Home Heating
December 13, 2004 7:13 AM   Subscribe

For all of you who live in Northern states/areas that get very cold in the winter--what temperature do you leave your house or apartment at in the wintertime when you're home (I don't mean during the day when you go to work and turn it down, etc.)? I'm having an argument with someone who thinks that "normal people leave the thermostat at 65 degrees in the winter."
posted by fabesfaves to Home & Garden (76 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My SO leaves hers at 67F. We keep ours a bit higher, maybe 70F.
posted by pmurray63 at 7:15 AM on December 13, 2004

65 while wearing a sweater or sweatshirt (it is winter after all) isn't that unreasonable.
posted by banished at 7:21 AM on December 13, 2004

From early Oct-early May we set the heater to 68-69 - we're a top-floor apartment so we get a lot of extra heat from the other tenants. The rest of the year the central air is locked on 72 degrees, which is in the range of optimal temperature for humans.
posted by Ryvar at 7:21 AM on December 13, 2004

65 is cold for me, although it's closer to what it was like for me growing up (me: "I'm cold." dad: "put on more clothes."). I usually go for 68 and will push it up to 70 if I'm feeling chilly.
posted by norm at 7:22 AM on December 13, 2004

Hate to disappoint you, but I leave my thermostat at 65 degrees in the winter. Actually, now that I think about it, the thermostat on the first floor is set at 62 because it runs a little "high".
posted by briank at 7:23 AM on December 13, 2004

Growing up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where they know from cold, my parents generally kept the thermostat at 20 C = 68 F. However, we would also turn the thermostat down to 17 or 18 C (about 65 F) when we were leaving the house for a several hours, as well as at night.
posted by Johnny Assay at 7:24 AM on December 13, 2004

65 (me) or 68 (if the girlfriend's been messing with the thermostat). In raw New England.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:24 AM on December 13, 2004

68F in Rhode Island
posted by knave at 7:25 AM on December 13, 2004

65F here. If it's winter you're going to be wearing more clothes and you don't want to get sweaty just because you're inside.
posted by stopgap at 7:28 AM on December 13, 2004

68-70F in Minnesota.
posted by Coffeemate at 7:28 AM on December 13, 2004

62 (me), 70 (wife)...so we normally have it at around 68 in northern indiana. I'm going to get one of those electric ones that you can program and use that to keep it down a bit lower at most times and turn it up when she wants it warmer i.e. early morning and in the evening.
posted by Numenorian at 7:28 AM on December 13, 2004

Worth mentioning, however, is that my idea of what is a reasonable temperature to keep the thermostat at has changed over time. As a kid, I hated sweaters / sweatshirts because they restricted my movement, so when it's 65 in a T-shirt, of course you're going to be cold. When you grow up and start to realize the cost of heating a large home though, 65 becomes more reasonable. I'm sure there's an element of either ruggedness... "I'm in a northern state and we're tough here", or of the "I'm a man, I can take the cold" sort of attitudes that play into it, but cost trumps it, at least in my opinion.
posted by banished at 7:30 AM on December 13, 2004

60-62 degrees in Somerville, MA with occasional peaks to 65-68. Although our heat is wonky and some rooms are warmer than others. It's really all about keeping the pet rabbits happy when Banjo and I are at work, and they got fancy built in fur sweaters.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:31 AM on December 13, 2004

68 during the day. 63 at night and when we're out. If I'm home alone, I usually leave it at 63.
posted by maurice at 7:39 AM on December 13, 2004

68 in New Hampshire, though I've lived in a few very drafty apartments where, in the interest of saving on pricey heating oil, I've been willing to try 62 and wear layers.
posted by schoolgirl report at 7:39 AM on December 13, 2004

Around or just over 70 for me. Heat is included in the rent, and if I have to wear heavy clothes everywhere else, then I am wearing a t-shirt at home, dammit.
posted by mendel at 7:40 AM on December 13, 2004

Between 66 and 70 degrees. Any hotter and my parrots molt.
posted by FunkyHelix at 7:52 AM on December 13, 2004

58 at night and when we're out, 62 when we're home. People who come to visit know to bring a sweater.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:53 AM on December 13, 2004

What Mendel said. I refuse to wear layers or shoes inside. That is why we moved out of caves and into apartments with heat included.
posted by dame at 7:55 AM on December 13, 2004

