrees might require you to wear warm clothing to stay comfortable indoors. If you still feel chilly, turn up the temperature one degree at a time instead of cranking the temperature up all at once, which only wastes money and causes your heater to work hard to catch up.

  • Recommended thermostat settings in winter - During the day when everyone’s at work or school, set the thermostat to a few degrees cooler, as long as your pets are okay at a lower temperature for long periods of time. You’ll save energy by reducing how much you heat a vacant house, but don’t turn off the thermostat completely, or you risk frozen plumbing pipes. You can also program the thermostat to return to the average house temperature in winter of 68 degrees before the first person is due home each day, so they don’t have to wait long to be comfortable. At night when everyone’s asleep, set the thermostat to 65 degrees and program the heater to return to 68 degrees before the alarm clock goes off in the morning. Following the recommended thermostat settings in winter and summer can help cut back on energy costs all year-round.
  • Change the Furnace Filter - Dirty furnace filters restrict airflow and make your furnace work harder, which increases energy use and makes your heating bills climb. Changing the furnace filter saves you money on your energy bills and helps maintain the airflow you need to keep every room comfortable. By choosing the correct MERV rating and changing air filters frequently, you prevent your furnace from overworking and causing expedited wear and tear on the system. Winter can also bring more cases of sickness, so upgrading to a higher MERV rating, such as a MERV 13 air filter, can help capture airborne viruses and bacteria.
  • Run a Humidifier - Cold air is naturally drier, which is why static shock, dry skin, and chapped lips are so prevalent in winter. Running a humidifier is a great way to combat these symptoms and can even help you save money since humid air feels warmer. Since less moisture evaporates from your skin when the air is already moist, increasing humidity levels can give the perception of a warmer environment. This means that even those who get chilly are more likely to be comfortable at the average house temperature in winter when you run a whole-house humidifier. If installing this is out of your budget, consider getting a humidifier for the rooms you spend the most time in, that way your house temperature in winter can stay lower and still save you money in the long run.
  • Zone your House - Zoning is also useful for keeping the rooms you're in comfortable without heating the entire house. With zoning, you control the temperature in individual areas of your home with multiple thermostats, so your winter heat temp doesn’t have to be high throughout your home. When you zone the bedrooms separately from the living area, for example, you can set a lower temperature for sleeping and a warmer temperature for areas where you spend more time.
  • Seal Up Air Leaks - To help maintain the average house temperature in winter, it’s important to seal air leaks that allow cold outdoor air to enter. Caulking and weather-stripping leaky windows and doors are effective ways to cut down on drafts, keeping your home more comfortable while spending less on heating bills. You can also use seasonal door draft stoppers to add holiday cheer to your home while keeping out pesky under door drafts.
  • Add Insulation - Although your attic and walls should be insulated, check that your attic’s insulation isn’t packed down. Insulation only works if it has dead air space or looks “fluffed,” so if your storage has accidentally packed down your insulation, or you notice that it has been flattened, it may be time to spread additional insulation in your attic to keep the cold from creeping into your home.
  • Change fan direction – Modern day fans can spin either direction, so if your fan is spinning clockwise it’ll push down warm air that naturally rises to the ceiling. Since fans can decrease temperatures by 4 degrees, turn off all fans if you’re prone to feeling cold.

Learn more ways to improve your air quality and how to maintain the correct temperatures in your home throughout the seasons with our helpful tips.