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Average thermostat temperatures (SOLVED)

PowerpuppiesPowerpuppies Registered User regular
edited December 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
My roommates and I are having a disagreement about what constitutes a reasonable or normal thermostat temperature for the winter. Internet research only yielded a bunch of links encouraging setting the thermostat lower to save energy.
What do you guys consider a "comfortable" temperature?

If some roommates want it colder to save money and others want it warmer and are willing to spend the money, what do you guys think would be a reasonable solution?

Can anyone find any actual data on average winter thermostat settings or something similar?

Powerpuppies on
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Posts

  • BedlamBedlam Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Id say 70-72 would be average. Or least somthing that most people would be able to find comfortable. I have nothing to back this up other than thats what I put mine at.

    I think they say even putting it at 68 could save you a bunch of money though. I guess its whatever you can come to an agreement on though.

    Maybe suggest to the people who want it warmer to invest in sweaters? That dosent seem to unreasonable.

  • Grid SystemGrid System Registered User
    edited December 2008
    If I had a thermostat, I'd set it at around 17-18 degrees (Celsius) during the day, and 15-16 at night.

    The ones who want it warmer should spend their money on a sweater or two.

  • takyristakyris Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    I'm sort of an odd case in terms of the house, because we have this bizarre thermostat that, if it had a voice system, would pretty much just say, "DO YOU WISH TO INCREASE THE TEMPERATURE BY 15 DEGREES (Y/N)?" We end up having to set it fairly low (in the 60s) so that when the temp finally does drop low enough for it to fire on, the resulting heat doesn't roast us all.

    I consider low to mid 70s normal. My etiquette at work is that you go as low as the most cold-loving person in the room wants to go, unless that results in finger numbness or something. The people who want it warmer can always put on a sweater, but people who want it colder, in a shared environment, can't just strip.

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  • unilateralunilateral Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    When I lived with 7 other people in college, we kept the thermostat at something like 65. We figured this would save money and keep everyone happy at the end of the month when the bill came. It worked out alright for the most part. If it was too cold, you'd just have to dress warmer or have a blanket on. Of course, our house was also ridiculously drafty, so we also factored in that a higher setting would force the furnace to run WAY more than we wanted it to.

  • HedgethornHedgethorn Associate Professor of Historical Hobby Horses In the Lions' DenRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    My observation is that the typical ranges for thermostat settings in the Upper Midwest are:

    60 or less: People who can't afford to turn the heat on.
    62-66: People who don't mind being cold to save a few bucks.
    68-72: Pretty average.
    74+: People who prefer comfort over the cost.

    The roommates who want it warmer should invest in small portable space heaters and throw an extra $5-$10 towards the electric bill every month. Then those who want it warmer get warmth in their spaces but the cheap roommates don't get the benefit of heat they're not paying for.

  • MrOlettaMrOletta Registered User
    edited December 2008
    We keep ours (gf+myself) at around 62F. It's not too cold, and it's easy enough just to throw on a sweater, put on an extra pair of socks, or walk around in flip flops instead of just socks.

    Sure we could afford to pay more, but it's not a huge inconvenience. We're soon getting a space heater for the restroom, however.

  • PolloDiabloPolloDiablo Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    I keep mine at 71.

    Honestly, if you would rather save money over being cold, just leave the heat off. If I'm fine paying the shitton to keep it running, I'm comfortable paying the little extra to keep it comfortable.

    I did a quick search, and it seems most utilities companies recommend keeping it set at 68 degrees. I also find it strange that this thread popped up on that search.

    Be excellent to each other you stupid cunts.
  • LewieP's MummyLewieP's Mummy Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    18C during the day, 10c after 10:30 pm, until 6:00 am - mind you, British winters don't go much below freezing for more than a few weeks, and I've just opened the gas/electric bills for Lewie's house!

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  • PowerpuppiesPowerpuppies Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Thanks guys... we agreed to keep it at 68 (I wanted 70, but couldn't find any real evidence that most people keep it 70-72). I don't like wearing a robe all day, but it looks like I don't have a choice. At least I don't have to wake up to 10C chill... I've lived in Arizona all my life and am a huge baby when it comes to cold.

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  • HedgethornHedgethorn Associate Professor of Historical Hobby Horses In the Lions' DenRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Try wearing a hoodie instead of a robe. You'll be surprised how much the hood helps maintain your body heat.

