Elizabeth HeathUpdated: Sep. 29, 2022
Do touch that dial! Finding the best temperatures to set everything in your home can keep you comfortable and save money, too.
Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.
Silas Bubolu/Getty Images
Why Temperature Settings Are Important
Where we set the temperatures of just about everything in our home — whether it’s the bedroom or the garage, the refrigerator or the whole-home thermostat — determines how comfortably we live and how much money we pay in utilities.
According to Energy.gov, the U.S. Department of Energy’s consumer website, home heating alone accounts for 42 percent of our annual utility bill. And adjusting thermostats up or down depending on the season can save as much as 10 percent annually on heating and cooling costs.
So those little temperature variations matter — a lot. Take a look at the best temperatures to set everything in your home.
Best Temperature to Set Your Refrigerator
To keep refrigerated food safe, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends an interior fridge temperature of no higher than 40 degrees F, while Energy.gov says 35 F to 38 F is best.
If you have a newer fridge with an adjustable digital temperature control, choose the temperature that’s best for the amount of food you typically have on hand. A full refrigerator will run a few degrees warmer as it works to cool its contents.
Older and non-“smart” fridges have temperature dials that can be set from one to five, or sometimes one to seven. The middle-to-high end of the dial should be the equivalent of 35 to 40 F, but you may want to invest in an old-school fridge/freezer thermometer to better ensure accuracy.
Ideal Refrigerator Temp: Between 35 F and 40 F.
Best Temperature to Set Your Freezer
This is an easy one — 0 is the magic number! Frozen food kept at 0 F will stay good indefinitely, though long-term freezing may alter taste and consistency, particularly of prepared foods. If there’s a dial on your freezer separate from the fridge dial, set it on a mid-to-high number.
And here’s a tip from Energy.gov: To confirm the freezer is cooling properly, stick an appliance thermometer between frozen items. For a true reading, check it after 24 hours.
Ideal Freezer Temp: 0 F.
Best Temperature to Set Your Home in Winter
Energy.gov recommends 68 F as the optimal temperature for your home in winter for comfort and energy savings. If you can go a few degrees lower than that in the evening, you’ll save even more money. Sleep experts say you’ll have a better night’s sleep, too.
Ideal Home Temp In Winter: 68 F.
Best Temperature to Set Your Home in Summer
For air-conditioned homes, the optimal temperature for energy savings and personal comfort is 78 F. Keeping the house higher than 80 degrees, says Jason Gassman of Bell Brothers Heating and A/C, Inc., will make it humid and force your A/C system to work harder. Settings lower than 72 F can overwork your air conditioning system and cause it to freeze up.
Ideal Home Temp In Summer: 78 F.
Best Winter Temperature for Your Cabin
If you plan to visit here and there without closing it up, you can turn temperature down to the 50 F to 40 F range.
If you’d rather not leave the heat on, take care to winterize your cabin. Drain the water out of the toilet tanks and disconnect the water supply from the toilets. Open all sink and shower/tub taps to just a drip — the slight but constant flow of water will help keep pipes from freezing. And remove any canned or bottled goods that could freeze in extremely cold temperatures.
Ideal Cabin Temp In Winter: No lower than 40 F to 50 F.
Best Temperature to Set Your Bedrooms
You might be surprised (we were!) that the National Sleep Foundation recommends the same bedroom temperature in winter and summer — a cool 65 F. Our body temperature decreases at night, so a lower room temperature is actually better for sleeping.
In the winter, figure on extra blankets and heavier PJs if you turn down the dial. In the summertime, you’ll save money by sleeping with the thermostat as high as 78 F — and with a lot fewer clothes on!
And keep in mind that some smart thermostats allow you to adjust the temperature of specific rooms, such as the bedroom, without cooling off the rest of the house.
Ideal Bedroom Temp: 65 F.
Best Temperature to Set Your Water Heater
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the highest safe temperature for a water heater is 120 F. Anything higher can result in scalding and even third-degree burns.
Optimal safe shower and bath temperature is between 100 F to 105 F, so you could conceivably set your water heater lower to save money. Your dishwasher and washing machine heat their own water so they’re not dependent on the water heater setting.
