As winter approaches, households are grappling with the decision of when to kickstart their heating systems. The cost of living crisis and escalating energy bills are making this decision even more challenging. However, the risk of frozen pipes, mould growth, and health issues calls for heating during the winter season.

Experts at BOXT said an ideal room temperature during winter is between 18 and 20C. He advises against cranking up the thermostat during colder periods and encourages homeowners to experiment with different temperature settings. This approach could lead to lower energy bills and potentially improve sleep quality.

He recommends alternating between daytime and nighttime temperatures instead of maintaining a constant temperature throughout the day. This strategy could enhance comfort levels at home while reducing energy usage. With smart thermostats, programming these changes is relatively straightforward.

Kerr debunks the myth that leaving the heating on all day results in energy savings. He explains this practise leads to continuous energy usage by the boiler. Instead, he advises setting boilers to activate only when warm water or heating is required and setting thermostats to the desired home temperature. Overheating won’t accelerate heating times; instead, it extends periods of energy consumption.

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“The constant burning of fuel to heat your home will not only result in energy being used but also energy being lost,” Kerr explains. Heat loss in a standard home can be quite significant compared to the heat generated by boilers and radiators. However, well-insulated homes shouldn’t worry too much about heat loss.

During winter, households need to be mindful of their heating settings. As temperatures drop, there’s a risk the water in boiler systems could freeze if not used at all, potentially causing extensive damage to heating systems. Kerr said to keep a minimum thermostat setting of 10C to prevent pipe freezing.

David Lukeman, Managing Director of North West Heating Solutions, acknowledges room temperature preferences can vary greatly among individuals. However, he cautions against certain low temperatures. According to Lukeman, maintaining a home temperature of 12C could encourage mould growth, posing risks to both property and health.

Karl Huckerby, cleaning expert from Spare and Square, concurs: “Low temperatures in the home can cause more problems than you think, with one of these problems being the development of mould and damp. At anywhere under 14C, mould spores and damp thrive.” He said living spaces should ideally be between 18 and 21C to minimise mould growth, with bedrooms kept at 18C for optimal sleep.

Brian Roberts, Lead Gas Tutor at HybridTec, highlights a specific temperature range for efficient and cost-effective heating. “The Energy Saving Trust recommends heating your home to between 18 to 21C during winter to keep energy bills to a minimum and keep people warm,” he says. The World Health Organisation (WHO) also said 18C is the ideal temperature for healthy and well-dressed individuals. However, Roberts emphasises that individual circumstances such as age and health should be taken into account when setting temperatures, particularly for vulnerable groups such as newborns and the elderly.

Rebecca Armstrong, director at Mersey Eco Grants, echoes this sentiment: “The minimum temperature any home should be at is 18C. I can safely say 12C is certainly too cold.”

Interestingly, Kerr said households could save over £100 annually by reducing their heating by just one degree. “An estimated 17 million households in the UK could save as much as £2billion by turning their thermostats down by just one degree from the current average temperature of 20C.”

Natasha Berthiaume, Head of Brand at Hometree, agrees adjusting the thermostat can impact energy bills significantly. She explains the decision to keep the boiler on a constant low heat or to switch it on and off at specific times of the day largely depends on the effectiveness of home insulation.

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