Who controls the thermostat in your home?

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I read an interesting story on the News Record’s website the other day, about how couples determine the thermostat setting in their homes. According to the story, which itself was based on a study conducted by Ohio State University, it seems that men generally decide on a home’s internal temperature setting while the woman simply complies.

That’s not how it goes in our household. My wife determines the temperature that best suits her, and I go along for the ride. I just happen to be in complete agreement with her so there’s never any debate about it being too hot or too cold.

According to this study, however, women generally prefer their indoor temperatures to be warmer than what a man desires, citing “thermal discomfort” as the motivating factor. If we had been among the 112 men and women who took part in the study, we likely would have upset the apple cart a little bit.

If anything, we prefer our thermostat to be set on the cool side, even during the winter months. It’s a lot easier to sleep at night when there’s a bit of nip in the air and we find that we’re just that much more comfortable going about our normal routine during the daytime.

It tends to be a different story when we have company over for a visit. If it’s another couple, she’ll tend to want to want to bundle up under one of several throws we have on hand while he’ll gladly accept the offer of a cup of coffee. When the visit is reciprocated, I toy with the idea of asking permission to remove my shirt.

It’s funny how the human body reacts to cool and warm temperatures. It’s not uncommon to see migrant farm workers from Jamaica wearing toques and parkas in October while the locals are still wearing T-shirts. Similarly, a Canadian visiting Florida in February, when the temperature may have dropped a few degrees below normal, is still apt to wear a short-sleeved shirt even though the native Floridians have donned sweaters or jackets.

Although those are more fish-out-of-water circumstances, people still tend to respond differently to warm and cool temperatures. At the bowling alley, I’ll see other league members wearing at least two layers of clothing while I’m attired in a polo shirt and shorts, and that’s all throughout the winter to boot. Some people can handle cooler temperatures better than others, and the same holds true in reverse during the heat of summer.

The story on the News Record’s website suggested there are several factors that can cause one individual to feel colder than another, including body weight, blood flow and other medical conditions. It wasn’t mentioned, but I suspect age is another factor. Based on my own personal observations, the older a person is, the more sensitive he or she is to cool temperatures.

Knowing that what’s OK for one isn’t necessarily right for another, we’ll bite the bullet when we have company over and bump up the heat another notch or two so that our guests are made to feel comfortable. Once they’ve left, though, the windows are cracked open for a while until the readjusted thermostat restores the inside temperature to our liking.

At our place, we have no arguments about the thermostat setting. And we’re on the same page regarding the direction the toilet paper roll should be positioned.

 

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