We’re Settling The Arguments, Find Out the Optimal Interior Temperature For Your Home This Winter
Finding the Right Range for the Indoors in Winter
There are cultures where is customary to let in the winter chill by opening the windows. In these cultures, it is a commonly held belief that the cold air will keep sickness away and keep those exposed to it strong over the course of the winter. In other cultures, the exact opposite belief is held up to be true. In these cultures, no matter how hot and stuffy it may get in a room, one never opens the window to let in a little fresh air. Death lurks in drafts, it is believed, and to open a window is to invite sickness into your home.
These larger cultural differences regarding the appropriate temperature to keep a home in the winter can be mirrored in smaller groups, too. Families and even couples can have strongly differing opinions about what temperature to set the thermostat in the winter.
The economics of heating a home in colder climates notwithstanding, there actually is an optimal interior temperature for your home in the winter months – or at least an optimal range of temperatures, depending on where you live.
The Right Temperature for Your Health
Despite what your elders may have told you when you were growing up, there really is no optimal temperature for general human health. You are not more or less likely to get sick in the winter if your home is kept at seventy-five, or sixty-five. That said, the World Health Organization has stated that their standard temperature for comfort is sixty-four degrees for “healthy adults who are appropriately dressed,” and recommends for the sick, disabled, very old or very young, a minimum of sixty-eight degrees.
But these standards are for comfort, and not necessarily for health. For many people, optimal interior temperature has to do more with personal preference and the monetary and environmental costs of energy. That said, in colder climates that experience an abundance of precipitation and humidity in the winter months, a certain amount of heat is necessary to keep dangerous molds and fungi from growing behind furniture, in carpets, and even in the walls themselves.
Beyond Heat, Other Ways to Keep Your Home Comfortable in the Winter
As mentioned above, temperature by itself isn’t necessarily the only component of maintaining an ideal interior environment. Depending on where you live, the winter months can be extremely dry and warrant the running of a humidifier to keep your skin from drying out. Alternatively, they can be very damp and require you to run your furnace higher than you’d like just to keep the damp at bay.
Depending on what energy source your home’s heating system uses, there may be other additional issues that come with running the heat, including issues like carbon monoxide, fuel fumes, static electricity, and even soot to contend with.
These issues may dictate a different temperature for your home than even your next door neighbor would use to optimally set their thermostat to heat their home. At the end of the day, then, there is really no one right temperature for everyone.
Finding the Sweet Spot for Your Home
At the beginning of this post, we offered to settle the argument for you, to define what the optimal temperature for your home is. Other than the WHO’s recommended minimums listed above, we haven’t exactly provided you with a definitive answer.
So what exactly is the optimal interior temperature for your home this winter? That is, unfortunately, a question you will have to answer for yourself, depending on where you live, your heating system, your age and health, and the weather. Good luck!