Keep your thermostat at this temperature to save on heating costs this winter

Woman using Nest Learning Thermostat
(Image credit: Nest)

Home heating prices are estimated to reach the highest they’ve been in ten years. From last year, they’ve gone from $1,025 to $1,202, a whole 17.2% increase (opens in new tab). Additionally, it’s estimated that between 2020 and 2023, the cost of home energy would increase by more than 35% (opens in new tab).

This increase in energy costs can prove difficult for families to afford, especially as inflation is raising prices in other areas as well. Therefore, saving on energy bills this winter season has become a big priority for many and can be done in many ways. However, one of the best ways to cut back your utility bill in the following months is to set your thermostat to the correct temperature. 

The US Department of Energy (opens in new tab) suggests setting your thermostat at 68 F in the winter to save on energy costs. Plus, lowering your thermostat an additional 7 to 10 degrees for eight hours a day can help you save more, up to 10% (opens in new tab) on your next energy bill. An easy way to do this is by lowering the temperature while you’re at work during the day, or when you go to sleep at night.

Thermostat rules apply to the summer as well. During the summer months the guidance is that you should set your thermostat to 78 degrees while at home, 82 degrees when asleep and 85 degrees when away (opens in new tab), if you’re looking to save on utility costs. 

An easy way to manage home temperatures is to use a smart thermostat. These are thermostats that connect to your phone and allow you to control the temperature remotely. You can easily set different temperatures scheduled for different times, meaning you won’t have to keep track of lowering and raising the temperature every day.

Plus, some smart thermostats will allow you to heat only specific rooms, so you won’t have to use more energy to heat the entire home. The Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium is one of the best smart thermostats (opens in new tab) we've tested. We really like its remote sensors to mange temperatures in multiple rooms, and it has Alexa built in.

We also like the Nest Learning Thermostat version 3, which features a large and sharp display. And it learns your behavior over time, so it can automatically change the temperature when someone comes home. 

Another way to ensure that you're saving as much as you can is to make sure your thermostat is located in a place in your home that will give the most accurate temperature. For example, try not to position thermostats in drafty places or in direct sunlight, but rather in central areas of the home. Other ways you can save on heating bills for the winter (opens in new tab) include insulating windows or using a space heater. Here are the best space heaters (opens in new tab) right now. 

Overall, setting your temperature lower in the winter means big savings, even if it makes your house a little less toasty. You’ll lose heat more slowly than you would if your house was set at a high temperature, cutting down on energy use and in turn making your bill cheaper. 

Erin Bendig
Staff writer, personal finance

Erin pairs personal experience with research and is passionate about sharing personal finance advice with others. Previously, she was a freelancer focusing on the credit card side of finance, but has branched out since then to cover other aspects of personal finance. Erin is well-versed in traditional media with reporting, interviewing and research, as well as using graphic design and video and audio storytelling to share with her readers.