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Average room temperature – How hot should I keep my house?

Average room temperature – How hot should I keep my house?

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Last updated: 26 May 2023

Keeping the rooms of your house at the right temperature will be good for your health and for your budget, helping you keep your energy bills down to a minimum.

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How warm should I keep my house?

In terms of looking after your health, both the UK government and WHO (World Health Organisation) advise the following general room temperatures:
  • A minimum of 18°C for the average person
  • A minimum of 20°C-21°C for the more vulnerable (young children, the elderly, and the unwell)
  • Optimum of between 18-21°C
Therefore, temperatures lower than 18 or higher than 24 can pose a risk to your health. However, the UK government also suggest differing temperatures depending on the room type:
  • 21°C for bathrooms, living rooms and dining rooms
  • 20°C for kitchens
  • 18°C for bedrooms, hallways and cloakrooms.

How have average room temperatures changed?

Due to improvements in central heating systems and higher standards for home insulation, the average room temperature in the UK has increased significantly. In 1970, the average room temperature in winter was about 12°C.

What is the right thermostat setting to use?

The average setting in the UK is 20.1°C. 70% of centrally heated homes are heated twice a day - normally in the morning and the evening, which limits heat loss in the evenings and during working hours.

Will maintaining the right average room temperature save me money?

Of course, having a colder house will mean having a lower heating bill. It is generally thought that every degree you increase your thermostat by will add an extra £60 to your heating bill per year. The better your insulation is, the more efficient your heating system will be though, so you can get away with keeping your home warmer for less..

According to Ovo Energy, the biggest saving you can make is by turning down your thermostat from 20°C to 18°C - this could save you £139 a year, though this will vary depending on how well your home is insulated and how big it is, etc.

If this would be too great of a temperature decrease, turning off heating in unused rooms can save you £24, and regularly maintaining your heating system can save you £18. Try delaying the start of heating your home for the winter. If the change is made from October to November, Ovo Energy estimates that you could save up to £30.

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I have set my thermostat to the optimum temperature but feel uncomfortable, what should I do?

It is important to properly use your thermostat, ensuring that it is set up correctly, so that you don’t waste energy.

Turning up your thermostat very high (higher than your desired optimum temperature) won’t make your house heat up quicker. The heating will simply come on at full blast until the temperature on the thermostat is reached. But what will happen is that energy will be wasted when the system goes over your desired room temperature, using unnecessary energy and money.

What to do if you feel too cold in your house

Check for draughts around windows and doors before you turn up the thermostat, as these can make things feel a lot colder without you realising. Draught excluders can be a quick and easy solution to this and can be bought cheap from many stores.

What to do if you feel to hot in your house

Check if your thermostat is in a part of the house which is unusually cold, for example a draughty hallway. If you set your thermostat to 18°C in a room like this, it may never reach this optimum temperature, meaning your heating will be on constantly, running up your bills and overheating your home. If this is the case, even if your thermostat is set at 21°C, your living room could be reaching 24°C.

It’s often more efficient to heat your whole home than just the rooms you are in, but this varies on house size, the number of rooms used and the heating system in place. If your individual radiators are adjustable, keep the temperature lower in less used rooms.

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Michael Quinn

Author: Michael Quinn

Michael is a dedicated author helping usave to write guides, blogs and news for the last four years. When not writing articles, you can usually find him at wine tasting events or having a political debate on the night tube.

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