Many people in the Quad Cities have had minor (and major) freak-outs upon looking at our heating bills this winter, particularly those who use natural gas, which is most people in this area. As KWQC warned in October, later verified by the Quad City Times, and the final proof in those heating bills that triggered a lot of freak-outs, natural gas prices have nearly doubled since the previous winter. So many of you may be wondering, what temperature is too cold for a house? How low can you turn down that heat to save money?
The World Health Organization recommends keeping indoor temperatures between 64 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. You don’t want your body temperature to dip too low. However, some homes may be warmer in upstairs bedrooms than downstairs in living rooms where there may be more windows, or colder floors on top of unheated basements. So you may have an effectively warmer temperature upstairs than downstairs. In that case, you can safely turn down the temp a little more at night and stay warm under the covers in a warmer part of the house.
There are other considerations besides your comfort to keep in mind. Even if you’re snug in a warmer part of the house under blankets, your pipes can freeze if the house temperature is too cold. For this reason, Consumer Reports recommends never turning down your overall home temperature below 55 degrees, even if you’re going out of town and the house will be empty. Even with soaring heating bills, it’s still less expensive to pay that bill than it is to fix broken pipes and water damage.
There’s something to be said for comfort. As Technician Troche noted in Francisco Troche said in our blog last month, he keeps his house at 70 degrees year round because that’s what keeps his wife happy and comfortable. The bottom line is, weigh your comfort level against your budget, but don’t drop your thermostat below 55 degrees to save a few dollars, it’s not worth the risk.