End The Battle Over The Thermostat: Setting Your Air Conditioner’s Thermostat To Meet Everyone’s Comfort Levels

If your spouse loves the heat of summer, while you prefer a cool, crisp day, you may find yourself at odds when it comes to a comfortable temperature for your air conditioner.  Instead of battling over the control of the thermostat, try these tips for finding your personal comfort zones and reaching a realistic compromise.

Finding Your Comfort Zones

Sometimes working together to reach a compromise on the thermostat setting works out so that both of you are reasonably comfortable. To reach a realistic compromise, you will need to know the comfort range of each person. Here's how to find it.

  1. Set the thermostat to 78 degrees Fahrenheit and wait an hour or so until the home reaches this temperature. Energy Saver recommends a temperature of 78 degrees to cut down on energy consumption. While this may not be your ideal temperature, it is a good starting place.
  2. Raise the thermostat one degree and wait for the temperature to change, then assess your comfort level again.
  3. Repeat raising the thermostat one degree at a time until you feel overheated and too uncomfortable to enjoy yourself.
  4. Note the highest temperature that you feel comfortable at. For example, if you are fine at 82 degrees, but become noticeably uncomfortable at 83, 82 degrees is the upper limit of your comfort range.
  5. To find the lower limit of your comfort range, work in reverse. Begin at 78 degrees and lower the temperature one degree at a time until you are uncomfortable.
  6. Note the comfort range of both you and your spouse.

Reaching a Compromise

Compare the results to see if they overlap. You may find that your upper limit and your spouse's lower limit overlap. For example, if you are comfortable with temperatures between 74 and 80 and your spouse if comfortable with temperatures between 78 and 84, your comfort ranges overlap by two degrees. Set the thermostat to between 78 and 80 so both of you are comfortable.

If your comfort zones do not overlap, set the thermostat to a setting midway between the two. For example, if you prefer temperatures between 72 and 78 and your spouse's range is 80 to 84 degrees, set the thermostat to 79 degrees. While both of you will feel a little uncomfortable, it is often a workable solution.

What About Sleeping Temperatures?

Sometimes the nighttime temperature in your home is more of a concern than temperatures during the day, as a room that is either too warm or too cold can prevent you from getting a good night's sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, ideal bedroom temperatures should range between 60 and 67 degrees for optimal sleep. If your spouse prefers temperatures higher than 67 degrees, you may suffer from insomnia or other sleep problems because the room is too warm. Likewise, sleeping in a room that is too cool for your spouse may interfere with their quality of sleep. Here's how to address the issue.

  • Use Fans: If your spouse insists on setting the thermostat higher than you prefer at night, try placing a small fan on your side of the bed so that the breeze will keep you cooler.
  • Buy Chilled Pillows: Purchase pillows that remain cool at night. These are sold by a variety of names. Some are even designed for storing them in the freezer during the day so they will stay cool all night.
  • Give Your Spouse Extra Blankets: If you choose to set the thermostat lower so you are more comfortable, your spouse may not be able to sleep well. A small throw or extra blanket on the bed gives your spouse the warmth they need to be comfortable, while you sleep with only the sheets.
  • Sleep in the Guest Room: If you can't find a compromise that keeps both of you cool and comfy at night, there is no shame in temporarily sleeping in the guest room or on the sofa.

Working together to find an acceptable compromise keeps both you and your spouse more comfortable.