What Is Room Temperature?

Room temperature is the temperature or range of temperatures comfortable to people.
Room temperature is the temperature or range of temperatures comfortable to people. It may be defined in science, but in practice it’s 20 to 22 degrees Celsius or 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

Room temperature is defined as the thermometer reading of a room. Ideally, it is the temperature at which people feel comfortable wearing ordinary clothing. For most people, it’s either the usual temperature of their house or the temperature they set the thermostat. In science, room temperature is often defined. Here is a look at the different values of room temperature.

Room Temperature of a Typical Home

According to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, room temperature is 20–22 °C (68–72 °F). The Oxford English Dictionary states room temperature is around 20 °C (72 °F). Merriam-Webster defines a temperature range of 15 to 25 °C (59 to 77 °F) as suitable for long term human occupancy and laboratory experimentation.

However, room temperature tends to be cooler in winter and warmer in summer, to accommodate seasonal clothing. Also, studies indicate women often prefer warmer temperatures than men. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a minimum room temperature of 20 °C (68 °F) for infants, children, the elderly, and people who are ill.

Room Temperature in Science and Industry

Some agencies define normal temperatures. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) defines standard ambient temperature as 25 °C (77 °F, 298.15 K). In the pharmaceutical industry, controlled room temperature is 20 to 25 °C (68 to 77 °F). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines normal temperature as 25 °C (77 °F). For science, room temperature should be recorded and reported because it may be different from ideal or standard values.

Room Temperature vs Ambient Temperature

While the terms “room temperature” and “ambient temperature” are often used interchangeably, they don’t mean the same thing. Ambient temperature is the actual recorded temperature of the surroundings. It may differ from room temperature and may not even be an indoor temperature.


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  • Karjalainen, Sami (April 2007). “Gender differences in thermal comfort and use of thermostats in everyday thermal environments”. Building and Environment. 42 (4): 1594–1603. doi:10.1016/j.buildenv.2006.01.009
  • McNaught, A.D.; Wilkinson, A. (1997). IUPAC. Compendium of Chemical Terminology (2nd ed.). Oxford: Blackwell Scientific Publications. doi:10.1351/goldbook

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