Many people have different temperature preferences throughout the year, and this can lead to friction when someone reaches for the thermostat. Everyone has their own idea about what temperature makes them feel comfortable, and it’s easy for a minor disagreement to turn into a full blown argument. Finding a solution to this problem can be tricky, is it possible to keep everyone comfortable and happy? In this article, we will look at some ways to deal with conflicts, avoid stress, and make the temperature right for the entire family.
Avoiding a Buildup of Stress in Your Family Relationships
Every family experiences stress; this is natural, and avoiding it altogether will inevitably end in failure. When feelings are repressed, they eventually manifest in a larger argument that could have been avoided by discussing the issues earlier. In a conflict centered around indoor temperatures, the differences in opinion are often divided along clear gender lines.
Women typically have a slower metabolic rate when compared to men, and this makes them feel the cold in a more acute way. A recent study conducted in an office set the air conditioning to a temperature preferred by men, and the woman in the building had to huddle under blankets to keep warm! So, this is a possible source of conflict that has its roots in how our bodies work, and it’s important to bear this in mind.
When a conflict over indoor temperatures arises along gender lines, it can be easy to think that the other person is being “difficult.” But, if you can place yourself in the position of the other person, it can be a useful exercise. This is a problem rooted in biology, we cannot change how our bodies react to temperatures, but perhaps we can change the situation itself.
Sharing the Same Space
Now that we’ve established that everyone can have different temperature requirements, how can we handle this situation? Living with other people always requires a compromise, and failing in this area leads to domestic stress and conflict. If multiple people are sharing the same space, there isn’t a lot that you can do about the ambient room temperature. The thermostat can only be set at a single temperature, so how can you reach any compromise that could satisfy everyone?
This is a common issue between partners that are spending time together in the living room or sharing a bedroom at night. The best solution to this problem is to always keep the lines of communication open and make sure to voice your concerns. If you feel cold, tell your partner, and then you can both work together to solve the problem. In some cases, you can pull over an extra blanket and snuggle down, but what if you want to adjust the thermostat to a different temperature.
As soon as anyone wants to adjust the thermostat, a certain level of compromise will be needed if the same space is shared. As an example: if Michelle wants to adjust the temperature to 70º and Richard wants to keep it at 60º, the obvious solution is to set the temperature to 65º. Each person doesn’t get the exact temperature that they want, but they are closer without making their partner uncomfortable. In this particular example, Richard may then shed an outer layer, and Michelle may put an extra layer of clothing on. They both feel more comfortable, they can continue sharing the space, and they don’t need to argue about the temperature in the room.
In Separate Rooms
Setting an ideal temperature for a single person in a separate room is far easier. There is no need to compromise; there are many options available using your HVAC system and other techniques to get a comfortable temperature for the room occupant.
The first option is to establish zone heating if you have that facility on your HVAC system. Many modern HVAC systems allow you to set different rooms to differing temperatures. This allows you to customize spaces to suit the people occupying them at certain times of the day. The typical use for this would be setting bedrooms to certain temperatures before bed and adjusting or turning off the temperature in areas that will not be used for a while. A zone heating system works very well if you’re using a smart thermostat and smart vents to control your heating requirements.
The second option is to provide a space heater for people that need a little extra heat in their rooms. Modern space heaters are safer than older models, they are easy to use, and they have a reasonable level of energy efficiency. A space heater doesn’t take up too much room, and it can be easily moved into position by a single person. This allows the occupant of a room to boost their heat a little without affecting the rest of the home.
Arguing About Energy Usage
Many domestic arguments surround the issue of heating or cooling are actually more about the costs of the energy used. This is understandable; energy costs have increased in recent years, and controlling the temperature accounts for around 48% of the energy used in a typical home. But, there are ways to boost your energy efficiency and save money on heating and cooling.
A good way to passively increase or decrease the heat in any room is to consider the sunlight in those spaces. The sunshine streaming into a room can create a buildup of heat that you want in winter, and you don’t want it in summer. So, if you want to save energy, open your curtains in winter and close them in summer.
If you’re serious about saving energy, get a professional energy audit to identify where you’re losing the treated air from your HVAC system. Drafts allow frigid air to enter in winter and warm air to enter in summer, and this will reduce the energy efficiency of your HVAC system. Contact your local HVAC specialist if you want to learn more about zone heating, smart thermometers, and energy efficient measures to make your home comfortable for everyone.