Ideal Water Heater Temp: 105 F to 120 F.
Best Temperature to Set Your Storage Room
Non-living spaces of your home, such as that storage room, walk-in closet or mudroom, can be kept cool in the winter, as low as 59 to 65 F.
And in the summer, make sure closets and storage rooms stay cool enough to preserve sensitive contents such as photos, keepsake clothing and important documents. Those can be damaged by mildew and condensation in warm, closed-off environments. Like the rest of your home in the summer, these spaces should be kept no warmer than 80 F.
Ideal Storage Room Temp: 59 F to 65 F in winter; less than 80 F in summer.
Purple Collar Pet Photography/Getty Images
Best Indoor Temperature for Your Pet
Your dog or cat is probably used to your favored in-home temperature. But if you turn the thermostat up in the summertime when you leave the house, just remember that animals with heavy fur coats can heat up quickly — 80 F is the maximum safe temperature for pets when you’re not home.
In winter, most furry pets can tolerate temps as low as 60 F. But remember that small dogs, short-haired or hairless breeds, older pets and those with health problems need to stay warm and cozy. So if you lower the thermostat during the day, make sure to provide a warm place for them to sleep.
Ideal Temp for Pets: Within a few degrees of “normal” temp, depending on the animal.
Best Temperature to Set Your Basement
If you have an insulated finished basement that your family uses in the winter, the underground or partially underground location will probably keep temperatures around 60 F — comfortable for daytime use. An unfinished basement will get colder, and that cold air will make your home heating system work harder. Try using rugs and even roughed-in insulation to warm the space to at least 55 F.
In the summer your basement will probably stay cooler than the rest of the house, but keeping it at 80 F or lower will help suppress humidity and mildew.
Ideal Basement Temp: 55 F to 60 F in winter; less than 80 F in summer.
Best Temperature to Set Your Pantry
If your dream kitchen includes a walk-in pantry, you’ve likely stored a lot of dry food there. Keep it from going bad by maintaining a constant temperature of between 50 F to 70 F. Tile, stone or marble floors and walls can help keep temperatures down, and you can install small computer fans to pull air out of the pantry.
To help keep dry food cool in kitchen cabinets and non-walk-ins, store it away from the oven, range, dishwasher or fridge.
Ideal Pantry Temp: 50 F to 70 F.
Originally Published: October 30, 2020
Elizabeth Heath is a travel, culinary and lifestyle writer based in rural Umbria, Italy. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, HuffPost, Frommers.com, TripSavvy and many other publications. Her guidebook, An Architecture Lover's Guide to Rome, was released in 2019. Liz's husband is a stonemason and together they are passionate about the great outdoors, endless home improvement projects, dogs, their unruly garden and their slightly less unruly 8-year-old.
When setting your thermostat, most homeowners find 72 is a good temperature for air conditioning. However, you may need to adjust that setting based on weather conditions. The bigger the difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures, the higher your energy bill will be.What should I set my temperature in my house? ›
The average room temperature is typically around 20°C, or 68 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a good ambient temperature to aim for, but it is important to bear in mind that different rooms will need to be heated to specific temperatures.Is 72 a good temperature for heat in the winter? ›
68 to 72 degrees is a temperature range that is not too warm or cool, and is sufficient enough to warm up the home just enough so that everyone is comfortable regardless of the type of clothing they have on.What is the best temperature to leave an empty house? ›
Whether you plan to leave for a vacation or for the season, most heating and cooling professionals recommend setting the thermostat to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature will reduce your heating costs and minimize the risk for hazards such as frozen or burst pipes and flooding.Why does my house feel cold at 73? ›
Your house could be cold due to an old air filter, a faulty furnace, improper insulation, or leaky ductwork. The simple fixes, like replacing an air filter, are relatively easy to complete. However, if the heater itself needs repairs, it's best to call in a professional to take a look and determine the problem.Is 75 a good temperature for AC to save money? ›
Energy Saver recommends setting your air conditioner to 78 degrees when you wake up, 85 degrees during the day, and 82 degrees when you're sleeping to save the most money.Is it cheaper to keep house at constant temperature? ›
Keeping your home at a constant temperature generally means that your HVAC system will run constantly to meet it. This means that your furnace or air conditioner may run when you're asleep, at work, or out of the house. This wastes more energy than the minimal amount that you might save by having it constantly run.Is it cheaper to have heating on low all day? ›
According to experts at the Energy Saving Trust, the idea it's cheaper to leave the heating on low all day is a myth. They're clear that having the heating on only when you need it is, in the long run, the best way to save energy, and therefore money.What is an unhealthy room temperature? ›
A safe temperature is accepted to be between 68 and 74 degrees Fahrenheit for people above the age of 65. The temperature inside your home should not reach below 68 degrees Fahrenheit in any case, as that increases the risk of respiratory disease and even hypothermia if there is prolonged exposure.What temperature is happiest? ›
Most people's bodies are happiest when their inside temperature sits around a nice 36.5-37.5℃.
