What is the right temperature?

What are the right temperature settings for my home?  For example, what is the right temperature for my baby’s room?  Or the living room?  How should the temperature be varied for someone who is in poor health?

These are common questions to ask.  Because you want to work out what is best for the health and comfort of members of your household.  You also want to understand what settings are energy efficient & eco-friendly.  And you'd like to know what will save you money on your heating bills.

This article looks at recommendations for the right temperature in different rooms.  It then shows how installing smart heating can help you keep to your chosen temperatures.  The products Homesmart supplies and installs - Honeywell Evohome multi-zone systems and Nest smart thermostats - are used as examples.

Best temperature for a room

Research by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has shown that there are health risks from keeping your rooms too cold.  And while there is no conclusive evidence about rooms being too hot, the WHO have recommendations for a maximum healthy room temperature.

It is also important to be more careful when heating rooms used by older people, babies and young children.  And you need to take special care of those with chronic illnesses, especially anyone with breathing difficulties.

Minimum temperature

18ºC is the suggested minimum temperature setting for those in good health.  In practice, you should be heating your home based on the age and health of your household, with higher temperatures for older people and the ill.

For countries with temperate or colder climates, 18 °C has been proposed as a safe and well-balanced indoor temperature to protect the health of general populations during cold seasons.

World Health Organisation Housing and Health Guidelines, 2018

Ideal temperature

You may also want to take into account what is energy efficient and not too expensive when choosing your temperatures.

The Energy Savings Trust suggests that you should have room temperatures in winter at the lowest comfortable level.  This is typically 18ºC-21ºC.

Maximum temperature

It is recommended that the maximum indoor temperature should not be more than 25ºC.  Overheating is not good for the circulation or the heart.

“Indications are that the Indoor minimal risk temperature for heat related health effects in London is 22-23 ºC and the indoor maximum acceptable temperature is ~25ºC”

WHO Housing and Health Guidelines, 2018

Baby's room

Babies’ bedrooms or nurseries are obviously very important when it comes to setting temperatures.  Babies are sensitive to heat and cannot easily control their temperature or tell us what is wrong.

It is therefore recommended that you keep the temperature of your baby’s bedroom between 18ºC and 20ºC.  It is also really important to check if your baby is too warm.

Evohome Multi-zone in Typical house with Nursery temperature

Other bedrooms

Adults and children sleep best if they are not too hot.  So it is advised not to heat the bedroom too much.  If you are cold, it is best to add more blankets or a higher rated duvet to your bedding, rather than increase the room temperature.

Healthy adults should get a good night’s sleep at the lower end of 18ºC - 20ºC.

Living rooms

It’s really up to you, and the others in your household, to decide on the temperature you all want. Those who are mainly sitting down or are frail, are more likely to need a higher temperature; while those who are more active or younger are happy when it is cooler.  If you can’t agree on the right temperature, then there will have to be a compromise.  Some people will have more layers of clothing and others wear lighter clothing.  And, of course, as mentioned above, you need to check on a baby’s temperature regularly.

Multi-zone heating, as described below, provides a flexible solution.  It allows different rooms to be heated to different temperatures.  This is great for individual comfort, though can be worse for spending time together.

Home Office

Increasing numbers of people are working from home at least some of the time, and using one of their rooms as their home office.  If you are at home more often during the day then you will almost certainly want more heating.

If your home is unoccupied some days but not others, then make sure you can easily alter the heating on different days.  Smart heating is great in this case.  Its mobile apps make it easy to change heating schedules as required.

Multi-zone heating can also be a great benefit for those with a home office.  It allows you to have the office heated to a comfortable temperature, while any unused rooms are at a lower temperature.

How smart heating can help with setting the right temperature

There’s no one answer for the best temperature.  It can vary depending on who’s in the home, what they are doing and how they are feeling.  Which is where smart heating can be so helpful in providing flexibility.

Smart thermostats, smart hubs and mobile apps make it easy to adjust for comfort when you want.  And they help you cut down on wasted energy and high bills when heating is not needed.

Mobile apps for smart heating systems allow you to change the temperature even when you are not at home.

Coming home early and want it to be warm when you arrive? Just a couple of clicks and you can set it up.

Ill in bed?  You don’t even need to get out of bed to turn up the heating – do it from your mobile.

And if you’ve forgotten to turn down the heating when you go out, or are staying out for the evening and don’t need your home to be so warm, use your app to turn it down, reduce your bills and help fight climate change.

You’ll find the Nest app and the Honeywell Total Connect Comfort app really easy to use.

Remote control

Mobile apps for smart heating systems allow you to change the temperature even when you are not at home.

Coming home early and want it to be warm when you arrive? Just a couple of clicks and you can set it up.

Ill in bed?  You don’t even need to get out of bed to turn up the heating.  Do it from your mobile.

And if you’ve forgotten to turn down the heating when you go out, or decide to stay out longer?  You don’t need your home to be so warm.  So use your app to turn it down, reduce your bills and help fight climate change.

You’ll find the Nest app and the Honeywell Total Connect Comfort app really easy to use.

Positioning your Nest smart thermostat

One other advantage of a smart thermostat is the ability to position it in the room you want.

Traditional wired thermostats are often placed in hallways which can be draughty.  So your boiler is made to work overtime heating the hallway, while other rooms are overheated.

Of course, you might turn down the setting, estimating the hallway temperature at which the other rooms will be warm enough.  But this is difficult to work out, especially if the hall receives blasts of cold air from outside.

Better is to have the thermostat in a room you use a lot and where the temperature is stable.  With a stand for your Nest thermostat you can easily position it in the room you want.  The stand just needs a socket to plug in the power cable.

With a stand, you can also change the position when you need, although you shouldn’t change it all the time.  The Nest is a learning thermostat.  It takes a few days to learn fully how long it takes to heat any room to the correct temperature.

You can find out more details on our Nest thermostat page.

Multi-zone

You may already have multiple zones in your house with different heating circuits each controlled by their own thermostat.

In this case, you already have the flexibility to set temperatures for each zone separately.  Change your existing thermostats for smart thermostats like the Nest,  This then provides the advantages of remote control and positioning for each zone, as described above.

However, you can also create more zones in your house with systems like Honeywell Evohome.  This will then allow you to set different temperatures for different rooms giving comfort exactly when and where you need it.

It also allows you to turn down the heating in rooms that are not being used – saving you money and well as being eco-friendly by reducing energy use.

For more information read our detailed article on multi-zone heating

Summary

You should heat bedrooms to between 18ºC and 20ºC and living rooms should not be heated above 25ºC.  Older people, the ill and those with respiratory conditions need higher temperatures than the young and more active.  It is particularly important to make sure that your baby’s room or nursery is not too hot.

For more comfort, and to avoid wasting energy, smart heating solutions will quickly pay back your investment.

Read our article on the benefits of smart heating for more details of cost savings and CO2 reductions.