By Jeff Wagner

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Our furnaces are getting their money’s worth this week as temperatures hover around or well below zero degrees.

That has people cranking the heat likely more than usual.

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So what is the ideal at-home temperature right now? Good Question. We learned making adjustments to the thermostat could impact our health and wallet.

The tussle over temperature is fought through miniscule movements of a dial. A battle at the thermostat playing out amidst a brutally cold week.

We asked Twitter, “What’s the ideal at-home temperature?”

David replied, “If it were up to me, 68. Wife wants 71 or 72.”

Jason said, “It’s a fight to stay at 68. If it were up to me I’d say 65 at night and 68 during the day.”

“Bed partners will notoriously differ in terms of what is the right temperature,” said Dr. Michael Howell, an sleep medicine physician with M Health Fairview and the U of M Medical School.

When asked what’s the ideal temperature for our bodies, Howell said, “Somewhere between 60, 66 degrees, so on the cool side.”

If that sent a chill down your spine, just know Howell suggests that lower temperature more so at night.

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“When the sun goes down and the temperature drops, it’s a cue to our brains and bodies that it’s time to fall asleep,” he said. “A drop in temperature in the evening is conducive to helping us fall asleep.”

Turning up the dial can have its benefits, too.

“Metabolism, physical activity, those work better as we warm up and as our environment warms up,” Howell added.

Do you lose out on savings if the temperature fluctuates too much?

“If you’re only going to be adjusting a thermostat for a few hours, it’s probably not worth it,” said Ross Corson, spokesperson for CenterPoint Energy. He suggests the home temperature be set at 68-70F degrees during the day when you’re at home.

But if nobody’s home for as long as eight hours or more, or you’re asleep at night, dropping the temp 6-8 degrees has a financial impact.

“You can save as much as 10% on your heating bill, especially at this time of the year when your heating system is working a lot,” Corson said.

That’s up to $20 in your pocket on a $200 monthly bill.

Programmable thermostats also can reduce costs, since users can set specific temperatures at different times of the day without having to worry about it.

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Other savings tips include changing our furnace filter if it’s dirty. Corson also suggests partially closing heating vents or radiators in rooms that aren’t used often to redirect the heat to parts of the home people frequent.

Jeff Wagner