When it gets a bit chilly outside, most of us probably reach for the thermostat and crank it up a few notches. But how hot should the rooms in your house actually be? To ensure you’re not spending more on your household energy bill that you need to, we’ve put together a quick guide to what temperature you should really be warming your house to.
What is the average room temperature?
On average, households in the UK will have a room temperature in winter of around 18°C, as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The Energy Saving Trust recommends that you should set your thermostat to the lowest comfortable temperature, usually between 18 - 21°C.
The ideal room temperature for your household will vary depending on the age and health of your home’s occupants, but 18 – 21°C should be suitable for individuals in good health and suitably dressed for the time of year. The WHO suggests that if your household’s occupants are very old, young or unwell, then you should set your thermostat to a minimum of 20°C.
Does it matter if I don’t heat my home?
Not setting your home to a comfortable temperature can put your family and other occupants at risk during the winter months. The 1996 English House Condition Survey (EHCS), which was the last comprehensive study of indoor housing temperatures, revealed that not heating homes to optimum temperatures can affect the occupants’ health.
According to this study into Thermal Comfort and Control, the potential health risks of overheating your home to above 24°C can put you more at risk of strokes and heart attacks. However, underheating your home to below 16°C can increase the likelihood of respiratory diseases. Homes at a temperature of below 12°C put you more at risk of heart attacks and strokes and a room temperature of below 9°C can increase the risk of hypothermia.
Since the report, the 2015-2016 English Housing Survey revealed that the number of homes with central heating increased from 80% in 1996 to 92% in 2015. It also highlighted that homes with room heaters as their main heating source, which is the most inefficient and least cost-effective method of heating, dropped from 12% to 2% over the same period.
How can I heat my home for less?
As heating our homes is so important, ensuring it doesn’t massively inflate your energy bill is also essential. Here are a few ways you can cut the cost of your energy bill while still keeping your home safe and warm.
1. Turn down your thermostat
The Energy Saving Trust states that by turning your home’s thermostat down by just one degree could save £80 per year on your energy bill. It’ll also reduce your carbon footprint, making an annual saving of 350kg of CO₂. So, if your thermostat is a bit higher than it probably should be, turning it down to between 18-21°C could save you a lot of cash.
2. Improve your home’s insulation
Ensuring your home is well insulated is a great way to reduce the cost of your energy bill over the long term. Despite a few initial upfront costs, fitting loft insulation, wall insulation or even simply a hot water tank jacket can help reduce how much you spend on electricity.
For more information, check out our guide to home energy efficiency, highlighting the cost of each insulation type and its return on investment in reduced energy costs.
3. Make small lifestyle changes
If your thermostat is on the lowest comfortable temperature setting for your household, you could start thinking about other ways you can cut back on your electricity consumption. Simple changes, such as turning your washing machine down to 30°C, using a washing up bowl and defrosting your freezer can all save you money.
Take a look at our 10 easy ways to save on your energy bill for more simple ways to save.
4. Get a smart thermostat
Although they may be an expensive initial outlay, smart thermostats can help you regulate the amount of energy you use. By giving you more control and awareness over your home heating system, smart thermostats can help reduce the amount of energy wasted from heating your home when you’re not in.
Find out more about smart thermostats in our guide, ‘What is a smart thermostat?’
5. Switch energy supplier
If you’ve not switched your energy supplier in a long time, you could be overpaying for your energy. MoneySavingExpert.com suggest that you can save up to £300+ per year on your energy bill by simply switching your supplier.
Keeping your home warm throughout winter is essential for keeping your family safe and healthy. If you’re really struggling to keep up with your energy payments, have a look online to find out if you’re entitled to any discounts or benefits to help with your fuel bills.
At Co-op Energy, all our electricity tariffs are 100% green as standard. If you’re looking for a more eco-friendly energy supplier, have a look at our range of tariff options to find one that’s right for you.
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