Response by poster: oh man you guys are killing me. i need some support! I'm with you, Mendel and dame!
posted by fabesfaves at 7:56 AM on December 13, 2004

I would agree with mendel et al, but the wife and I have compromised on 69 (no pun intended). We turn it down to near 60 at night and while we're out. (This is in western CT).
posted by Plutor at 8:02 AM on December 13, 2004

68, and it still feels cold. damn leaky windows. the wife turns it down to about 66 at night when we're under the down comforter. the cats don't like that as much, but they both have fur.
posted by caution live frogs at 8:03 AM on December 13, 2004

65F during the day in Detroit, although I do kick it up to 68F for getting out of bed and showering.

Used to keep it at 62F, but realized I could afford a bit more heat a few years ago.
posted by QIbHom at 8:05 AM on December 13, 2004

Not that it gets very cold in Raleigh/Durham, but when I was living alone there I'd keep it about 55 in winter. Absolutely fuckin-A glorious, excep the olive oil was too close to a leaky window and occasionally congealed. I'd keep it between 55 and 60 in summer too if it weren't stupidly expensive to do so.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:08 AM on December 13, 2004

We keep our heat at 62 when we're moving around and 64-65 when we're not, but we crank it way down to 50-55 when we're all sleeping or alll out. Anyone who wants it warmer is welcome to go outside and bring in some firewood and start a fire. There are frequently evenings when we're all sitting around the fireplace reading because it's the warm room in the house. This is in the place where we rent a room. At my house with the furnace woodstove combo, I keep the woodstove hot so the house is at 68-70 and then at night keep the furnace available for backup heat set to 45-50. Usually it only comes on once in the morning right before I get up. 50 is warm enough to keep the pipes from freezing in cold Vermont winters when I'm away. I learned, sadly, that 45 isn't always.
posted by jessamyn at 8:12 AM on December 13, 2004

70F when heat was included with rent. 65F now that I write checks to Detroit Edison.

Buy a nice cardigan and do like Mister Rogers when you get home.
posted by klarck at 8:15 AM on December 13, 2004

It seems to end up at 65 in my house although I'd happily keep it at 58 if I lived alone. At least the furnace is actually able to heat my place, my old 1905 Foursquare was so darn big that the furnace ran constantly in the vain attempt to heat ten rooms with eleven foot ceilings. I miss the woodwork and the stained-glass windows but not the $200 a month gas bills.
posted by octothorpe at 8:16 AM on December 13, 2004

We likes it cold... the temp in our house hovers between 62-64 pretty much all winter long, unless we have guests that are uncomfortable.

In the warmer months, we keep it between 72-74. We had the windows replaced and the horrible old asbestos siding covered with insulated siding 18 months ago to help with the heating and cooling costs.
posted by Irontom at 8:22 AM on December 13, 2004

75 For me, 70 for the wife, so it is usually at 70. I'm with mendel, dame, and fabesfaves. Why should the inside temperature vary throughout the year?
posted by bh at 8:23 AM on December 13, 2004

We keep it between 65 and 68, occasionally higher when we’ve just come in from, say, shoveling, and need a burst of heat. We value our down comforters, and wearing sweaters at home is the norm for us.

It's not just about the heating bill, but also about thoughtful use of energy. I don't mind bundling up a bit to ease up on the natural resources.
posted by boomchicka at 8:25 AM on December 13, 2004

65 (me) to 70 (her). If you don't have one, a programmable thermostat can help solve marital disputes. Ours goes down to 55 at night, then cranks up to 70 a half hour before Ms. Morning Person wakes up, then slinks back down to 65 as she leaves for work. Thermostats are less than $50 and you can easily install it yourself.
posted by LarryC at 8:31 AM on December 13, 2004

We live at 65 degrees F, here in Buffalo, NY. Can get bumped up to 68F for warding off a chill, but it comes back down after an hour.
posted by sacre_bleu at 8:42 AM on December 13, 2004

65 to me sounds like that story by H.P. Lovecraft (?) where the guy was basically a reanimated corpse and had to live with the air conditioning on all the time, or else he'd start rotting again.

But, comfort levels can vary a lot depending on draftiness, humidity, etc. And, the temperature at the thermostat isn't necessarily the temperature elsewhere in a building.
posted by gimonca at 8:45 AM on December 13, 2004

70 here in the UK.

