Ryan Gill, Engineer
31 Jan : Updated 11 May ● 13 min read
The opinion of the ideal room temperature is an argument that nearly every British family has at some point.
But did you know that there is a correct answer?
Each room in the house has an ideal room temperature, and that temperature fluctuates depending upon who uses that specific room or how the space is used.
It should be noted that it is completely normal for different people to have different preferences regarding room temperature.
This guide is not about deciding who is right and who is wrong.
The room temperatures discussed in this article are simply those of general agreement by experts in the relative fields of health and finances.
According to research, the average room temperature is between 18°C and 21°C. However, the ideal room temperature is considered to be approximately 18-19°C.
This changes depending on the amount of moisture in the air: if the moisture level is low, the temperature inside your home should be higher.
This list shows what room temperature you should set the thermostat at to create a healthy and comfortable environment at the most cost-effective rate.
Living rooms represent a communal place in the home where most families tend to spend the most time. Thus, the size of the room and the number of people whose body temperature is contributing to the ambient temperature does cause fluctuation. However, the ideal room temperature for the living room is between 20°C and 22°C.
Like a living room, a study can be used quite extensively. If you use it as a home office, you could be there 8 to 10 hours, five days a week. So, it needs to be comfortable. The ideal room temperature for a study is also between 20°C and 22°C.
Kitchens are typically one of the warmer rooms in the house, primarily due to cooking. As such, the thermostat can be set a bit lower. The ideal room temperature for a kitchen is between 18°C and 20°C.
The bedroom temperature is critical. Not only do we spend approximately one-third of our lives in our bedroom, but a good night's sleep is crucial for our daily lives. Also, a child's bedroom needs to be kept warmer than an adult's simply because younger children cannot regulate their body temperature as effectively as adults.
Generally speaking, the ideal temperature for bedrooms is between 15°C and 22°C, and the younger the person, the warmer it should be.
Unless you enjoy sitting and shivering or stepping out of the shower and freezing, bathrooms have the highest room temperature in the entire house. The ambient temperature for a bathroom is between 22°C and 24°C.
Hallways and entry rooms are transient areas with more opportunity for heat loss and less body temperature to stabilise the temperature. They are also areas that remain empty 99% of the time. Thus, hallways and entry rooms should be set to cooler temperatures. The ideal temperature for hallways is between 15°C and 18°C.
Storage rooms can be a bit tricky. Where they are located in the house matters, such as in the garage compared to the attic, and what is stored affects the room temperature.
Generally speaking, if you are going to heat a storage room, you should treat it as a hallway. And, the higher in the home it is located, the lower you can go.
BOXT commissioned a survey of over 500 UK participants via UK forums which revealed that, on average, Brits set their daytime temperature to 19.9°C. 2.4% of the surveyed participants had their central heating set at temperatures above 22°C.
According to Uswitch, households could save around £80 per year by simply turning their heating down by 1°C. With an average daytime temperature of 19.9°C, you could trial turning your heating down by 2°C to maintain a comfortable home temperature while saving £160 per year.
The ideal room temperature for the best night's sleep is between 16°C and 18°C, according to The Sleep Council.. Again, age is the biggest factor in this. Babies, toddlers, and the elderly should be at the higher end of the range.
BOXT’s research also revealed that Brits set their nighttime heating to 18.1°C on average. Although this is a relatively low figure, Brits could still benefit from turning the thermostat down by up to 2°C.
According to The Sleep Charity, the ideal room temperature for a comfortable night’s sleep is between 16°C to 18°C. To achieve this temperature, homeowners can reduce the temperature on the thermostat or turn radiators/the boiler off temporarily at night. Avoid temperatures above 24°C, and below 12°C as temperatures that are too high or too low can impact your deep REM sleep and cause restlessness.
The Sleep Charity states, “your body heat peaks late afternoon and then starts to drop in the evening to prepare your body for sleep, kickstarting melatonin production. An ideal bedroom temperature is around 16-18°C (60-65°F).” An exception is “young children and elderly people (who) may require a slightly warmer environment.”
The study revealed that 64% of participants set their nighttime temperature either below or above 16°C to 18°C. Only 36% of the surveyed participants set their nighttime temperature to the recommended range. If your bedroom temperature is 18°C or above and you feel tired or restless at night, reducing the room temperature could result in a better night's sleep and lower energy bills too.
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As previously stated, the home's temperature throughout the year should be around 18-19°C. This means central heating should maintain the ideal room temperatures for each room throughout the year.
These temperature ranges and settings do not change from season to season, but the amount of work your heating system needs to do will.
Cold air humidity is one of the biggest factors for achieving ambient room temperature during the winter season. This factor alone will keep the room temperature fluctuating.
The ideal room temperature during the winter is between 18°C and 20°C.
Instead of constantly attempting to chase an ambient room temperature during the winter season, it is more economical to use blankets and wear warm clothing when relaxing around the house (Yes, dad was right).
Andy Kerr, the co-founder of BOXT, said: “During winter, it can be tempting to crank up the thermostat. But experimenting with different temperatures can both reduce energy bills and potentially lead to a better night’s sleep.”
