Emergency service needed? We're ready to help! Request Service


How to Talk to Your Partner About Thermostat Settings

Mature Man Turning Control Dial On Digital Central Heating Thermostat At Home

You are working from home in a comfortable 72 degrees when your partner comes home from the gym and turns it down to 68. And the thermostat war is on. You aren’t alone. This battleground plays out regularly in 75% of homes across America. Everyone in the home has their ideal temperature. Good communication strengthens the bond between people, promotes empathy, and ensures that both parties feel heard, valued, and supported. Learning how to discuss this common issue helps partners express their thoughts, feelings, and needs openly and honestly, preventing misunderstandings and resolving conflicts in a healthy manner.

First Up: Thermostat Basics

First, let’s discuss the main types of thermostats available to control the temperature and comfort levels in your home.

  • Manual Thermostats: Also known as mechanical or non-programmable thermostats, these basic devices allow you to manually set and adjust the temperature. They usually have a simple interface with a dial or lever to control the temperature settings.
  • Programmable Thermostats: These thermostats allow you to set different temperature schedules for different times of the day and days of the week, helping you save energy and maintain consistent comfort levels. You can program specific temperature settings for when you’re at home, away, or asleep, optimizing energy usage and reducing costs.
  • Wi-Fi/Smart Thermostats: Smart thermostats connect to your home’s Wi-Fi network, enabling remote access and control through a smartphone, tablet, or computer. They offer advanced features such as learning your temperature preferences, adjusting to your schedule, monitoring energy usage, and providing real-time feedback. Some smart thermostats are also compatible with smart home systems and voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple HomeKit.

Understanding Different Comfort Preferences & Finding The Ideal Temperature

Each person’s temperature comfort, also known as thermal comfort, can vary widely due to a combination of personal and environmental factors. Recognizing the importance of individual comfort when it comes to temperature is a crucial aspect of maintaining a pleasant and harmonious environment, be it at home or in the workplace. Everyone has unique temperature preferences, which are influenced by a variety of factors such as age, health status, metabolic rate, and personal comfort levels.

Creating a Safe Space for Your Thermostat Settings Conversation

Although everyone’s individual needs vary, there are a few suggestions you can consider to resolve the thermostat conflict. Acknowledging these differences is key to fostering an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding.

Choosing the appropriate time and place to have a productive conversation about thermostat settings is essential to ensure that all parties involved feel comfortable and are more receptive to discussing their preferences and needs. Here are some reasons why selecting the right time and place is crucial:

Minimize distractions

Selecting a quiet, comfortable setting where everyone can focus on the conversation without interruptions enables better understanding and more effective communication.

Avoid conflicts

Discussing thermostat settings when everyone involved is calm and relaxed reduces the likelihood of conflicts or misunderstandings. High-stress situations or times when people are tired or preoccupied may lead to disagreements or unproductive conversations.

Practice empathy

Try to understand the other person’s perspective. This can help you approach the conversation with more kindness and patience.

Active Listening and Validation

In a conducive, active listening environment, individuals are more inclined to listen attentively to one another, allowing them to comprehend each other’s concerns and preferences better.

Avoiding Blame and Conflict

By focusing on the issue, not the person, you can avoid blame and conflict. Discuss the behavior or situation that’s causing the problem, not the person’s character or personality. This helps prevent the other person from becoming defensive.

Using “I” Statements

Instead of saying, “You always forget to…”, try saying, “I feel stressed when…”. This shifts the focus from blaming the other person to expressing your feelings and experiences.

Compromise and Collaboration: Avoiding The Thermostat War

By selecting an appropriate time and place, the conversation is more likely to result in finding common ground and reaching a mutually agreeable thermostat setting that balances comfort and energy efficiency.

Find a Middle Ground 

Compromise and a willingness to meet halfway on thermostat settings can offer numerous benefits in shared living or working spaces. Ensuring that everyone’s temperature preferences are taken into account leads to a more comfortable environment for all. While it may not be the ideal temperature for each individual, it’s a balanced setting that everyone can tolerate.

Exploring Alternative Solutions & Thermostat Features

A thermostat setting compromise might involve adjusting the thermostat, using fans or heaters in certain areas, or allowing for flexible clothing options. Another option can be upgrading your thermostat. Smart thermostats that offer scheduling, learning preferences, and remote smartphone adjustments not only help maintain a comfortable temperature in the home but also promote peace by reducing disagreements over thermostat settings.

Utilizing Programmable Thermostat Settings

Using a programmable thermostat is a helpful way to adjust your home’s temperature according to your daily schedule and conserve energy. Here’s how you can leverage its features:

  • Set daily schedules
  • Weekend/weekday programming
  • Vacation mode
  • Adaptive recovery/smart recovery
  • Energy reports

What The Experts Say About The Perfect Thermostat Setting 

Balancing comfort and energy efficiency with your thermostat settings can be achieved with careful consideration of seasonal changes. During the summer months, when cooling is needed, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (25.5 degrees Celsius) when you’re at home and awake. When you’re away from home or asleep, you can save energy by setting the thermostat a few degrees higher.

