When it comes to temperature, I’ve found there are two kinds of people. One says, “Yeah, 92 is hot, but I’d rather it was 92 than 29!” The other one says, “Yeah, 29 is cold, but I’d rather it was 29 than 92!”
Now, psychologically speaking, the one who prefers 92 over 29 is a right-minded person who probably has a great life. The other one, well, if you ever encounter one on a summer day, make sure you have earplugs available. Their complaining will be non-stop.
Of course, these are outdoor temperatures. No matter the temperature outside, we can make the indoors feel however we want. Well, we can if we don’t mind sky-high electric bills. Those things can be pesky.
But what is the perfect indoor temperature? A tweet (of course) by Energy Star, a Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency program, said that in order to keep the house cool enough to be tolerable, and keep those awful electric bills at a manageable level, said you should set your air no lower than 78 when you’re in the house and no higher than 85 when you’re gone or 82 when you’re asleep.
Having known several people over the years who would proudly exclaim they never turned the thermostat higher than 67 during the summer, I knew the idea of keeping the thermostat at 78 would go over like a lead balloon.
If you know what Twitter is and how it works, you can imagine the response the tweet garnered. If you don’t know what Twitter is beyond “it’s something Trump does,” imagine your reaction if somebody walked up to you and said, “You’re momma’s butt ugly. On the plus side, she can cook.”
A guy once told me he kept his air at 62 during the summer. I thought his air must run non-stop at least six months out of the year and his electric bill must rival that of a department store.
If you’ve ever gone into a store and immediately felt like you froze, you’ve encountered a thermostat set at 62. I know this because one time when I went into a cold store, after I managed to get my feet unstuck from the frozen floor, I found the thermostat, protected by a glass case with a lock, and it said 62. I even spotted employees rushing outside for what I assumed was a break just to warm up.
The report didn’t say anything about winter thermostat settings, but I assume they might be better received. Personally, in the winter, I keep the thermostat at 72 when we’re home, 65 when we’re gone and 67 when we’re asleep. Some people I’ve known over the years think 72 is too high, but the majority agree these are reasonable numbers.
One thing I’ve noticed is that it’s much easier to warm a house up than to cool it down. I guess that has something to do with heat rising and cool settling down. When we come in at the end of the day and the heat comes on, it goes from 65 to 72 in about half an hour. During the summer, taking it from 82 to 78 takes approximately seven hours.
I didn’t live in a house with central heat and air until I was 29, so I treated it just like a gas furnace. If we weren’t there, it was turned off. Central air doesn’t work that way. You turn it off in the morning in the summer, and the house heats up to 97 degrees. You come in and turn the air on to 78 and about six weeks later it finally reaches 78 degrees.
Arguing over the thermostat is something humans have done ever since one was created. Some people never cool down and some never heat up. In a perfect world, we’d all love an outdoor temperature of 75 degrees with no humidity, but the indoor world is another story entirely. There the twine shall never meet.
For those of us at a certain income level, it’s kind of a moot point. If we could afford it, I’d keep the thermostat at 75 during the summer, but three degrees can literally make the electric bill go up $50. And it’s rarely below $200 as it is.
So, if you come to my house and think it’s too hot, keep it to yourself. And if I come to your house and start freezing, I’ll keep my mouth shut. Though I will be resentful that you can afford to keep it so cold.