72 is a comfortable temperature for many people, but if you are consistently finding that it is too cold for you, don't put pressure on yourself. Wrap up warm and put your thermostat a few degrees higher.Is 75 too high for heat in winter? ›
Typically, our bodies are most comfortable when the air inside our home is 74-76 degrees. So, a safe setting is 75 degrees. However, this is only necessary when you're in your home. If you're like most, you are gone during the day.Is it healthier to keep your house warm or cold? ›
Keeping your house cool, especially during the night, offers a lot of advantages. Your body uses body fat to keep you warm in cold conditions. If your home is cool, your body will naturally help you keep fat off. Many bugs that can be found in houses can't survive in cold weather.Is it unhealthy to keep your house cold? ›
Cold homes contribute to excess winter mortality and morbidity. Most of the health burden can be attributed to both respiratory and cardiovascular disease, especially for older people. In children, the excess winter health burden is mostly due to respiratory disease.What temperature should I set my pipes to not freeze? ›
Regardless of how long you will be traveling and away from home, keep your thermostat set at 68 degrees Fahrenheit or above. This will help to keep the pipes on the inside of the home from freezing and the ones under the home at a slightly higher temperature as well.What temperature should a house be for a 70 year old? ›
What Is the Ideal Room Temperature for an Elderly Person? Research has shown that the average and safe room temperature for older adults is around 78 degrees. To prevent an elderly adult from becoming too cold, it is recommended that the room temperature never falls below 65 degrees.Why is my house so cold even with the heating on? ›
The reasons your house is cold even with the heat on could be because of poor insulation, your furnace not working properly, rooms with high ceilings, or your heating system doesn't cover the whole house. Each of these issues can prevent your home from properly heating.Does turning the heat down at night save money? ›
For every degree that you lower the thermostat can help you save up to 1% on your heating costs. So, if you turn down the heating eight degrees for about eight hours a night, you can enjoy a saving of approximately $180 annually on your heating.What should I set my AC to at night? ›
The ideal AC temperature for sleeping is around 65°F (18.3°C). However, this may differ between individuals, who might find their ideal AC temperature lies between 60 and 67°F (15.6 and 19.4°C).How do I set my thermostat to save money? ›
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. The percentage of savings from setback is greater for buildings in milder climates than for those in more severe climates.
|70°F||90 Minutes||360 Minutes|
|72°F||52 Minutes||324 Minutes|
|75°F||0 Minutes||270 Minutes|
Is it better than leaving it on steadily? ANSWER: Turning your heat on and off is not cost effective, since your system will have to work extra hard for extra long to get the temperature back up.What is the cheapest most efficient way to heat a home? ›
As a general rule, heating your home with a natural gas furnace is the cheapest way to keep warm through the winter months. Electricity is usually significantly more expensive than gas, so even the most efficient heaters will be a bigger drain on your pocketbook than a traditional furnace.What should I set my thermostat to in winter to save money? ›
Experts at the Energy Saving Trust recommend heating your home to between 18C and 21C this winter. According to the trust, turning your thermostat down by just 1C can save up to 10 per cent on your yearly energy bills.What time is the cheapest to put the heating on? ›
“I would recommend turning your heating off at night, or when you are not at home, as this will help to save energy and lower your bills,” says Collier. Temperatures are lower first thing in the morning and once the sun goes down; this is when you are most likely to want the heating on.What's the cheapest temperature for heat? ›
Set your thermostat to 68 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter
According to ENERGY STAR, setting your thermostat to 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) when you're home is the ideal balance of comfort and energy efficiency.