In the winter, aim for a thermostat setting of 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) when you’re at home and awake. When you’re away or asleep, lower the temperature by 7-10 degrees to save energy without compromising comfort. Consulting HVAC professionals for advice on optimizing thermostat settings and energy efficiency can help you find what works best for you and your home’s comfort.

Maximizing Energy Savings with Smart Features

Smart thermostats offer a range of features that can greatly enhance the energy efficiency and comfort of your home. They learn occupancy patterns, auto-adjust temperature home or away, give energy use insights, and integrate with other smart devices.

By leveraging these features, smart thermostats offer a powerful tool for managing your home’s climate control systems more effectively and efficiently. They take much of the guesswork out of programming a thermostat, providing a more automated and intelligent approach to home comfort and energy savings.

Tips for Efficient Cooling and Heating

Efficient cooling and heating are important for maintaining a comfortable home environment while keeping utility bills in check. Here are some tips to help you optimize your home’s heating and cooling efficiency:

Harness the Power of Ceiling Fans

Using ceiling fans in conjunction with your thermostat can greatly enhance air circulation and create a more comfortable environment. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Increased air circulation
  • Feels cooler
  • Helps with heating
  • Energy efficiency

Remember, ceiling fans cool people, not rooms. So, for maximum energy efficiency, turn off the fan when you leave the room.

Seal Air Leaks for Energy Savings

Identifying and sealing air leaks around windows, doors, and other areas is critical for both energy conservation and maintaining desired temperatures in your home by reducing drafts.

Sealing air leaks can be done using a variety of materials, like weatherstripping for doors and windows, caulk for gaps and cracks, or insulation for larger areas like attics. A professional energy audit can also help identify less obvious air leaks and provide tailored solutions.

Optimize Insulation Levels

Proper insulation plays a crucial role in maintaining a consistent indoor temperature and reducing the workload on your HVAC system. Insulation acts as a barrier to heat flow, keeping your home warm in the winter by reducing heat loss and cooling in the summer by minimizing heat gain. This results in a more consistent and comfortable indoor temperature year-round.

Embrace Natural Ventilation

Strategically opening windows during cooler periods is a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to keep your home comfortable while reducing reliance on the air conditioning system. Night and early morning are typically the coolest parts of the day, making them an ideal time to let in some fresh air.

Utilize Window Treatments

Window coverings, including blinds, curtains, shades, or even window films, can be an effective way to block out either sunlight and heat in summer or cold outside air in winter. By controlling sunlight and heat, window coverings can help create a more comfortable living environment.

Leverage Thermostat Scheduling

Using the scheduling features on your thermostat can help optimize cooling and heating cycles based on your daily routines. By understanding your routines, a smart thermostat can create patterns that can plan for away times, adjust for sleep and consider different settings for weekend and weekday schedules.

Emphasize Temperature Setbacks

Temperature setbacks are an easy way to optimize your home’s energy use and comfort. They allow you to maintain a comfortable temperature when you’re at home and awake but save energy when you don’t need as much heating or cooling. This balance ensures consistent comfort. A small adjustment in temperature during periods of absence or sleep can make a big difference in your energy consumption and costs.

Regular HVAC Maintenance

Regular maintenance of your HVAC system is critical to ensure its efficient operation, longevity, and energy savings. Remember, maintenance should be performed by a qualified professional. While homeowners can change filters and keep vents clear of obstructions, tasks like checking the refrigerant level, inspecting electrical connections, and cleaning the coils should be left to a professional. Most experts recommend scheduling a maintenance visit at least once a year, typically in the spring for cooling systems and in the fall for heating systems.

Celebrate Energy Efficiency Achievements

Finding a compromise on thermostat settings can have a significant impact on both energy savings and environmental benefits. It’s important to note that “compromise” doesn’t mean sacrificing comfort. It might mean wearing a sweater indoors in the winter or using fans to circulate air in the summer.

Or it could mean making use of programmable or smart thermostats to adjust the temperature when you’re away or asleep. The goal is to find a balance between comfort and energy efficiency that works for you. And now, celebrate your shared goal of listening to each other, building relationships, and saving energy!

Smart Thermostat Installation in Portland 

When you have found a thermostat compromise where everyone feels comfortable, heard, and your home energy use is optimized, everyone wins! Upgrading your thermostat is an easy and cost-effective way to save money on energy bills. It doesn’t require you to replace your entire HVAC system and can provide improved comfort, eliminating the need to manually adjust settings. Additionally, on average, it can reduce energy bills by 20%.

If you’re interested in smart thermostat installation in your Portland, Oregon, or Vancouver, Washington home, contact Jacobs Heating and Air Conditioning to talk to a Home Automation specialist about our smart thermostat options. No matter what you need, we’re always just a phone call away.

About the Author

Amanda Jacobs portrait

Amanda Jacobs, Internal Project Manager

Amanda Jacobs is an Internal Projects Manager and 3rd generation member of Jacobs Heating & Air Conditioning. She received her MBA from Seattle University and has worked for a leading HVAC training and consulting firm. When not talking HVAC on the Jacobs Blog, you can find her on the golf course or whipping up her famous vegan chili.