The Clearwater and Tampa Bay area, like most of Florida, is known for its long, hot summers. But for nearly three months out of the year, residents can expect cooler-than-normal temperatures between mid-December and late February.
Over the last century, the “cold season” in Clearwater has averaged a daily temperature between 73°F and 52°F. Yet in 1981, the coldest recorded temperature was actually 19°F!
We don’t expect the temperatures to drop that low this year—but with a year like 2020 behind us, anything can happen. Instead, we can be certain of one thing: when it’s time to turn the heat on, you want your HVAC system to be working in your favor.
Read on to learn about the Clearwater cold season and tips for turning on your heat this winter.
How Cold Does It Get in Clearwater, Florida?
Clearwater’s “coldest day of the year” is January 18, with an average low of 55°F and high of 69°F. However, average temperatures and rainfall typically are1:
- High: 71° F
- Low: 52° F
- Precipitation: 2.19 inches
- Gulf Temperature: 68° F
Snowfall is rare in Florida. The earliest recorded occurrence of snow was in 1774 in the far northern portion of the state, and the latest occurrence of snow or sleet fell on January 3, 2018, as a winter storm brought snow flurries in Tallahassee and northern portions of the state2.
While we don’t anticipate any snowfall in Clearwater this year, check out the seven-day forecast for the Tampa Bay area on http://www.baynews9.com—just to be sure.
What Causes Cold Weather?
Many people believe the temperature is colder in the winter because the Earth is farther from the sun. However, contrary to popular belief, the Earth is actually farthest away from the sun in July and closest to the sun in January3.
That’s because temperature changes are affected by the Earth’s tilted axis, not proximity to the sun. In summer, the sun’s rays hit Earth at a steep angle, allowing a specific spot—in our case, Clearwater, Florida—to receive more concentrated energy and heat. The days are also longer in summer, allowing the Earth more time to heat up.
In winter, the Earth is tilted at a narrower angle, causing the sun’s rays to spread out and minimizing the amount of energy to heat any given spot. Plus, long nights and shorter days prevent the Earth from warming up3.
When Should I Turn My Heat On?
As we enter this new season of shorter days and long, cooler nights, you may be wondering what’s the best temperature to set your HVAC system and how long you should keep your heat running.
The answer isn’t always simple, since turning the heat on can be a personal preference which, depending on who you live with, can also be a “heated” topic of discussion. (See what we did there?)
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), indoor housing temperatures should be high enough to protect residents from the harmful health effects of cold. The WHO proposes 64.4°F as a safe and well-balanced indoor temperature, but if you have children or are/are living with a senior, 69.8°F is the minimum recommended temperature4.
During the day, it’s fine to open up the windows throughout your house and let the cool breeze in. However, when the temperature drops beyond a chill in the evenings, we recommend closing the windows, drapes and shades, and turning your heat on. The important thing is to maintain a consistent temperature in your home. Ideally, your HVAC system doesn’t keep turning on and off throughout the day, leading to higher energy costs.
No matter the type of heating system you have in your house, you can save money and increase your comfort by properly maintaining, upgrading or even replacing your HVAC equipment5.
Want more advice on heating your home? Call us at Air Care today.
Clearwater Heating Tips
When you combine proper HVAC system maintenance and equipment upgrades—with recommended insulation, sealing and thermostat settings—you can save about 30% on your energy bill, while reducing environmental emissions5.
Thanks to Energy.gov, here are some tips to keep your Clearwater home warm this season:
- Use a programmable thermostat to set your HVAC system to a comfortable temperature
- Check your AC filters regularly; if filters are dirty, clean or replace them
- Ensure windows and doors are properly sealed
- During the day, keep your curtains or shades open on the windows that face the sun; at night, close the drapes to reduce the chill
- Turn off kitchen, bath and other exhaust fans within 20 minutes after you are done cooking or bathing
- If purchasing new shades, exhaust fans or heating products, be sure to select an energy-efficient option
- Ensure regular maintenance and bi-annual tune-ups are performed on your HVAC system, especially before the cold season
- If purchasing a new HVAC unit, ensure it’s an energy-efficient model (see our recommendations on Rheem HVAC systems)
To learn more heating tips, contact our team at Air Care.
Want to Improve Your Heating System?
If you haven’t checked your heating system this season, it’s time to call our HVAC professionals. Air Care serves Pinellas, western Hillsborough and southern Pasco counties in the Tampa Bay metro area.
During a preventative system tune-up appointment, we’ll inspect your system, filters, carbon monoxide and refrigerant levels, pressure, temperature, controls and more, and recommend solutions to help it work in your favor.
Contact Air Care today to learn more about HVAC maintenance services, repairs, a total system replacement or special offers this season.
“Thank you, Thank you. Your company put in a new air conditioner/heat unit in my home, and I wanted you to know how polite and mannerly your crew were. (They) shared how to use the air conditioner and cleaned up the mess. You should be proud to have such good workers. Thank you again.”— Barbara & Virgil
 Trip Savvy: Clearwater Florida
 Wikipedia.org: Climate in Florida
 Library of Congress: Why is it hot in summer and cold in winter?
 World Health Organization (WHO): WHO Housing and Health Guidelines, Low Indoor Temperatures
 Energy.gov: Home Heating Systems