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Mercury-in-glass thermometer showing an ambient temperature within the range of room temperature

Colloquially, room temperature is the range of air temperatures that people prefer for indoor settings, which feel comfortable when wearing typical indoor clothing. As a medical definition, the range generally considered to be suitable for human occupancy is between 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit) and 25 °C (77 °F),[1] though human comfort can extend somewhat beyond this range depending on factors such as humidity and air circulation.[2] In certain fields, like science and engineering, and within a particular context, "room temperature" can have varying agreed upon values for temperature.


Comfort levelsEdit

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language identifies room temperature as around 20 to 22 °C (68 to 72 °F),[3] and the Oxford English Dictionary claims that it is "conventionally taken as about 20 °C (68 °F)".[4]

Owing to variations in humidity and likely clothing, recommendations for summer and winter may vary; a suggested typical range for summer is 23 to 25.5 °C (73 to 78 °F), with that for winter being 20 to 23.5 °C (68 to 74 °F),[5] although by other considerations the maximum should be below 24 °C (75 °F) – and for sick building syndrome avoidance, below 22 °C (72 °F).[5]

The World Health Organisation's standard for comfortable warmth is 18 °C (64 °F) for normal, healthy adults who are appropriately dressed. For those with respiratory problems or allergies, they recommend no less than 16 °C (61 °F), and for the sick, disabled, very old or very young, a minimum of 20 °C (68 °F).[6]

Ambient versus room temperatureEdit

Ambient temperature simply means "the temperature of the surrounding air". In any particular room, it is the actual temperature of the air in that room, as measured by a thermometer. It may be very different from usual "room temperature", for example an unheated room in winter.

Serving temperature of red wineEdit

A common piece of advice is to serve red wine "at room temperature". This advice stems from a time from before central heating, when room temperature in wine-drinking countries was considerably lower than it is today, usually in the range between 15 °C (59 °F) and 18 °C (64 °F). The advice is therefore to serve the wine at, at most, about 18 °C (64 °F).[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Merriam Webster's Medical Dictionary. 2016. Archived from the original on 2010-04-10. 
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-09-20. Retrieved 2017-09-19. 
  3. ^ The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (5th ed.). 2014. Archived from the original on 2015-01-08. 
  4. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, Third Edition, November 2010), sub-entry at room.
  5. ^ a b Burroughs, H. E.; Hansen, Shirley (2011). Managing Indoor Air Quality. Fairmont Press. pp. 149–151. Archived from the original on 20 September 2014. Retrieved 25 December 2014. 
  6. ^ "BBC News Magazine: How warm is your home". Archived from the original on 2017-12-31. 
  7. ^ Karen MacNeil (2015). The Wine Bible (revised second ed.). Workman Publishing. p. 130. ISBN 978-0-7611-8715-8.