The trick is to set your heating to come on half an hour before you get home or get up, and set it to switch off half an hour before you no longer need it. This is because an average home takes around 30 mins to heat up when the heating comes on and 30 mins to cool down when it goes off.Can sleeping in a cold room make you sick? ›
“You can't get sick from being cold in general, whether you are outside or inside,” Fecher says.Is 68 degrees cold in a house? ›
The Department of Energy recommends a winter heat setting of 68 °F (20 °C), which matches up very well with the temperatures most of us are comfortable with.Is it better to sleep in a cold room or a warm room? ›
The best temperature to sleep is cooler rather than warmer. Temperatures above 75 degrees and below 54 degrees can disrupt a person's sleep. A cooler temperature is the ideal environment to fall asleep and remain asleep throughout the night. Over a 24-hour period, our body temperatures naturally peak and decline.
Merriam-Webster gives as a medical definition a range of 15 to 25 °C (59 to 77 °F) as being suitable for human occupancy, and at which laboratory experiments are usually performed.Where is the best temperature to live? ›
The No. 1 city with the best weather in the U.S.? Honolulu, Hawaii. Honolulu took the top spot with an average annual temperature of 77.7 degrees. While the city endures an average of 93 rainy days per year, it also averages 90 sunny days and zero days where the temperature dips below freezing.What is the most comfortable inside temperature? ›
Depending on the season, the ideal house temperature for both comfort and efficiency is between 68 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. In the summer, the recommended thermostat setting is 78 degrees F. In the winter, 68 degrees is recommended for energy savings. However, these temperatures aren't perfect for every situation.Why does 75 feel cold in my house? ›
To get — and keep — a sponge-like house at 75 degrees on a hot day, Mastropieri says you need to continuously introduce air that is cooler than 75 degrees. Depending on everything from the size and efficiency of the house to the temperature and humidity outside, that air can sometimes be significantly cooler.What should thermostat be set at in winter? ›
The ideal thermostat temperature in the winter is 68 degrees Fahrenheit when you're at home. Energy.gov suggests that 68 degrees is a good room temperature while you're awake at home but recommends lowering it while you're asleep or away.Why should you keep your house at 78 degrees? ›
Keep your house at 78 degrees to save energy during hot months, federal program recommends. Energy Star also said you should set your thermostat to 82 degrees when you're sleeping. The coolest you should keep your home is 78 degrees when trying to save energy during the spring and summer months.How can I lower my heat bill in the winter? ›
- Turn Down Your Water Heater. ...
- Replace Your Furnace Filters. ...
- Maintain Your Doors And Windows. ...
- Turn Down Your Thermostat. ...
- Close Unused Vents. ...
- Turn On Your Ceiling Fan. ...
- Check Your Attic Insulation. ...
- Turn Your Bathroom Fan Off.
