What is the Ideal Room Temperature?

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Last updated: October 31, 2023

It is a fact of life that people’s ideal temperature preferences vary considerably, especially in a temperate climate such as in the UK. What is comfortable to one person may be either too hot or too cold to another. But while identifying the ideal room temperature is inevitably somewhat subjective, there are some guiding principles which will keep your home comfortable as well as being energy saving.  Clearly, not every room has the same ideal temperature. This depends on what the room is usually being used for. For example, a room used primarily for storage may have an average room temperature slightly cooler than a bedroom or bathroom.  In this article, we will look at the options for heating different rooms in the home in a variety of circumstances and with a view to the different types of people and even animals, that may be using that room.

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How to Heat Different Rooms

For the vast majority of us,  house temperature is generally controlled by a thermostat. A number of factors can influence your choice of thermostat temperature settings, but the goal is always to reach the optimum temperature for our  thermal comfort as well as being energy saving.

When faced with an older heating system, it is tempting to set the main thermostat to high and turn down individual radiators if required, but this is far from ideal. The boiler is forced to work very inefficiently and worse still, fuel is wasted. It is estimated that for every degree Celsius a home is heated more than is necessary, up to 6% is added to the energy bill.  The answer is to fit thermostatic radiator valves which allow much finer control of room temperature.

What is a Typical Thermostat Setting?

The following table shows recommended ideal room temperatures for each room or type of room in the house. All temperatures are given in degrees Celsius.

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Can I Heat my Home Quicker by Raising the Thermostat?

The short answer to this question is ‘no’. The temperature will not rise any more quickly but your energy bill most certainly will! It is much better to set your thermostat no higher than you actually need. No matter how high it has been set, the thermostat cannot make the boiler or heating system work any faster to reach your required room temperature.

How to Heat a Home Economically and Sustainably

More of us than ever are now concerned not only with the financial impact of our energy bills, but with our carbon footprint too. Modern home construction methods certainly go some way to reducing our domestic energy use, but even in an older property, there is often plenty that can be done to keep the home at a temperature that is both friendly to the environment, and to our bank balance. The most obvious way to achieve this is to use the thermostat wisely. There is a common misconception that the most economical way to heat a property is to leave the central heating on all the time. This is not always the case, especially if the occupants are out of the house during the day. Then, it is more efficient for the heating to be activated in the morning and evening, switching off or reduced during the working day. If we remember that a one degree reduction in room temperature can reduce the energy usage for that space by 6%, it is always worth reducing the thermostat by one degree to see if the difference is noticeable. If not, leave it at that. Then there is the building itself to consider. Maintaining the desired average room temperature efficiently, takes more than correct use of the thermostat. You will be fighting a losing battle if the house is not sufficiently insulated draft free and damp proofed to the highest standards achievable.

Can Smart Technology Help Control my Heating?

Smart technology has advanced in leaps and bounds in recent years and is now involved in many aspects of modern life. This includes the home heating system. Digital thermostats are just the start. Thermostatic radiator valves give much more precise control of room temperature than manual valves. More precise still, are smart thermostatic radiator valves which can be controlled remotely via a mobile phone or tablet. Smart thermostats are now available and they ensure that every area of the home is at the best temperature it can be. A good smart thermostat system can learn how the homeowner uses their central heating, and replicate that pattern of use for optimum efficiency and thermal comfort. But it goes much further. By using either motion detection or tracking your smart phone, the smart thermostat system can locate you personally and, by working out when you are likely to be coming home, adjust the heating accordingly. It can separate the home into various zones and control the ambient temperature of each independently. It can even monitor weather forecasts and adjust the heating to the prevailing conditions.


What is the Ideal Room Temperature for Winter and Summer?

Even within these guidelines, there are a number of variables. For example, what are the different room temperature changes to be set between winter and summer? Surprisingly they are the same. The thermostat will simply turn the heating down when it reaches the optimum temperature. But there are human factors to consider too, for example the age ranges of the people living in the property.

What is the Ideal Room Temperature During Pregnancy?

It is very common for pregnant women to feel too warm. While there is no standard best room temperature during pregnancy, it is important for expectant mothers to be comfortable and avoid dehydration, so lowering the temperature slightly can be beneficial.

What is the Ideal Room Temperature for Babies and Children?

Once the baby has been born, there is the temptation to turn the heating right up, but this is not recommended. Whilst babies lose heat more readily than adults, they are generally comfortable in an ambient temperature only slightly higher than their parents would choose, in the 16 to 20 degree range. There are risks associated with rooms being too warm for babies and young children. It has been demonstrated that higher bedroom temperatures increase the risk of mortality in young children. A major UK study revealed that raised ambient temperature  was found in a large number of cases of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

What is the Ideal Room Temperature for the Elderly?

At the other end of the age range are the elderly. Older people tend to be less active and are more prone to the effects of cold than younger people. It is recommended that the home should be kept at a minimum of 18 degrees for an elderly person. This is often quoted as the living room temperature, but applies equally to other rooms in the home. This is especially important at night when temperatures can fall further and use of extra bedding or a hot water bottle may be a good idea.

What is the Ideal Room Temperature for Pets?

We must not forget our furry friends either. Whilst exotic pets such as reptiles are likely to have their own heated accommodation, birds and mammals tend to be kept at the same average room temperature as their owners. Generally speaking, if you are comfortable, your dog, cat or parrot should be too. It is important not to let them get too hot. Dogs and cats have a higher body temperature than humans and do not sweat in the same way, so overheating can be a serious issue for them, even with a modest increase in room temperature. As a rule, large animals are more prone to overheating than smaller ones, but in any case they should not be in a room with an ambient temperature warmer than 25 degrees and 16 to 18 degrees is comfortable for most pets, particularly if they have a warm bed to curl up in. All pets should be monitored for signs of distress both from heat or cold and water should always be available as reduced air humidity on a cold day can dehydrate them.

What is the Perfect Temperature For Sleeping?

Whilst bedroom temperature, more than any other, might seem like a matter of personal preference, there is nevertheless, some consensus on what the ideal temperature for sleeping should be. It surprises some people that the recommended best temperature for the bedroom is lower than that of some other rooms in the house. It is suggested that 16 degrees is the optimum temperature to ensure a good, night’s sleep. Poor sleep has been found to be caused by being too warm far more often than being too cold in fact in over 50% of cases. In addition, being too warm when we sleep can cause hyperventilation (rapid shallow breathing) which is inefficient and can make us feel more tired in the morning. It is therefore much better to go to bed in warm sleepwear and have a slightly lower bedroom temperature for optimal thermal comfort particularly in the temperature range experienced in the UK.

With the cost of heating technology, particularly smart thermostat systems coming down, it now easier than ever to ensure that your home heating system is as efficient as it can be. Whilst the issue of personal comfort is primarily what influences how we control our heating systems, it is still entirely possible to enjoy reasonable energy usage without increasing your carbon footprint and your energy bills,  or sitting in a cold room, even in the fickle weather of the UK.

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