If you ask a group of people, “What temperature should you set the house at in the winter?” you’ll not only get a lot of different answers but probably a lot of arguing, too!
It’s of course true that if you can set it a bit lower than you’re really comfortable with, you’ll save big.
But can you really afford to keep it too low? Today, we discuss: How low is too low?
Of course, there’s the fact that if you’re leaving your home vacant for a while, you can’t turn the heat off completely, or your pipes could burst and your appliances could break. Most people keep it at 50°or so when they won’t be around. (Heck, we’re sure some people keep it at 50° even when they are around.)
Is this high enough, or are you still in danger of pipes bursting near the outside wall of your home? (Or, it would be even worse if you actually had pipes in the exterior wall…but most plumbers around here know better than to install waterlines in outside walls!)
If your home isn’t properly winterized, then you really need to make sure above all else that enough heat is getting into those exterior pipes. After all, the little bit you save from setting the temperature lower is not going to be worth it if a burst pipe starts leaking everywhere, especially if it touches your fuse box / electrical sockets.
But the dangers of setting your temperature too low in winter aren’t just about your home’s health. They’re about your own health, too.
(We know, it sounds like this article was written by one of those dreaded “cold-blooded” people…)
But don’t take it from us, take it from the World Health Organization: They recommend a temperature of at least 64°… and raising that to at least 70° if there are babies, elderly people, or otherwise immunocompromised people in the home.
First off, if it’s cold in your home and it’s moist and humid outside, that creates condensation…not only on your windows, but inside the home too. These wet conditions are perfect for mold and mildew. (By the way, that’s another reason to not set your temperature too cold when you leave your house vacant for a while, either.)
You don’t need us to tell you that mold causes all kinds of respiratory problems, but you may not have known that it can lead to chronic conditions like asthma and emphysema.
Also, to clarify another thing that you probably already knew: being cold makes you more prone to getting sick!
But rather than cold temperatures shutting down your immune system, it’s more like cold temperatures change the direction your mucus goes. We know, it sounds weird and gross…Basically, mucus is supposed to be constantly flowing through your upper respiratory tract to wash out any bacteria or viruses you may have breathed in. But this mucus gets thicker when you’re colder, meaning that it doesn’t travel as swiftly and effectively in wiping away these icky pathogens!
Last but not least, cold temperatures even raise your blood pressure and make your heart beat faster – which for most of us is okay, but if you have heart problems, can be dangerous.
Overall, there’s a reason that when you go to Mom and Dad’s to visit for the holidays, the old folks have their heat cranked up way higher than you ever would!!
Their bodies are telling them that heat = safer, and it definitely is for the very young and the very old. If you are a perfectly healthy adult who likes to keep it cool in winter, no problem…Just make sure that your home is very well-sealed and ventilated to make it almost impossible for mold to grow!