It can be difficult to keep cosy in winter without constantly adjusting the room temperature, especially in older, drafty Australian houses. If you have heating or reverse cycle air conditioning, the trick is to find the perfect setting – one that allows you to stay comfy, without breaking the budget.
Is there a magic number?
The most common advice is that around 21-22°C is the ideal and healthiest temperature for inside living, all year round. However, this will vary among individuals –a warmer environment may be needed for babies, older people and those who are ill. Other people seem to be warm all the time and find ‘normal’ temperatures too hot.
So, when working out your household’s ‘ideal’ temperature for comfort, the first question to ask is how warm your home needs to be. Have a discussion with the others who live under the same roof and try to find a happy medium that suits everyone.
What if it’s too hot?
The environment we live in has a direct impact on our wellbeing – and when it’s too hot, we’ll often find it’s harder to sleep. Children are especially sensitive to room temperature – and for some, a too-hot (and by default, too-dry) home will trigger breathing difficulties, leading to more serious respiratory problems.
Older people are also more likely to suffer in an overly hot room, and overheating at night is thought to be a contributing factor to serious issues like heart attacks, stroke and asthma.
Overheating has obvious cost implications too. Even for those who aren’t concerned about money, it’s not smart to use precious resources for heating you simply don’t need.
What if it’s too cold?
Everyone has that older family member who is fond of telling people to ‘just rug up’ rather than use the heating, and it’s a thrifty approach to life!
The other consideration here is comfort. Being too cold can also make it difficult to sleep, and also to concentrate on study or work. If you live with anyone who is a student, or works from home, this is something to keep in mind.
Being too cold can also lead to muscle pain and tiredness, as the body can’t relax when constantly tensing against the cold. Appetites also increase with the cold weather, so we may tend to overeat when we are trying to stay warm. Could be why so many of us find ourselves trying to shed those ‘winter kilos’ when spring rolls around!
How do we get it just right?
As we discussed before, the ‘right’ temperature will depend on your household. Having a good quality reverse cycle air conditioner installed makes you one step ahead, but it is also good to draft-proof your home, check your insulation, make sure you have plenty of light layers of bedding (and winter woolies), and set your thermostat at the lower end of your agreed range. Remember, you can’t control the seasons, but you can control the comfort of your home.
Did you know?
A reverse cycle air conditioner is also known as ‘heat pump’. It simply draws in heat from the outside air, even on mid-winter nights, and transfers it inside using a refrigerant to warm (or cool) the air before distributing it around the room. Heat pumps are an efficient way to keep your home warm throughout winter.