I was in Florida last week so 72F this week.

Worth making the point that thermostat location & accuracy will have a bearing on actual temperature...
posted by i_cola at 8:48 AM on December 13, 2004

House in Cleveland. 55F if the house is empty, if we're sleeping, or if one of us is home alone. 60F if we're both home and going to be home for a while. If we're having guests for an extended period we may turn it up to 65F. Wear a sweater.

We had no control over the heat in a previous residence in Cambridge. It was regularly above 80F in there during the winter. That was fine but I sure as hell wouldn't pay for it.
posted by sohcahtoa at 8:48 AM on December 13, 2004

I hate "wear a sweater" people. 68-70 here (not cold climes, though).
posted by rushmc at 8:51 AM on December 13, 2004

62 unless I'm feeling cold for some reason. No sweaters or sweatshirts, I'm usually doing things though.
posted by substrate at 8:56 AM on December 13, 2004

55F if the house is empty, if we're sleeping, or if one of us is home alone. 60F if we're both home...

Why does temperature get changed depending on whether it's one person or both at home? Because the first person likes it colder?
posted by fionab at 9:05 AM on December 13, 2004

65 no matter where we live.
posted by onhazier at 9:08 AM on December 13, 2004

(minnesota) We've got the thermostat at 69 most of the time, but I've got a new fangled ceramic space heater in my office cranked to 74-75 most of the time. It says 69 but it _lies_, there is no way that's 69 degrees throughout the apartment.
posted by freshgroundpepper at 9:16 AM on December 13, 2004

>Why should the inside temperature vary throughout the year?

Because your clothing does? I hate putting on a sundress to be comfortable in 90-degree summer heat, then shivering in an overly AC'ed restaurant, or wearing jeans and a sweater to be OK when it's under 40 degrees outside and then sweating through a meeting.

When I was living on cold climes, I generally kept the thermostat between 60 and 65 when I was home in the winter, and the heat off whenever possible at night (I have the greatest down comforter ever).
posted by occhiblu at 9:20 AM on December 13, 2004

(I'm also a proponent of the pseudo-scientific theory that forcing your body through repeated, massive temperature changes throughout the day does not do anything good for your immune system.)
posted by occhiblu at 9:22 AM on December 13, 2004

From the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Act:

In Toronto the temperature must be a minimum of 21C (70 Fahrenheit) from September 15 to June 1.

Which reminds me, my apartment is too cold... time to call the landlord.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 9:34 AM on December 13, 2004

I like 65 to 69, not too hot, but warmer than outside by a long shot.
posted by kamylyon at 9:43 AM on December 13, 2004

62 overnight, 65 when home in the evening, up to 68 if I am chilled.

Put on a sweater! Wear slippers! I regularly meet Yankees up here to whom 58 is a perfectly comfortable household temperature.
posted by Miko at 9:45 AM on December 13, 2004

fionab: No, just if we're going to spend the money for 60F, we'd like to both be there to enjoy it. 55F is perfectly fine for us if you wear a sweater or stay active. 60F is more comfortable, but costs more.
posted by sohcahtoa at 9:50 AM on December 13, 2004

65 definitely seems to be the standard, and though we have a gas stove and not a thermostat. Personally, I can thrive easily at 50, but I've got more padding than most.
posted by abcde at 9:57 AM on December 13, 2004

In Wisconsin, I like to keep the thermostat at 70ish, my roommate likes to keep it at around 50 (at least it feels that way).
posted by drezdn at 10:02 AM on December 13, 2004

65-68 is the standard for most of the people I know (Boston and Cental Mass). I like it cold at night and either turn the heat off or if it's really cold put it at 55-60. During the day on the weekend it's usually cranked up to 70 if we're in, that is.
posted by rodz at 10:10 AM on December 13, 2004

As should be obvious from this thread, there is no "standard". But it always seems to be the people who enjoy freezing their butts off who think they're setting the thermostat to the 'standard' value.

I get cold very easily and am not well-insulated at all, I'm happiest when it's 95-100 degrees. (I don't want to put on a damn sweater; that's why we evolved the big brains and invented central heating. Bundling up is for going out; if I'm home I want to be comfortable.) My wife and I have compromised on setting the thermostat at 70 in the winter and no AC in the summer, but we keep one room at 86 so I can thaw out. (And because there's a swimming pool in it so it has to be kept warm.)

