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Guide to Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings in Winter in Portland

December 21, 2021

It's winter! And that means cold temperatures and high heating costs. If you're looking to reduce your energy bills this season without sacrificing comfort, this guide is for you. We’ll review how to make sure your Portland home stays cozy without costing you an arm and a leg. With these tips, it'll be easy to keep warm all winter long!

Let’s go over what temperature to set your thermostat in winter:

  • While you’re home during the day.
  • While sleeping at night.
  • While you’re away.

We’ll also review how getting a smart thermostat can keep heating bills low, as well as a few of our top energy-saving tips for cold weather.

Our Recommendations for Winter Thermostat Settings

You might be thinking if 70 is a good temperature for the winter. It can be, but it also varies based on your comfort level and your goals for energy efficiency. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), setting your thermostat at 68 is the best way to keep heating costs under control.

What Temperature to Set Your Thermostat in Winter During the Day

While Home

The DOE recommends 68 degrees during the day. If you’re feeling too chilly, there are a couple of other ways you can stay comfortable.

  • Set your ceiling fan in reverse when you’re in a room. This redistributes warm air that gathers near the ceiling.
  • Choose energy-efficient window treatments, like honeycomb shades or plantation shutters. If your home has old or drafty windows, putting up plastic sheeting or window blankets offers an additional barrier against the cold.
  • Make the most of natural warmth by opening south-facing window treatments during the day. Don’t forget to shut them at night to reduce heat loss.

While Gone

If it dips below 30 degrees, setting your thermostat between 64 and 65 degrees is a wise choice while away. Your furnace won’t be heating an empty home, but it’ll be easy for the temperature to bounce back when you return.

You may want to set the thermostat slightly higher if you have a dog, especially a puppy, senior dog, small dog or a dog with short hair. Between 66-67 degrees will keep them comfortable and happy.

What Temperature to Set Your Thermostat in Winter at Night

Keeping your bedroom cool can help you sleep better. The National Sleep Foundation advises a thermostat setting of 64-65 degrees.

That might seem too cold if you’re used to a higher temperature. If you’re used to sleeping at 68 degrees, try progressively lowering it over the next few days and sleep with more blankets or thicker pajamas.

Other Ways to Reduce Energy Costs in the Winter

Keeping your thermostat at the right temperature in the winter is a good start with keeping energy costs low. But there are a few other steps you can take to cut your bill.

  • Upgrade your thermostat. Programmable thermostats are inexpensive, but most households don’t have them set up properly. If yours is constantly on “hold,” you’re missing out on energy savings. While you can program yours, it can be a lengthy process, especially if your schedule varies from day to day. A smart thermostat can eliminate all those steps because it can create an energy-efficient heating schedule based on your routine and temperature preferences. Find out how you can get a free smart thermostat (or one at a greatly reduced price)!
  • Replace your furnace air filter regularly. A dirty air filter can cause a lot of problems for your furnace, including making it consume more energy or even causing it to break down. That’s why it’s important to replace yours every month if you use a flat filter. Or every 90 days if you use a pleated filter. If you have pets or someone in your home suffers from allergies or asthma, you may want to change your filter more often.
  • Add extra insulation. Your home is likely among the 90% in the U.S. that don’t have adequate attic insulation. Homes in northern climates need 16-18", while those in southern climates need 13-14".
  • Install a new furnace. If your HVAC system is close to 15 years old, it’s time to start considering furnace installation. Upgrading to an ENERGY STAR® furnace can keep you more comfortable while keeping heating costs down. A new heating system is a major investment, but Three Rivers Heating & Cooling helps make it more budget friendly through rebates, special offers and financing for qualified customers.

Whenever you have concerns about what is the best temperature to set your thermostat at, energy efficiency during cold weather or any other home comfort issues, Three Rivers Heating & Cooling is here to help you. We’re the heating and cooling company your friends and neighbors have depended on since 2019. Call us at 503-213-4433 to request your appointment today.