How low can you go

I’m having a new boiler fitted, and although the work is going well, it meant I was without central heating and hot water overnight.

This was not a great problem, as I have a gas fire in the lounge (although it is soon to be removed), and no lack of small electric fires/radiators in the house; and my shower – which I prefer to baths – is electric.

So I turned on the gas fire yesterday evening, and got the room up to my normal 19-20 degrees C, while I had my tea. However, I was doing bits and pieces in my office upstairs, so I turned the fire off again, and put on a fleece over my jumper.

It was only late in the evening, when I was once again in front of the TV, that I realised the fire was still off, and yet I was still comfortable. The thermometer read 17 degrees, and when I went up to bed, the upstairs was 13 degrees. But I jumped under the covers, and was soon snug.

I always thought that 19-20 degrees was relatively sensible for a sitting room, and quite low compared to many of my friends. I know I often tweak the temperature up when I have visitors. However, it all depends on what you’re used to – certainly, when I was a kid, and pre-central-heating, we never had our home as warm as is currently common.

So knowing this is read by a mixture of frugal people and folk who like their comforts, let me ask – what do you consider a comfortable temperature, and what do you actually have your heating set to?


  1. March 2, 2010

    Our place is usually about 16 degrees C (60 F on the old thermometer in the hall) though I may turn it up a bit higer if it’s damp because my bad leg starts to hurt.

  2. March 2, 2010

    Like Weregopher, our thermo is set at 16. We light the wood stove when we’re home of a weekend or evening, and the CH clicks off; we have a grand assortment of hot water bottles, and we layer up with jumpers!

    Working from home, I find I get chilled sitting still sometimes, which sends me scurrying round the village doing errands and home to a cuppa – by which time I’m toasty again.

  3. March 2, 2010

    I don’t have working central heating (haven’t for around 4+ years now). If I am only sitting, not moving much, then I find 20C is comfortable without putting on extra clothes (i.e. getting dressed!). If I’m normally dressed (t-shirt+jeans) a bit lower, at around 16C I put on a long-sleeved t-shirt as well.

    For sleeping I prefer 16C or lower, down to around 13C with a couple of blankets, 10C with a duvet (except that by the morning I’ll probably be much too hot at 15C with blankets, and at least be sticking my legs and feet and arms outside the blankets).

    (I do have a couple of electric convection heaters, one in the downstairs hall and one on the first floor, just to make sure that the temperature doesn’t drop much below about 14C (lounge) or 10C (hall) to stop nasty things happening like bust pipes. And several computers. But my total electricity usage is under 500W most of the year, 1000W in the winter with the heaters, averaged over a day, which is well under most households.)

  4. chris
    March 2, 2010

    Just to clarify, my thermostat is normally set to 16 degrees, but that is in the hall, which results in the temperature of 19-20 degrees in the lounge.

    The radiators are balanced how I like it – I don’t need my hall the same temperature as the room I live in (nor the bedrooms), so it always strikes me as weird how most houses like this have the thermostat in the hall, which means you end up having to guesstimate the right temperature in the main living room, and anyone going outside immediately causes the heating to come on in the whole house.

    Bedrooms – I generally like these quite cool. My heating usually goes off at 11pm anyway, and I am seldom in bed before then.

    This is being fixed in the new installation with a wireless thermostat/controller, which means the temperature in my lounge will be the temperature I set it to.

    • March 2, 2010

      PRE-cisely! Which is why I badgered Mulalley/the council last year into putting my thermostat in the living-room, NOT the hall. I don’t heat the hall much – why would I? I rarely spend more than a couple of minutes there.

    • March 2, 2010

      That’s why I prefer (if I have to live somewhere with central heating) radiators with individual thermostats, so they can be adjusted for each room separately.

      I still don’t understand the weird practice of putting radiators immediately under windows, so that all the heat goes straight out (or with sealed double glazing part of it goes out).

  5. March 2, 2010

    Bedroom is currently at about 17C, living room at (so the thermometer claims!) 21C. I have the heating on, set at 20C, for half an hour every evening, from 8pm to 8.30pm. I might give it a bit more during the late afternoon on really cold days. By the end of March, it’ll be off entirely, I expect.

    The living room gets warmer during the day, because it faces south-south-east and gets the sun through the french windows; however, the large windows also mean it loses heat fast once the outside gets colder. I used to have secondary glazing on them – the plastic film/doublesided tape/hairdryer stuff – but it perished and came off, and with the warmer winters recently, I haven’t put it back up. I did consider scrubbing the window frames and reinstating it this winter, though…

    I don’t heat the bedroom more than minimally – I find it hard to sleep if it’s too warm. If I’m really cold, I’ll nuke a wheatpack (in lieu of a hot water bottle), and cuddle that. Duvet + cellular blanket + patchwork bedspread means I’m usually plenty warm enough after a bit. Bedsocks if necessary! Unfortunately, the computer is in the bedroom, so it sometimes gets too cold to sit there, and I have to retreat to the living room.

    In the daytime, I do tend to get cold feet, even when wearing two pairs of socks, and cold shoulders too; I have a fleece jerkin for the latter, and sometimes end up with a shawl over my feet when I’m sitting still.

  6. March 2, 2010

    We have multiple zone thermostats with timeswitches. Some of them go up as far as 19C some of the time, but I think the main sitting room/lounge area is generally warmer than that – it’s very rare that zone actually switches on. (It’s the same room as the kitchen, and if it is cool in the evenings we often light the woodburning stove.)

    Bedrooms probably don’t get down to 13C now we have working radiators.

    The settings will depend to some extent on who in the family fiddled with the thermostats last….

  7. March 2, 2010

    In the summer, I feel chilly if the internal temp. drops below 23oC, and too hot if it goes above 25. =:o

    In the late autumn my “comfort temp” finally starts falling to adjust to the prevailing conditions, but lags way behind the actual temperatures, only stabilising well into January. Throughout Feb I’ve been happiest with the room temp at 18, OK when it’s 16 (if I have a jumper on and/or plenty of bustling about to do), and have resorted to an early night with a good book whenever the room dropped below 14 (which it did some nights *even with* all the available heating full on! =:o{ )

    I have also survived a couple of nights this winter with no heating at all (or other electrically powered comforts), where the room dropped as low as 6oC by the time I woke up. This is achieved by donning a jumper or body warmer over my pyjama jacket (or old spare shirt acting as same), then climbing inside my sleeping bag, and then making sure my lovely thick duvet is correctly arranged over the top and tucked inaround the edges so that it can’t slide off. Useful fact: My electric waistcoat (currently used as a kind of sawn-off electric blanket for my legs on very cold nights) provides a useful layer of extra insulation *under* the sleeping bag, contributing to toasty feet and legs even when the power’s not on! =:o}

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