What temperature should I set for my rooms?

What is the right temperature?

What are the right temperature settings for my home?  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 some commonly asked questions as homeowners try to work out what is best for the health and comfort of members of their household.  They also want the answers to understand what settings are energy efficient & eco-friendly and what will save them money on their heating bills.

This article looks at recommendations for the right temperature in different rooms, and then at how installing smart heating, such as a Nest smart thermostat or a Honeywell Evohome multi-zone system, can help you keep to your chosen temperatures.

Best temperature for a room

Research by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has shown that there are health risks from keeping your rooms at too low a temperature; and while there is no certain evidence of the effect of rooms being too hot, the WHO have recommendations for a maximum room temperature that is likely to be healthy.

It is also important to be more careful when heating rooms used by older people, babies, young children and 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 also not too expensive when choosing your temperature settings.

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 and 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 the most 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.

House icon showing heating and recommended 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 than those who are more active or younger.  If you can’t agree on the right temperature, then there will have to be a compromise with some having more layers of clothing and others wearing 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 another solution by allowing different rooms to be heated to different temperatures – great for individual comfort, though less good 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 this is true in your household, then you will almost certainly want to have the heating higher during the day than if there was no-one home.

If your home is unoccupied some days but not others, then it is worth making sure you have a heating system where you can easily alter the heating on different days as required.  Smart heating is great in this case, with its mobile apps making 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 during the day, with any rooms not in use being kept to 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 to cut down on wasted energy and high bills when you do not need the heating.

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

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 the 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 the setting can be difficult to work out, especially if the hall receives blasts of cold air from outside when the front door is open.

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 and takes a week or so to learn fully how long it takes to heat to the correct temperature after it has been moved.

Multi-zone

You may already have multiple zones in your house i.e. more than one heating circuit, each controlled by a separate thermostat.

In this case, you already have the flexibility to set temperatures for each zone separately.  Changing your existing thermostats for smart thermostats like the Nest 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 the Honeywell Evohome system.  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 especially those with respiratory conditions are likely to require 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.

To make it easier to get the comfort you want, and to avoid wasting energy, smart heating solutions will quickly pay back your investment.