Who’s Really Right? Picking the Ideal Home Temperature

Wednesday Nov 17th, 2021

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Gord Brown

 

There’s one thing considered the most contested item in every household. No, not the TV remote—it’s the thermostat. It’s mere existence sparks controversy, conflict, and outright wars. We’re here to help settle those at-home battles over the thermostat using straight facts. Everything from our household members, to the time of day, the season, and different activities performed in your home play into what the ideal temperature is for your home. 

Let’s see if you were really right all along, or if you’ll have to concede to other family members!

 

What exactly is room temperature?

Room temperature is described as the reading within a room using a thermometer, and is the temperature that an individual can remain comfortable at when fully clothed, usually between 20 C and 22 C. The WHO (World Health Organization) also recommends this range as a measure in maintaining overall good health and wellbeing.

Because everyone’s body temperatures and comfort levels differ slightly, the ideal room temperature differs from one person to the next. Room temperature itself will also change based on the season, as we tend to keep it slightly warmer during winter and cooler during summer to reduce heating and cooling costs to some degree (pun intended!).

Image via Erik Mclean, Pexels

While you’re awake

While it’s recommended to keep your thermostat set between 20 C and 22 C, this may not always be a comfortable setting for everyone. If you tend to run hot, you’ll want to stick to the lower end of that range or below, and the opposite will be the case if you run cool and need a little extra warmth to feel comfortable.

While you’re sleeping

It could be argued the temperature you set your thermostat to at night is the most important one. Why? Two primary reasons are Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep and infant health (for families with little ones). 

Studies have found REM sleep is directly affected by the temperature of the room you’re sleeping in. Our bodies expend a great deal of energy to maintain our core temperature, but the part of the brain that controls thermoregulation shuts down during REM sleep. When your nighttime temperature is ideal, falling into REM sleep becomes easier. You might wonder why REM sleep is so important—this is the stage of sleep when your brain “recharges.” It’s when it processes and assimilates your experiences and memories and also prepares your mind for the next day’s challenges.

Infant health can also be impacted by temperatures that are too low or too high, since babies cannot regulate their body temperature yet. For these reasons, the Sleep Foundation recommends setting your thermostat to a range of 16 C to 19 C at night to promote a healthy sleep for adults and children over two, and setting the thermostat one-to-two degrees warmer for infants, but no greater than 20.5 C.

Image via Jonathan Borba, Unsplash

Chores and workouts

Our body temperature tends to increase with the exertions of household chores and workouts, which would make you think keeping as cool as possible is the way to go. Surprisingly, fitness experts suggest a range of 20 C to 21 C is ideal for a workout, as it’s cool enough for you to feel comfortable during physical exertion. This is good advice to follow for chores as well, given that similar levels of effort are required.

Image via August de Richelieu, Pexels

Your home office or virtual classroom

Now that many folks are working from home, the ideal temperature in your home office can have an impact on your performance and productivity. A Cornell University study discovered the cooler the office temperature, the less happy employees were and the more errors they made during the workday. The study suggested raising the room temperature from 20 C to 25 C reduced errors by 44% and increased keyboard output (productivity) by 150%, while also boosting a worker’s sense of happiness. So, don’t be afraid to raise your home office temperature to 25 C to elevate your productivity, accuracy, and mood!

If you’ve been wondering what the best temperature is for your resident virtual student, then it’s a safe bet that 25 C is it—unless, of course, they prefer a cooler temperature. If contention arises, this would make a fun science experiment!

Image via Jeffrey Czum, Pexels

When you’re away

HVAC experts recommend adjusting your thermostat down by 2 C to 5 C when you’re not home during the winter, and bumping it up similarly in the summer. This gives your HVAC system a breather, and you can save on energy and maintenance costs in the short and long terms.

Image via Tima Miroschnichenko, Pexels

While you may still have a battle on your hands with fellow household members over the right temperature in your home, you now have the knowledge for a more peaceful—and comfortable—outcome. 

So…were you right? Or did you just lose thermostat privileges?

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