Is There a Winter Thermostat War Happening in Your Home?

face to face businessIt’s been cold lately. For a lot of folks, that means turning up the thermostat. But for others, their comfort level (or their angst over the impending utility bill) makes them turn that thermostat right back down. If you have more than one person living in your house, you’ve probably experienced this kind of thermostat war, where tensions are high and the heat is low, and then high, and then low again…

Is there a right answer to how warm a house should be? According to Psychology Today’s Dr. Sally Augustin, research suggests that a thermostat set in the low to mid 70s is ideal for optimal well-being and performance. How people perceive temperature, though, is much more complicated and varied. Dr. Augustin notes several factors that affect how people perceive a temperature, including:

  • Humidity
  • Air movement like “drafts’ and “breezes”
  • The color of a space (We feel warmer in rooms that are painted warm colors than in ones painted in cool colors)
  • Clothing
  • Body composition

If there’s no real “right” answer, how are you and your household to agree on where to keep the heat this winter? Here are three tips that might help:

1)     Agree on Warmer Times: Sit down with your family and talk about the times of day that people want to be the warmest. Perhaps colder dad likes the house to be toasty from the time he gets up till the time he leaves for work, but can agree to put on an extra layer in the afternoons when the family is in and out of the house doing activities or are moving around doing household chores.

Try to find a balance so the key times when people are especially cold or hot are resolved. One tool that can help you achieve warmer temperatures at certain times of day is a programmable thermostat. Not only can these thermostats help mitigate the thermostat war, they can also help lower energy bills by keeping temperatures lower when no one is home.

2)     Agree on Warmer Rooms: A different approach to negotiating the house temperature is for you and your family to agree on certain portions of the house that will be kept warmer or cooler than others. Areas where more movement occurs, like the kitchen or playroom, could be kept cooler than the home office, bedrooms, or bathrooms, where people are more likely to be sedentary and need warmer temperatures. Warmer parts of the house can be achieved by using zone heating or system zoning.

In zone heating, you can close doors and heat vents in areas you’ve agreed to keep cooler while providing supplemental heat sources in rooms you want to keep warmer. This can be a high maintenance system, though. System zoning requires infrastructure, but can help keep different parts of your home different temperatures through various thermostats and motorized heat ducts. You can learn more about system zoning by talking to a Gagne representative.

3)     Consider Steps to Increase Efficiency: If someone in your house is keeping the thermostat down because of worries over heating bills, consider what kind of HVAC improvements might increase your heating efficiency, such a new energy efficient furnace. Or think about ways you can winterize your house.

While control of the thermostat can be tricky, a little bit of understanding, compromise, and some assistance from a highly experienced and qualified heating specialist in metro-Atlanta can help you and your family find the right balance.