  • Steve BennettSteve Bennett Registered User
    edited December 2008
    I've always found it confusing that people use heat as an area of cost savings, particularly while forking out hundreds of dollars a month on things like cell phones and dinning out. Not saying the OP is like that (having roomates and all), I'm just talking in a general social sense. It seems so very back asswards to me to scrimp on necessities while spending on luxuries... it's like being ok living in a shack whilst driving a BMW. Just my opinion though.

    I keep my house at 22 Celcius (71.6 F), but even that is a bit cold on particularly cold days when its colder than -20C with windchill (-4 F), as the wind causes cold bubbles particularly around windows.

    Personally, I find that even 20C (68 F) will result in my extremeties (hands and feet) being cold after 30 minutes, which makes typing tough and is not acceptable for me working as a software dev.

    I use a programmable thermostat so save energy and money, as having heat when nobody is home is not particularly necessary, and most people prefer it a bit cooler to sleep. Cost savings and increased comfort = win win.

  • CrashtardCrashtard Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    I use a programmable thermostat so save energy and money, as having heat when nobody is home is not particularly necessary, and most people prefer it a bit cooler to sleep. Cost savings and increased comfort = win win.


    This is what you want to do. These things can save you so much money. We use one at home and it makes a pretty decent difference.

    I pinky swear that we will not screw you.

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  • PowerpuppiesPowerpuppies Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    it's like being ok living in a shack whilst driving a BMW.

    To be clear, I am the "big spender" of the household. I think 72F ideal, 70 fair, and 68 unreasonable. May look into the hoodie situation. The programmable thermostat will never happen in our house because being students we are in and out all the time, so there are few hours when nobody is home, and I hate sleeping in the cold more than being awake in the cold (though even I will admit it doesn't make sense).

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  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Here's the thing about cutting down heat: the higher you are, the more marginal benefit you get out of lowering the temperature.

    Say it's 50 degrees out and you keep your thermostat at 70. You use more energy getting from 69 to 70 than you do getting from 68 to 69. You use more energy getting from 68 to 69 than you do getting from 68 to 67. This continues on down the line. In addition to this, you're cutting your most expensive energy use first. Usually, it's billed something like: first 500 kWh @ $.01/kWh. Next 500 kWh@ .015/kWh. Next 500 kWh @ $.02/kWh. Etc. This means that if you cut your usage by 100 kWh, they're the 100 most expensive kWh you're using. So, you get stacking benefits from cutting a couple of degrees off of your thermostat.

    It's worth noting that it's snowing outside right now, and we don't have the heat on in my apartment. Our average monthly power bill, in spite of two computers running pretty much constantly? $20. That's combined. It runs us about $10 each per month.

  • illigillig Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Here's the thing about cutting down heat: the higher you are, the more marginal benefit you get out of lowering the temperature.

    Say it's 50 degrees out and you keep your thermostat at 70. You use more energy getting from 69 to 70 than you do getting from 68 to 69. You use more energy getting from 68 to 69 than you do getting from 68 to 67. This continues on down the line. In addition to this, you're cutting your most expensive energy use first. Usually, it's billed something like: first 500 kWh @ $.01/kWh. Next 500 kWh@ .015/kWh. Next 500 kWh @ $.02/kWh. Etc. This means that if you cut your usage by 100 kWh, they're the 100 most expensive kWh you're using. So, you get stacking benefits from cutting a couple of degrees off of your thermostat.

    It's worth noting that it's snowing outside right now, and we don't have the heat on in my apartment. Our average monthly power bill, in spite of two computers running pretty much constantly? $20. That's combined. It runs us about $10 each per month.

    see, to me that's just unimaginable... it's absolutely impossible to be comfortable at home when it's cold inside... and don't try to tell me that your house is "warm" if you don't have the heat on in winter...

    i 2nd the question someone else posted a few posts up... why would you (and not just you Thanatos, but all of the other eskimo wanna-bes in this thread) be willing to put up with discomfort just to save a few measly bucks at home? (i'm assuming you're employed... if jobless and broke, then please ignore my question)

  • wasted pixelswasted pixels Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    illig wrote: »
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Here's the thing about cutting down heat: the higher you are, the more marginal benefit you get out of lowering the temperature.

