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Room temperature is a colloquial expression for the typical or preferred indoor (climate-controlled) temperature to which people are generally accustomed. It represents the small range of temperatures at which the air feels neither hot nor cold, approximately 20 °C (68 °F). In scientific contexts, it may denote the range between 16 and 26 °C (61 and 79 °F), with an average of 20 °C (68 °F).
Owing to variations in humidity and likely clothing, recommendations for summer and winter may vary; a suggested typical range for summer is 23 °C (73 °F) to 25.5 °C (78 °F), with that for winter being 20 °C (68 °F) to 23.5 °C (74 °F). Although by other considerations the maximum should be below 24 °C (75 °F) – and for sick building syndrome avoidance, below 22 °C (72 °F).
According to the West Midlands Public Health Observatory (UK), an adequate level of wintertime warmth is 21 °C (70 °F) for a living room, and a minimum of 18 °C (64 °F) for other occupied rooms, giving 24 °C (75 °F) as a maximum comfortable room temperature for sedentary adults. At temperatures below 20 °C (68 °F), increased risk of death has been observed, and winter deaths reportedly rise at a rate of about 1.4% per degree below 18 °C (64 °F).
For scientific work, room temperature is taken to be about 20 to 26° Celsius with an average of 23 °C, about 73.4 degrees Fahrenheit (°F), 293 to 299 kelvins (K), or 528 to 537 degrees Rankine (°R). For numerical convenience, either 20 °C (68 °F) or 300 K (80 °F) are often used. However, room temperature is not a defined scientific term, unlike Standard Temperature and Pressure (STP), which has several slightly different definitions.
Ambient versus room temperature
Room temperature implies a temperature inside a temperature-controlled building. Ambient temperature simply means "the temperature of the surroundings" and will be the same as room temperature indoors. In many languages, such as Spanish, Portuguese and Italian, there is an expression for ambient temperature, but no distinct translation for room temperature.
- The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (5th ed.). 2014.
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