Our friends' houses cover the range from frigid to stuffily-warm.
posted by ook at 10:19 AM on December 13, 2004

Usually between 70-74... since my SO insists on having a window half open in each room and the vents are near the windows. If heat wasn't included in the rent, I'd nail the windows shut. When I'm home alone it's between 66-68.
posted by poipill at 10:21 AM on December 13, 2004

When I'm home: 74 degrees when I'm awake (I'm a chilly person--I'm still wrapped up in a blanket or something, even at that temperature), 60 degrees at night. It's at 60 when I'm out of the house.
posted by thomas j wise at 10:23 AM on December 13, 2004

(And I readily acknowledge that I'm on the extreme end of the temperature bell curve and really should live closer to the equator than I do. But seriously, you 60° people; don't you get muscle knots from shivering all the time?)
posted by ook at 10:30 AM on December 13, 2004

70-75, summer and winter. (Depending on level of activity, whether cooking/other warmth generating processes are going on, etc.)

What the "wear a sweater" people don't seem to get is that below 70, my hands start hurting, and below 65 or so, my head starts to as well. Wearing gloves and a hat indoors is pretty ridiculous, so I'd rather pay the heating bill and be comfortable.
posted by Mr Bunnsy at 10:33 AM on December 13, 2004

Vancouver-ish, BC

- 60 or 62 for sleeping (depends on outside temp)
- 65 to 70 during the day (again, depends on outside temp)
- 58 when we're not at home

The husband tends to like it warmer than I do.
posted by deborah at 11:01 AM on December 13, 2004

The thing is, us 'colder' people are not shivering our butts off. We're comfortable. Believe me, when I start to feel cold, that thermostat goes up. There's nothing wrong with heating your house to 85 if you don't mind paying for it and are OK with any fossil-fuel choices you're making. 65 seems to be in a comfortable range for most people if they're moving around but might be too cool if they're just reading or lounging out. And a lot of this has to do with what you're used to, and how high your metabolism is.

But some of you who are in pain from feeling cold might want to see if you have Reynaud's syndrome.
posted by Miko at 11:08 AM on December 13, 2004

I'm a "colder" person, but only in winter. Even when I lived in humid Washington DC, I tried to use the AC as little as possible, and I never had AC in Boston. I'm more of a "try to match the outside temperature while still being comfortable" person. Winter is supposed to be cold, and summer is supposed to be hot, in my mind.
posted by occhiblu at 11:15 AM on December 13, 2004

if I have to wear heavy clothes everywhere else, then I am wearing a t-shirt at home, dammit.


68-70, but some rooms are very obviously warmer than others. The study, where I spend most of my time, hovers around 80 (24 hr. computers, small room) but the bedroom is probably closer to 60. Which is unfortunate, because I prefer the cold, and my SO can't sleep unless she's very warm. I have to admit, the sight of twenty blankets on the bed definately bolsters her argument for a warmer home.

In Toronto the temperature must be a minimum of 21C (70 Fahrenheit) from September 15 to June 1.

I (heart) Canada.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:30 AM on December 13, 2004

Wow, most of you really like it cold. For me, I'm in a tiny apartment, so power bills are usually less than $20 even in the winter, but I like to have it somewhere in the low-mid 70's. I'm usually freezing my ass off when I go visit the parents, who set their thermostat to 65.
posted by gyc at 11:42 AM on December 13, 2004

I live in New Jersey. 62 for me (though the second floor of my duplex, where my bedroom is, tends to get much warmer than the first floor). If I have guests over, I'll turn up the heat to 67, and no one complains.

Last January I had a friend stay in my spare room for a month, who was always complaining about how cold it was in the place. It wasn't until I got my $300+ heating bill for that month that she admitted to me that she'd been cranking the heat up to 75 during the day, when I was out of the house. My oh my, was I unhappy about that.
posted by Prospero at 11:51 AM on December 13, 2004

For all you fossil fuel folks—I live in a city. The extra fossil fuels that keep my five-person, 2000 sq. ft. apartment at 70 is nothing compared to what I save not driving and not living in a big stand alone house. So there.
posted by dame at 11:57 AM on December 13, 2004

When the weather's above 70F outside, my girlfriend has the AC set below. Not to any particular temperature, just below. When it's below 70 outside, the heater comes on and it's the same process in reverse.
If I don't check the thermostat before bed, I sometimes wake up in the winter and the house is in the high 80's. In the summer, it's gotten into the low 40's.
posted by atchafalaya at 12:09 PM on December 13, 2004

We live in New England, and we leave our townhouse-style apartment (two bedrooms, two floors) at 60 degrees all the time. Sounds crazy, but we both end up sitting in the computer room working all day and these machines throw off alot of heat. We also wear lots of sweaters.