People commonly suggest closing doors in unused rooms to make a room warmer, but this can harm your HVAC unit. Optimal airflow circulates throughout the entire home evenly, and closed doors act as a barrier. When you close off an entrance, much like blocking a vent, your system cannot do its job properly.Is 80 a good temperature for heat in the winter? ›
According to the US Department of Energy, it's best to keep your thermostat at 68 F for most of the day during the winter season. For maximum efficiency, you should also designate eight hours per day during which you turn the temperature down by between 7 and 10 degrees.What temperature do bugs hate? ›
It's been known for some time that almost no insect can survive for long in temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
And The World Health Organisation (WHO) suggests 18 degrees is the ideal temperature for healthy and well-dressed people. Both agree this is also the ideal temperature for sleeping. In practice, you should be heating your home based on the age and health of your household.Is 65 too cold for a house? ›
Even if you keep your temperature between 60°F and 65°F, your home or apartment may not be warm enough to keep you safe. This is a special problem if you live alone because there is no one else to feel the chilliness of the house or notice if you are having symptoms of hypothermia.What cold temperature kills germs in the house? ›
Science and health researchers and experts agree that cold temperatures don't kill all germs. Dermatologist Alok Vij shares in a Cleveland Clinic article that you need to reach a temperature of 80 degrees below freezing or even colder to actually kill bacteria and other germs.Do hot or cold water pipes freeze first? ›
It is a strange thing that hot water pipes freeze quickly than cold water pipes. By increasing the temperature of your house, you can attempt to unfreeze the frozen pipe. The development of ice cubes is more complicated because of high temperatures, and hot water pipes are more undoubtedly to crack.Do you need to turn on all faucets to keep pipes from freezing? ›
Yes, it's recommended you leave a faucet on with water at a drip to keep pipes from freezing. If you know where the water comes into your house, turn on a faucet at the opposite end to keep the water circulating.How many faucets should I let drip? ›
How many faucets should I let drip? You only need to let one faucet drip, but it's best for that faucet to be the one farthest away from where the water enters your home. The city of Portland and Consumer Reports both have some quick-and-easy tips on what to do if a pipe does burst or the water freezes.Is 72 too low for air conditioner? ›
This is more of a personal question, as different people feel comfortable at different temperatures. Since 72 degrees is generally agreed upon to be an ideal indoor temperature, most people would probably still feel comfortable setting their AC units slightly higher than this, perhaps at around 75.Is 73 too cold for AC? ›
At 30% humidity levels, 75°F feels like 73°F. According to some sources, 73°F is a bit chilling. World Health Organization puts comfortable indoor levels between 64°F and 75°F. The best thing to do is feel what temperature you feel comfortable at.What should the AC be set at in the summer? ›
You want to be comfortable this summer without spending a lot of money on air conditioning, right? While you ultimately must decide what temperature you feel comfortable at, the US Department of Energy and Energy Star suggest that the best AC temperature is 78°F for summer days.What is the best AC temp to save money? ›
According to the Department of Energy1, 78° Fahrenheit is the sweet spot for air conditioners to balance energy savings and comfort when people are at home and need cooling.
Typically, our bodies are most comfortable when the air inside our home is 74-76 degrees. So, a safe setting is 75 degrees. However, this is only necessary when you're in your home.Is 78 too high for AC? ›
It turns out that the best indoor temperature for your home during the summer months is 78 degrees, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. If that temperature falls outside your comfort level, there are several ways to modify how your home feels without causing your energy bill to spike.Can a cold house affect your health? ›
For a vulnerable person, living in a cold home increases their chance of serious illness or death. They are at higher risk of a heart attack or stroke, breathing problems, flu, depression and falls.Can a cold house make you sick? ›
4Low indoor temperatures and insulation. Cold air inflames lungs and inhibits circulation, increasing the risk of respiratory conditions, such as asthma attacks or symptoms, worsening of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and infection.How long should it take to cool a house from 75 to 70? ›
|70°F||90 Minutes||270 Minutes|
|72°F||52 Minutes||234 Minutes|
|75°F||0 Minutes||180 Minutes|
Keeping your home at a constant temperature generally means that your HVAC system will run constantly to meet it. This means that your furnace or air conditioner may run when you're asleep, at work, or out of the house. This wastes more energy than the minimal amount that you might save by having it constantly run.Is 68 too cold for AC? ›
The lower limit
Even when the temperature outside isn't at heatwave levels, we recommend you don't lower the AC's setting below 68°F. This temperature is already more than cool enough for most people, and many will find it too cold.
HVAC manufacturers typically advise users not to run their units for extended periods if the temperature is below 65 degrees Fahrenheit. If you need to test your unit, you should do so after the weather has been risen to 60 degrees Fahrenheit for at least three days.Is 68 too cold for house? ›
Average House Temperature in Winter
The Department of Energy recommends a winter heat setting of 68 °F (20 °C), which matches up very well with the temperatures most of us are comfortable with.