It’s an established medical fact that people can have very different needs when it comes to maintaining a comfortable temperature. You may be happy relaxing at 72ºF, but when your partner enters the room, they are happier with 70ºF or lower. The more people you have in your home, the more the requirements can vary and this can lead to thermostat wars. When people are constantly adjusting the thermostat, it can create a bad atmosphere and no-one seems to get the indoor temperature that they want. This is bad enough in a home, but in a business setting, it can lead to a loss of productivity and poor morale. But, it is possible to end the thermostat wars with a little forward thinking and a proactive approach. Let’s find out how it’s possible to keep most people happy.
What is the Scale of the Problem?
A recent survey conducted by the company Vivint Solar found that around 75% of American couples have regular fights over their indoor home temperature settings. Complaints about the temperature are a common headache for HR personnel in many companies. The thermostat wars are a real problem and ultimately everyone is miserable. The main source of this problem is the way we alter the indoor temperatures and how they are controlled. Many indoor spaces have a temperature that is controlled and regulated by a single thermostat. This will dictate the temperature for every other room or space and yet those areas may have very different thermal profiles.
4 Short-Term Solutions
As the colder weather sets in, it’s a good idea to look at some short-term solutions before we examine some better ways to deal with this problem, they are:
1. Negotiation and Consensus
When people stop talking, it tends to make the situation worse and this can only exacerbate the problem. If you talk to the other person(s) using the room, you may discover that their desired temperature isn’t that different from your own. If they like 72ºF and you prefer 68ºF maybe splitting the difference at 70ºF is the solution. Sure, maybe neither person gets the exact temperature they want, but it is closer to both positions.
2. Invest in a Space Heater
If certain rooms in the home feel chillier, you can place a space heater in that area to offset the temperature differential. In summer, you can install a portable or a window mounted AC unit. Adding a single mini-split AC unit to a room can cool it down for the person using that space if other people are happy about the overall home temperature.
3. Use the Power of the Sun
When sunlight streams through a window, it can generate a lot of heat. This free solar energy can be absorbed by carpets, drapes, and soft furnishings for a long time. Even after the sun sets, this can boost the temperature in that room. If the room feels too warm, you can fully or partially draw the curtains to control the temperature naturally.
4. Appropriate Dress
Let’s face it, many people like to lounge in their homes in shorts and a T, even when a blizzard is raging outdoors. This requires the thermostat to be set very high, which drives up the utility bills and places additional strain on the heating equipment. This is an inefficient way to run your heating system and it can lead to costly repairs. Dressing to the conditions with light indoor layers of clothing helps you to maintain a comfortable internal temperature of 98.6F without breaking the bank. This means that someone that needs more heat can wear a sweater or light fleece jacket to feel warm and toasty.
2 Long-Term Solutions
Now that the immediate problem is under control, it’s a good idea to look at two long-term solutions, they are:
1. Install a Smart AC Controller or Thermostat
We have seen smart technology introduced in many aspects of our lives and it can give us unparalleled control and feedback on a wide variety of systems. This is very applicable when you need precise control over the indoor temperatures at home or at work. The systems can be controlled via a Wifi connection in real-time and it’s easy to make changes. You can set any schedule you like to optimize the performance, energy efficiency and it’s even possible to get alerts if something goes wrong. Once you have your preferred settings in place, you can monitor them via an app on your smartphone or your favorite mobile device, or on your PC. If an unexpected situation arises, it’s possible to advance or delay heating or cooling to compensate. Using smart technology in this way can help you to save money on your energy bills and reduce the strain on your equipment. These types of systems work very well with our second recommendation.
2. HVAC Zoning
The core principle of HVAC zoning is that the temperature doesn’t need to be the same in every area of the home or workplace. The property is split into clearly defined zones and each of these zones is controlled by a separate thermostat or a smart controller. So, you can set your kitchen to be a little cooler than the bedroom and people in those areas can select their optimal temperature. As an added bonus, HVAC zoning will reduce your energy bills because you don’t need to adjust the temperature for the entire home.
Studies have shown that the optimal indoor temperature is 71.6ºF in the workplace. This provides the ideal balance of comfort and productivity that most people can live with. At home, it can be harder to achieve a compromise because people engage in a wider variety of activities. This is why it can be difficult to find the temperature for a couple that’s sleeping in the same bedroom. Adopting one or more of the four short-term fixes that we detailed earlier will help you to manage the thermostat wars for now. But, if you want a permanent solution, it’s a good idea to implement the two long-term fixes we covered earlier.
If you want to install a smart thermostat/controller and an HVAC zoning system in your home, contact your local HVAC specialist today.