In the war for seasonal comfort, the battle often takes place around the apartment thermostat. If you live by yourself, the fight is between you and your energy bill. If you have roommates, the conflict usually revolves around you being too cold and your roommate being hot or vice versa.

But it’s time you and your roommate or your wallet stop fighting it out and turn to science and the experts as to the best temperature for an apartment. An impartial observation might be the arbiter of your temperature peace accords.

Riding the thermostat

Energy Star is the combined program from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy tasked to monitor and educate on energy efficiency. According to, the best thing to balance your comfort and your budget involves changing up the temperature in your apartment depending on season and time of day.

When using heat (i.e., winter), your baseline temperature for when you’re at home and awake is 68° Fahrenheit. Then, before you leave for work or wherever you go all day, you should cut that back to 60° F.

When you get back home, crank it back to the 68° F level until you hit the sack, which is when you should pop it back down to 60° F. (If 68° F is too cold for you, raise it up a bit, but not more than 72° F, and adjust your away and asleep temps accordingly.)

For the other half of the year when it’s warm out, the ideal temp, according to the bureaucrats, is a balmy 78° F. When you take off for the day, turn that up to about 81° F, a perfect daytime temp for houseplants and pets alike, then bring it back to a comfortable 78° F after you walk back in. Nothing’s worse than a sweaty sleep experience, so your government suggests clicking the thermostat down to a pleasant 74° F for the night.

Keeping up the energy efficiency

All that adjusting the temperature sounds like a lot of work, if you remember to do it at all. The best solution to keep up an energy efficient and comfortable schedule like this is to invest (or ask your landlord to invest) in a programmable thermostat that will do all that turning up and down work for you.

One step up from programmable, Smart Thermostats are a great investment that will save you a bunch of money in the end. Coming home sooner or later than you expect? You can even change the temperature remotely with your phone.

But weren’t we all taught that our thermostats will work harder and less efficiently if we keep changing the temperature? While that sounds like a logical argument, it’s a misconception. Actually, according to the DOE, your HVAC is working exactly the same amount to get back to temperature than it will maintaining it.

An additional caveat is never set your thermostat colder than your desired temperature before turning it back up to try to chill down your apartment faster. It doesn’t cool your place any quicker and will, in fact, cost you more money in the end.

Lessons to learn

One of the biggest heating and cooling advantages of having an apartment is your entire house is basically one temperate zone. One thermostat can pretty much set the temperature in the entire house. But the key is still to make the comfort zone the best for you and your roommates or partner. If the government and expert guidelines are too hot or cold for you, you can adjust accordingly.

But remember, for every degree warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter you keep your pad, you can save around 1 percent on your energy bill, which can add up. For warmer days, a box or oscillating fan can cool you down significantly, and on cold days, nothing is more cozy than a comfy pair of sweatpants or a big blanket (especially with a friend).

As for the roommate fighting? Let the science win.

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