The ideal house temperature may surprise you—but it will save you money
Saving money, one degree at a time
Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.
For couples or roomies who naturally thrive in different temperature zones, the thermostat can be anxiety-inducing and relationship-breaking.
It's hard to find the perfect temperature for everyone in your house: not too cold, not too hot.
According to Energy Star—a partnership between the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency—there is an ideal temperature for your home, depending on time of day, whether you're at home, and other factors. Energy Star determined this temperature with energy efficiency in mind, and, when using the recommended temperature settings on a programmable thermostat, consumers can save around $180 every year.
Ready? Let's punch in some numbers.
What's the best thermostat setting to use energy efficiently and save money?
This depends. Are you using heat or are you using central air?
During summer, or anytime in hot climates, Energy Star recommends programming your home at temperatures between 78°F and 85°F, which is ideal for when you're at home. You can bump it up to 85°F whenever you regularly leave the home (like for work during the day) and then, at night, the report recommends dropping it back down to a balmy 82°F for sleeping.
When colder temperatures ride in over winter and you turn your heat on, Energy Star recommends setting your thermostat between 62°F and 70°F, the former during the day when you're gone as well as overnight while you sleep, and the latter while you're up and about in the morning and in the evening.
Energy Star explains that for each degree that you raise your thermostat, you'll save about 3% on your energy bill. Which can add up fast in savings.
Find the right thermostat setting for you
While Energy Star's recommendation may save you the most money, it doesn't necessarily mean that these temperatures are best for everyone. Reviewed's senior manager of lab operations Jonathan Chan explains that it all depends on your lifestyle and preferences.
For example, if you're someone who has difficulty sleeping, you may lower the thermostat significantly at night. The National Sleep Foundation has previously said that the ideal sleep temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees.
However, if you do want to cut costs, Chan—who doesn't turn the air conditioning on in his own home until outdoor temperatures reach 80 degrees—has some advice for adjusting to a higher temperature.
He says, "I think people should take a day and try 'creeping' up the temperature," he says. "Start at 68 and increase the temperature one degree every 45 minutes until it's 78 degrees."
Other ways to save money on your energy bill
Besides keeping your thermostat set at Energy Star's recommended temperatures, there are other easy ways to lower your energy bill each month and still stay comfortable.
Chan recommends, "Doing simple things like keeping the shades closed in the day and drinking plenty of water will help keep you cool." Likewise, there are changes you can make around the home to stay warmer in the winter, like covering your windows and sealing your doors.
You can also turn on an electric fan—or ceiling fans if you have them—to circulate cool air around the house. They're much more energy efficient than an air conditioner, using about 1% of the electricity that your AC uses.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.