How Warm Should Your House Be?
During the winter months, it can be difficult to keep your home warm, often relying on your central heating and ensuring your home is properly insulated. One thing that often passes people by is the fact that different rooms in the home actually have different ideal temperatures, for a number of reasons.
The average room temperature is often around 20°C, but complications can arise from rooms being either too warm or too cold.
Health Risks of Low Temperatures
Cold homes are bad for your health, that much is clear. During the winter months such as January and February, this becomes a much bigger problem.
With the rising costs of energy in the UK, many people are unfortunately either struggling to pay their energy bills or refuse to use gas and electric heating to try and save money.
The unfortunate truth is that if your home is too cold then a wide range of problems can occur, some of which are health-based such as common colds, pneumonia, blood pressure increases, and heart attack risk, in extreme circumstances.
It goes without saying that existing health conditions, such as respiratory issues like asthma, can be made much worse by the cold. Other physical conditions such as arthritis and diabetes are also major issues that are exacerbated by low temperatures.
Important steps to take to ensure that rooms in your home are not too cold throughout the winter include insulating your walls, roof, and floors to a high standard, to avoid heat from escaping the home too easily.
Having a thermostat installed in your home is also important so that you can keep each room to the required temperature, depending on your specific needs. If the temperature is too low, you can send a signal to the boiler to heat up the home temporarily.
How Cold Is Too Cold?
Below 13°C - Anything below this level and your home is definitely too cold and can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.
14-15°C - This is still too cold, and respiratory diseases and issues can thrive in temperatures that are this low.
18°C - When in your bedroom overnight, this is the recommended room temperature.
19-21°C - The recommended daytime temperature for rooms that you or your family are occupying.
How Warm Is Too Warm?
24-27ºC or higher - This is too warm and can be a health risk to many, particularly babies and young children and those with heart conditions. You should look to reduce the room temperature immediately if it reaches this level.
What’s The Ideal Temperature For Each Room?
The temperature you should be looking to get your home to during the winter will differ depending on the room in question.
19-22ºC - Often where you spend the most time, it’s natural to keep the temperature at as close to 20ºC as you can. The chances are you’ll not be moving about too much to help warm yourself up, so let the heating do the work if you can.
18-19ºC - Bedrooms should be kept a bit cooler than other rooms, as it can be uncomfortable to try and sleep in a room that’s simply too hot. Ideally, it shouldn’t be any higher than 20ºC overnight, while it can drop as low as around 16ºC, but preferably not lower.
22ºC - The bathroom is best suited to be at a slightly higher temperature than other rooms for a simple reason, in that it’s not ideal to step out of a bath or shower into a freezing cold room. The tiled floors will also make it colder on your feet, while the hot water from a bath or shower will naturally heat up the room too.
Tips To Reduce Damp, Mould and Condensation
Issues related to moisture in the air can evolve into bigger problems if it is not looked at promptly. Condensation can begin when warm air hits a cold surface, such as a wall or a window, which can then evolve into damp in some cases. Mould can also start growing on surfaces, which highlights itself as a collection of little black dots.
Our advice on how to combat this issue include:
- Drying clothes naturally in fresh air, rather than on a radiator.
- Keeping lids on saucepans when you’re cooking in the kitchen.
- Switching on the extractor fan for short periods to get rid of moist air.
- Open the bathroom window when you’re having a hot bath or shower.
- Allow fresh air to circulate around a room by leaving gaps between furniture and the walls.
- When rooms are too cold, use the radiator on low power or a room heater with a temperature control aspect.
- Insulate your loft/roof, walls, and floors if at all possible, which can save you hundreds of pounds on energy bills as well as helping to keep the home at the right temperature all year round.
What Help Can You Get To Combat a Cold Home?
If you currently receive benefits from the UK government, you may well be entitled to The Warm Home Discount of £140, which goes towards your household electricity bill between October 2021 and March 2022. If you don’t get this automatically, you can apply for it through your electricity supplier.
If you are aged over 65 you can also get a Winter Fuel Payment of between £100 and £300 to help you out with your bills. In the event that the area you live in has an average temperature of 0°C over seven consecutive days, you could also receive Cold Weather Payments.
Perfect Temperature For The Elderly
Those aged 65 and over are more at risk of health problems when the home is too cold. Recommendations from the NHS suggest that the relevant rooms are heated to at least 18°C for elderly people or those with a health condition. Between 19-21°C is considered ideal in this scenario, particularly in bedrooms.
Perfect Temperature For Babies and Small Children
The ideal temperature will depend on the age of the children in question, but for a sleeping baby the room temperature should be between 16-20°C and you should be constantly be monitoring this so that it doesn’t increase or drop dramatically.
For toddlers, this is closer to between 18-21°C, which is in some cases higher than most adults.
Perfect Temperature For Pets
There’s no ‘one size fits all’ guide on the ideal room temperature for pets, as it will depend on the pet in question, with size, breed, age etc all factoring in. It’s important not to let the temperature go below 16°C consistently during the winter, with between 16-18°C often a fine balance, while also making sure they have a warm and comfortable bed to lie on.
Indoor Plants Temperature Guide
If you have plants in your home and struggle to keep them alive, it could be a case of keeping your rooms at the wrong temperature.
You’ll find that most house plants grow at their best between 15-24°C so keeping the rooms at this level should be fine, providing that they are still getting the relevant nutrients and water.
If at any point your room temperature has to be above 24°C in the winter to keep you and your family warm, you can help your plants by spray misting the leaves regularly to cool them down. But as a general rule, anything over 24°C is too hot for most indoor plants and they won’t react well to being kept in these conditions.
Be aware that the temperature of your home could also be too low for many plants to thrive in, and is generally more of a problem than the house being too hot. Low temperatures and over-watering often lead to the death of most plants. Anything below 10°C is considered too low for many half-hardy indoor plants, while for hardy plants it’s closer to 7°C.
What to look out for:
- Yellowing and falling leaves often mean the temperature is too low.
- Leaves wilting and the edges turning brown often mean the room is too warm.