If we have company coming over we'll splurge and push the thermostat up to 65.

When I lived at home my dad kept the thermostat at 62 during the day when we were all out, up to 66 in the evening, and 56 (!!!) at night.

YMMV natch.
posted by absquatulate at 12:14 PM on December 13, 2004

Not that I live in the North (Athens, GA), but I completey turn off the heat but my roomates like to keep it at 76 frickin' degrees making it too hot.
posted by jmd82 at 12:24 PM on December 13, 2004

Heat the house till about 70 when we get home, and slowly let it cool off through the night.
It's down to about 67-ish when we go to bed.
The heat is off when we are in bed.
posted by madajb at 12:31 PM on December 13, 2004

Here in the front range of Colorado I have one of those programmable thermostats set to be 64 when I am asleep, and 68 when I am awake and at home.
posted by Eekacat at 12:45 PM on December 13, 2004

My heater does not have a thermometer. I turn it up when I feel cold, down when I feel warm, and off at night. Presto! No guilt.
posted by Mars Saxman at 1:17 PM on December 13, 2004

We usually have around 58F in the rooms when we sleep and a bit cooler in the rooms we don't use (closing the doors securely). Depending what we do we usually have between 63-66F in the rooms we use.

But we live in a very old flat with four meters to the ceiling and huge drafty windows. We also have an ample supply of woollen sweaters and socks for visitors and ourselves.

Personally I've gotten used to having a cool house, and am already fearing celebrating Christmas with my relatives who believe 80F is a decent indoors temperature.
posted by mummimamma at 1:19 PM on December 13, 2004

Fairbanks, Alaska
posted by rhapsodie at 1:40 PM on December 13, 2004

Oh, and a heated waterbed that is set higher than he would like and lower than I would like.
posted by rhapsodie at 1:46 PM on December 13, 2004

70 when we're there. 68 at night. 65-66 when we're not there. Sometimes we get crazy and turn it up to 72.

Thermostats aren't universal. How high you need to set it depends on where it's located, how many zones you have, how accurate the reading is. In our house, 70 can be downright chilly if you're lounging in front of the TV.

And on preview, 65 degrees would not be acceptable to me. I wouldn't argue. I'd whine.
posted by suchatreat at 2:00 PM on December 13, 2004

Running a humidifier or a pot of simmering water on the stove makes 65 feel warmer than 70 with no humidity when it is below freezing out.
posted by QIbHom at 2:29 PM on December 13, 2004

Peekskill, NY: 65-67 during the day, 55 at night.
posted by languagehat at 3:14 PM on December 13, 2004

Here it is set between 16C and 18C (low to mid 60's). I use a space heater once and awhile if it feels too chilly. I've lived in places where heat was cranked up to 80F or more and was faaar too warm. For me it is also about my skin, nothing worse than a case of "winter itch" (aka itching from hell) and I've found central heating is partly to blame.
posted by squeak at 3:41 PM on December 13, 2004

Michigan Here. The proper temperature at our house is 60-62 during the day, 65 when we are home in the early evening, and 60 again at night. We are sweater people, and damn proud of it.
posted by Chrischris at 3:51 PM on December 13, 2004

I like it 80f when I get up in the morning. Failing that (which has been normal for some years) I bundle up in sweats in the morning. After a shower, I like it down to 60, with bare skin. Awhile latter, and 65-68 will do me fine. While sleeping, I don't know if there is such a thing as "too cold". I like heavy bedding!

What do I usually get to have? Haha. Warm computer room, bedroom where the heat stays off and windows open, and a pile of different things to wear according to the temperature.

Now I'm in a place where there is no heating for winter, and AC is rare too. I fear winter, which won't come 'til June. My house will get little sun in winter. We'll see whether I buy AC for the bedroom in the next couple months! Climate data seems to indicate that the norm is to cool off at night.
posted by Goofyy at 3:27 AM on December 15, 2004

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