As the days grow shorter and summer shifts into fall, you may wake up feeling slightly chilly with a light blanket. Are you grabbing an extra sweater or jacket for indoor use more and more often? You might not want the warm summer months to be over just yet, but you see the leaves float in the dreary summer breeze. You’re beginning to wonder when it is time to start heating your home. Just when is it time to turn your heat on in the fall? Here are a few things to consider.

When Should You Turn Your Heat on in the Fall?

What Is the Ideal Room Temperature?

The World Health Organization has determined that the optimal room temperature for most healthy people ranges from 64 to 75° Fahrenheit (that’s 18 to 24° Celsius). This temperature range applies to the spaces where you will be carrying out most of your daily activities. For example, your living room, study, kitchen, and office spaces. It presumes a healthy relative humidity that lies between 30 and 50 percent, as well as decent air circulation and appropriate clothing. This range can be considered ideal year-round. If it is hotter, you will feel sluggish and fatigued, while cooler temperatures will make you feel a little uncomfortable.

People over the age of 65 young children under two years old will, however, benefit from a slightly warmer temperature. The same holds true for people living with chronic medical conditions, including allergies that are worsened by cool temperatures. This is why nursing homes, hospitals, daycare centers, and schools so often have their thermostats turned up a little higher.

Keep in mind that your bedroom should be kept cooler for you to sleep comfortably. In this case, you may want to aim for 68° F or around 18° C. To ensure a comfortable temperature, keep a thermometer in your living spaces and bedrooms. Consider turning your heat on in the fall once the temperature is routinely cooler than the low end of this recommended range.

Shouldn’t You Try to Delay Turning Your Heating On?

The longer you delay turning your heating on in the fall, the more you can save on your energy bill. Oftentimes, large temperature drops can make us feel very cold even when it is still much hotter than the ideal room temperature. In that case, don’t start heating just yet. Instead, use those extra comfortable blankets when you go to sleep. Try putting on a sweater if you’re sitting at your computer or watching TV. Or, simply try to warm yourself up by moving around. Doing some household chores can make you feel toasty again!

If you are trying to save money, it may make sense to wait as long as possible to turn your heat on. Even then, do not compromise your health and make sure to give in and commence your personal heating season when your living room is cooler than 64° for three to seven days.

If you are taking steps to be “greener”, you will want to investigate renewable energy options as well as proactive changes to your home. For example, energy-efficient curtains and perhaps even new windows. You can be environmentally aware without shivering if you make these changes. When you do start heating, you don’t have to pump that thermostat up, either. Instead, opt for the lower end of the World Health Organization’s recommendations. Shop around for some comfy winter clothes for around the house, in that case.

Always Test Your Heat Before You Truly Need It

Here’s another important consideration. No matter what type of heat you use, you will want to make sure that it works properly before you truly need it. When the first frost rolls around, you’ll be glad you checked. Having your HVAC system serviced and taking it out for a test drive before you plan to rely on it is important every year.

Additional Reading: Save on Heating Costs with ENERGY STAR This Season

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