    Say it's 50 degrees out and you keep your thermostat at 70. You use more energy getting from 69 to 70 than you do getting from 68 to 69. You use more energy getting from 68 to 69 than you do getting from 68 to 67. This continues on down the line. In addition to this, you're cutting your most expensive energy use first. Usually, it's billed something like: first 500 kWh @ $.01/kWh. Next 500 kWh@ .015/kWh. Next 500 kWh @ $.02/kWh. Etc. This means that if you cut your usage by 100 kWh, they're the 100 most expensive kWh you're using. So, you get stacking benefits from cutting a couple of degrees off of your thermostat.

    It's worth noting that it's snowing outside right now, and we don't have the heat on in my apartment. Our average monthly power bill, in spite of two computers running pretty much constantly? $20. That's combined. It runs us about $10 each per month.

    see, to me that's just unimaginable... it's absolutely impossible to be comfortable at home when it's cold inside... and don't try to tell me that your house is "warm" if you don't have the heat on in winter...

    i 2nd the question someone else posted a few posts up... why would you (and not just you Thanatos, but all of the other eskimo wanna-bes in this thread) be willing to put up with discomfort just to save a few measly bucks at home? (i'm assuming you're employed... if jobless and broke, then please ignore my question)

    A couple of computers built with high-end parts (regardless of how up-to-date they are) will put out a TON of heat, easily enough to keep a room comfortable. My girlfriend and I have the heat turned off in our apartment, and our two computers keep things so toasty we have to keep the windows open.

    In Canada.

    BTW, I got a message from Obs that equated installing OS X on a PC with car theft, murder and rape. Is he normally like that?
  • Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt (effective against the Irish) Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Because it's not unbearable discomfort? I lived in Japan for five years, where they believe in neither central heating, nor home insulation, and although I once had the water in my sink freeze, and used an electric or kerosene heater periodically, for the most part it was just a matter of dressing sensibly, and running the heater at 20 degrees for a couple of hours. Acceptable cold is something you get used to, and frankly, in the long wrong, putting on a sweater instead of running the thermostat 5 degrees higher all winter is a much more sensible option.

    It's also really depends on the individual. I find 65F during the day perfectly acceptable, I just wear socks and a sweatshirt around the house. If I just wore a short sleeve shirt, I'd probably be freezing.

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  • Last SonLast Son Registered User regular
    edited December 2008

    It's also really depends on the individual. I find 65F during the day perfectly acceptable, I just wear socks and a sweatshirt around the house. If I just wore a short sleeve shirt, I'd probably be freezing.

    This. The temperatures that people are comfortable at vary wildly. For me 65 is an incredibly comfortable temperature and I like when it gets cold because it allows me to actually wear clothes I like. When it gets to 72+ I generally strip to just a pair of light pants.

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  • LewieP's MummyLewieP's Mummy Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Mmm, just wear more clothes if you're cold with the heating on at 20C!

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  • Sir CarcassSir Carcass I have been shown the end of my world Austin, TXRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Buy a Snuggie. I have no experience with them as I like it cold, but they look comfortable.

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  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Buy a Snuggie. I have no experience with them as I like it cold, but they look comfortable.

    That's like... a robe.

  • DmanDman Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    I keep the temperature at 69, but right now I'm sooo envious of you guys. My drafty apartment has been cold all weekend because its -30 C outside (-40 with the wind chill) and the heating can't keep up. D:

  • SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited December 2008
    Surely you should keep your thermostat at the same temperature all year round? The point of a thermostat-controlled central heating system is that, when the heating is on, it heats the house to the desired temperature. A comfortable living temperature is going to be the same in the winter as it is in the summer. The thermostat automatically controls how long the heating is on for to reach that temperature, once the thermostat registers the desired temperature being reached, the heating cuts off to save energy (and avoid baking the residents).

    So my answer is, the thermostat should be set to whatever is a comfortable temperature for you and your fellow house mates providing you can afford it.

    If you want to 'game the system', sneakily turn down the radiator in whichever room has the thermostat and turn your radiator right up. Then the whole heating system will work harder and longer to heat that room up with the net benefit that your room will receive more heating. Be warned however that if all your house mates also have their radiators turned up high then their rooms will also get hotter and they may collectively decide that the thermostat can safely be turned down lower to save bills.

  • Grid SystemGrid System Registered User
    edited December 2008
    A comfortable living temperature is going to be the same in the winter as it is in the summer.
    That's not true at all. If you live somewhere that actually has, you know, seasons, then you'll find yourself dressing very differently depending on the weather. In summer I usually just wear shorts, a t-shirt, and sandals, whereas I'll have jeans, socks, a shirt, and a sweater on in winter. There's no one magical temperature where I'd be equally comfortable in either.

  • SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited December 2008
    Ok, sure. On the assumption that you wear the same clothes around the house all year then a comfortable living temperature is going to be the same in winter as it is in the summer.

    But yes, you can modify that temperature by wearing less or more clothes. If you want to wear shorts, a t-shirt, and sandals around the house in the winter then you could run the thermostat at a higher temperature (and keep at that temp in the summer - it will just run for a shorter period). Or you can run it at a much lower temperature and just wear more clothes inside, both in summer and winter.

    The point is, usually people will want to wear more or less the same clothes around the house in winter and summer. On especially hot summer days they may resort to walking around in y-fronts and a string vest but normally it's going to be pants+tshirt/shirt and/or sweater. They will put on their heavy coat, scarf, gloves and hat when they go outside in the winter or maybe go without the sweater and maybe strip down to shorts when they go out if it's a hot day.

  • tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    In the winter when you go outside you wear a sweater or whatever under your jacket to keep warm. So in the winter I keep my house at a temperature where I can wear that inside as well (sweater, not a jacket) so you don't strip off all your clothes when you come into the house.

    We keep our house at around 66 in the winter, and I turn it down at night when we go to sleep. If you get too cold even with warm clothes on, you can just turn up the thermostat.

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  • PowerpuppiesPowerpuppies Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Regarding the same temperature business, It's 105F outside in June and 45F outside in December. I'm comfortable between 70 and 77 degrees F. So if I had my choice, I would keep it at 70 when the outside temperature is <70 and 77 when the outside temperature is > 77

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  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    illig wrote: »
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Here's the thing about cutting down heat: the higher you are, the more marginal benefit you get out of lowering the temperature.

    Say it's 50 degrees out and you keep your thermostat at 70. You use more energy getting from 69 to 70 than you do getting from 68 to 69. You use more energy getting from 68 to 69 than you do getting from 68 to 67. This continues on down the line. In addition to this, you're cutting your most expensive energy use first. Usually, it's billed something like: first 500 kWh @ $.01/kWh. Next 500 kWh@ .015/kWh. Next 500 kWh @ $.02/kWh. Etc. This means that if you cut your usage by 100 kWh, they're the 100 most expensive kWh you're using. So, you get stacking benefits from cutting a couple of degrees off of your thermostat.

    It's worth noting that it's snowing outside right now, and we don't have the heat on in my apartment. Our average monthly power bill, in spite of two computers running pretty much constantly? $20. That's combined. It runs us about $10 each per month.
    see, to me that's just unimaginable... it's absolutely impossible to be comfortable at home when it's cold inside... and don't try to tell me that your house is "warm" if you don't have the heat on in winter...

    i 2nd the question someone else posted a few posts up... why would you (and not just you Thanatos, but all of the other eskimo wanna-bes in this thread) be willing to put up with discomfort just to save a few measly bucks at home? (i'm assuming you're employed... if jobless and broke, then please ignore my question)
    The thing about cold is that you get used to it. I'm not claiming our apartment is warm or toasty or something; I wear slippers while I'm home, and that helps a ton. However, we're on the West Coast, and even though it's unusually cold right now, it's just under freezing. If I were in the Northeast or something, I'd probably be running the thermostat just to keep the apartment from getting frost. I mean, I'm a pretty big guy, with a healthy amount of personal insulation, but my roommate is skinny as fuck, and even though I told him to go ahead and turn on the heat if he wanted to, he said "fuck that," and just put on an extra couple of layers. This from a couple of guys who grew up in fucking California.

    The other thing is that if you have to go outside, having your house at 70 degrees is massively uncomfortable. Even when heating was free to me (when I was in college in upstate NY), I still tried to keep the room at about 50 degrees or so. Why? Because when I had to go to the dining hall, or to class, or to work, I'd rather be going from 50 degrees to -10 degrees than 70 degrees to -10 degrees.

    As for the "you only save a little bit of money," I don't know about you, but $50-$75 per month for three-to-four months is a fucking shitload of money to me. That's, like, potentially a brand new computer, or at the very least a new video card, or an Xbox 360, or a new television (the one we currently have is pretty janky). Of course, I'm talking about this from the perspective of the extreme position of not having heat at all, versus having it at 68 or so, but still, unless you have that much money to--almost literally--burn, the discomfort is really minimal.

    Anyhow, if you guys really want to continue talking about this (and I think it's an interesting subject), feel free to make a thread in D&D.

This discussion has been closed.