Have you seen that commercial in which a guy is attempting to increase the air-conditioning (or heat?) just a hair, and his girlfriend/wife is like, "Nope — I'm saving up for a new pair of shoes"? I have no idea what the commercial is for, but it made me think about what a big factor home temperature and the attendant costs and comforts are when you share your home..
When I first moved in with my partner, I was highly intimidated by the central air, having never lived with such a thing before. And though I didn't enjoy the 95ºF heat and crazy humidity, I also had bad associations with air-conditioning, having mainly experienced it in freezing cold malls and movie theaters. It's finally summer — let's wear sweaters! I avoided turning the air on the first few days while my partner was at work (I work from home), as cooling down the whole house seemed like an unforgivable luxury. It was rather uncomfortable, but then I was taught a neat trick: you don't have to cool the house very much in order to make a big difference! A tiny adjustment can remove the humidity from the house, which makes all the difference in the world. On hot days, we've been setting the thermostat at about 83ºF, and if it's in the low 80ºs with low humidity, we simply open all the windows and turn on the ceiling fans. At night, however, all my money — and energy — saving goes out the window because I have a terrible time sleeping unless it's cold. I like to think my daytime thriftiness and my nighttime extravagance balance each other out, and luckily, the rest of my household agrees.
That was a roundabout way to say that at least for the summer, we've found a livable temperature that we can both agree on and afford. There will have to be a renegotiation when winter rolls around, and I hope by then to have some serious data gathered so I can know how much each additional degree will cost us. Is it worth keeping the house in the low 50ºs, if it means we can afford holiday gifts and travel? Or will I be so tempted to hibernate for a few months that I'll offer to pay for 5 or 10 additional degrees myself? After all, losing your jobs because you slept through the winter is much more expensive than a little extra heat.
How did you come to an agreement on your house temperature? Or is it an ongoing battle? Or perhaps you've come up with something similar to my family: my eco-passionate dad would keep the heat as low as he could get away with during the winter, and my mom and I would simply spend the season seated directly on the floor vents. Everybody wins!
(Image: Etsy seller Rubies are Forever)