“Instead of setting one temperature across the whole day, try switching between daytime and nighttime temperatures, as this may make you more comfortable at home and also reduce your energy usage. Smart thermostats make this especially easy to program.”
The reverse may seem obvious for the summer, but keeping the room temperature down can be as challenging as keeping it warm. Keeping windows open is an effective way to deal with air humidity and help keep a lower room temperature.
The ideal room temperature during the summer is between 17°C and 19°C.
Also, unless you need duvets to sleep, then don't use any or at least lighter ones to help keep you cool through the night.
You might want to consider an air conditioning system to help keep your home cooler in summer.
A cold room can be very damaging to the health of someone aged 65 or older. The elderly are a high-risk population for weather and temperature-related health issues.
For homes with a resident who is 65 or older, the UK Health Security Agency recommends a room temperature of between 18°C and 21°C, which is especially important to monitor in the bedroom. The NHS further recommends drawing the curtains, keeping doors closed, and using extra blankets or hot water bottles if necessary.
A baby's body cannot regulate body temperature as effectively as an adult can. In addition, it is tough for babies to tell you whether they are too cold or too hot. To ensure that your baby gets a good night's sleep, the ideal temperature for a baby's bedroom is anywhere between 16°C and 20°C.
It is very normal for pregnant women to feel warmer. After all, pregnant women have the body temperature of two people to regulate. Thus, it is critically important for pregnant women to stay cool and hydrated.
The ideal room temperature for a pregnant woman is the ambient temperature in which she feels comfortable. There is no set ideal room temperature for this situation.
If, during pregnancy, you have questions about the heating and cooling of your home or cannot seem to get warm or cool enough, you should seek the assistance of your medical provider. We are not the experts in this area to consult, but we can help you create the ideal temperatures you need as advised by your doctor.
BOXT found that only 27.3% of surveyed participants scheduled their boilers, with 12.6% programming their heating to come on in the morning and evening and 14.6% scheduling specific times throughout the day.
The survey revealed that 21.3% of participants leave their heating on permanently, while 51.4% don’t schedule their boiler at all.
Of those who didn’t schedule their boilers, the majority turned the heating on according to demand, which in some cases meant that participants rarely had the heating on.
Andy Kerr continued: “To minimise instances where you leave the heating on accidentally or let the home get too warm, try scheduling specific times and temperatures throughout the day. You can also use a smart home thermostat, like the Google Nest, to create a schedule based on your home heating preferences.
“Leaving the heating on permanently can lead to a rise in energy bills. In properties with less insulation, heat is quickly lost in the colder months, so scheduling your heating to come on just before you come home from work will save a significant amount of money and may not alter the indoor temperature you arrive back to by much.”
Thermal comfort is as much a science as a relative issue, but numerous factors affect and influence room temperature.
The factors that tend to affect thermal comfort the most include:
Temperature extremes, including your home's temperature, can be dangerous to your health. Remember, the ambient temperature directly affects and alters your body temperature. So, it is not simply the room temperature that matters.
A room temperature that is too high is anything extreme above the average room temperature listed above, which results in raising your body temperature into unsafe zones, specifically room temperatures above 32°C.
Between 32°C and 40°C, you can experience issues of exhaustion, fainting and heat cramps.
Above 40°C and heat exhaustion is very common, and activity should be limited.
Once the temperature reaches 54°C, heatstroke is common.
A room temperature that is too low is anything considerably below the average room temperature listed above, specifically a room temperature below 17°C.
Between 15°C and 17°C, you can experience shivering and a drop in body temperature in elderly people.
Between 14°C and 15°C can result in a less effective immune response to respiratory diseases.
Below 14°C can increase blood pressure, increase the risk of cardiovascular issues, and even hypothermia at extreme levels.
Cold air also isn’t effective in transporting water vapour. Because of this, the water vapour will deposit onto the surfaces of your home, which can effectively lead to mould growth.
Smart technology is taking over every aspect of our homes. The range of smart technology for your central heating includes:
This technology can regulate every square metre of your home to optimise comfort in the most cost-efficient manner.
To ensure optimum comfort and a reduction in energy bills, BOXT suggests the optimal boiler calendar as demonstrated by the graphic below.
BOXT suggests leaving the boiler on between the times of 6.30 AM and 10.30 PM, turning the boiler off or reducing the temperature whenever you leave home or go to work. This will make sure your boiler is both effective and efficient.
Your boiler can be turned on or up to daytime temperature half an hour before waking up, making it cosy enough to leave the quilt behind. The temperature should be reduced, or the boiler turned off half an hour before going to bed to prepare the body for a restful night’s sleep.
Further energy savings can be made by reducing the boiler temperature when residents leave home. The Google Nest detects when you’re away from home and alters the temperature using this information. You can also change the temperature from your phone if you leave or arrive at home unexpectedly.
Maintaining the ideal room temperature is important for several reasons, including:
So, what do you think?
Room temperature is a combination of cost and comfort. Which one you favour is your family's decision.
Read our guide for tips to use your boiler more efficiently.