What Temperature is 'Room Temperature'?

Room temperature is around 68 F (20 C). Chris Fertnig/E+/Getty Images

March 28, 2015

If you could name your ideal air temperature, how cool or warm would it be? 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 Celcius)? 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 Celcius)?

While, sadly, no app exists that allows us to set the temperature outdoors to our liking, we do have the power to be king of our comfort when indoors. And when it comes to enclosed spaces, we humans tend to be most comfortable when the air is neither remarkably hot nor cold -- a delicate balance we call room temperature.

But what temperature is this? Wouldn't it be different things to different people depending on how cool or cozy one likes it?

The Goldilocks of Air Temperatures

In truth, room temperature only satisfies the comfort levels of most (80%) -- not all -- of indoor occupants. And according to this majority, a temperature somewhere in the range of 68 to 72 °F (20 to 22 °C) is just right.

Mimicking Seasonal Temperatures Indoors

Of course, this "just right" temperature doesn't always feel that way year-round when you factor in  things like temperature of the surrounding air, humidity, air motion, etc. So room temperature in fact changes when our seasons change.

In summer, our comfort zone temperature is higher because we wear lightweight clothing, we humans prefer a higher comfort zone temperature of 73 to 79 °F (22.5 to 26 °C) -- at least that's what the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) finds.

Surprisingly In winter, we actually prefer to set our thermostats at cooler temps -- between 68 to 74 °F (20 to 23.5 °C) -- to accommodate for the additional heat generated by our bulkier ensembles.