We all have different levels of comfort, especially when it comes to temperature. If you live with a significant other, partner, spouse, or even roommates, the temperature in your home can become a battle zone complete with espionage, distraction techniques, and sabotage.
75% of people fight over the temperature in their home
Let’s get ready to rumble. 33% of our survey respondents said their partner keeps the house too cold, 31% said it’s too hot, and 36% said it’s fine, so it’s no wonder that people have disagreements! When asked if they have ever argued over the temperature the thermostat is set to in their homes, 75% of respondents said yes.
Men and women were almost equally matched with 75% of women saying they argue over the thermostat and 74% of men admitting to fighting over it. Those who say both they and their partner adjust the thermostat regularly are 5% more likely to argue over it rather than those who leave thermostat responsibility up to just one of them. It appears from this information the divisive nature of the thermostat is all we can really agree on.
What can you do about it
“What happens in conflicts like these, is that each person generally just wants to win—it can turn into a power struggle,” states Dr. Margaret Paul, bestselling author, relationship expert, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® self-healing process. “The way out of that is to be open to understanding not only their own feelings, but the other person’s, as well. It’s very interesting what happens when people are open to learning rather than just trying to win. When they’re caring about themselves and caring about the other person, then they can come to a resolution.”
Many people prefer to keep arguing instead of compromising
Who wears the blankets in your relationship? It’s clear from the data above that people definitely get heated about their thermostats, but how do they cope? When it’s cold outside, 23% of respondents report that they resolve their discomfort with the temperature by wearing lots of sweaters and blankets. When broken down even more, 28% of women said they solve the thermostat argument this way, whereas only 17% of men say they make that compromise; the most popular solution among men was to keep arguing. Moreover, people who said their own comfort was more important than that of their partner’s, children’s, or guest’s were more likely to solve the issue by continuing to argue than to find other solutions.
What can you do about it
Instead of arguing, Jessica Baum, founder of the Relationship Institute of Palm Beach and creator of the Self-Full™ method — a therapeutic path to personal wellness and freedom from codependence, suggests that couples "pick a number". If 68 degrees feels good for one person and 72 feels good for the other person, try compromising on a number in the middle. Or if the house has a couple of zones, maybe some zones are warmer and others are cooler.
Only 5% of people care about their guests’ comfort
Speaking of whose comfort is the most important…37% of respondents said that their own comfort was the most important when it came to the temperature in their homes, whereas 32% said their partner’s comfort was the most important and 26% said their children’s comfort was. Interestingly, only 5% of people reported that their guests’ comfort was the most important. The majority of men (42%) said their partner or spouse’s comfort was the most important, whereas only 23% of women reported that their partner or spouse’s comfort was the most important.
The ideal temperature in most people’s homes is 70 degrees
We know that people argue about the temperature in their homes, but what is the ideal temperature they’re arguing about? According to survey participants, the most comfortable temperature in the home is 70 degrees; popularity dropped drastically below 68 and above 73. Both men and women agreed that the ideal temperature should be around 70, but men and a majority of people who are 55 and older were slightly more likely to endorse temperatures around 68 degrees.
64% of respondents sneakily change the thermostat
Up next, sabotage. In other words, people who sneakily change the temperature in the home to suit their comfort without their significant other knowing. 64% of respondents said they’ve tried to change the thermostat without their partner knowing. People who say both they and their partner adjust the thermostat regularly are 6% more likely to commit this act of sabotage than those who leave the thermostat responsibility up to one person. And 58% of people who said their partner’s comfort is the most important still tried to adjust the thermostat without their partner knowing. People over 55, however, were 5% less likely to adjust the thermostat without their partner knowing.
60% of people get angry when someone changes their thermostat
60% of our survey participants reported feeling upset when someone changed the temperature on their thermostat, although those who were 55 and older were less likely to get upset by this. People who tried to change the thermostat when their partner wasn’t looking (like those saboteurs mentioned in the previous section) were 11% more likely to get upset when others adjusted the thermostat.
What can you do about it
“Try talking to your partner in a way that builds empathy around your experience. Pick a time when you’re not emotional about the conflict to talk. Explain to them that you want to share how you feel when it’s too hot or too cold and share in detail how that feels in your body, as well as how it impacts you. Then, tell your partner that it’s important for you to also know what their experience is and how they feel and give them the space to explain. By acknowledging the discomfort from a place of curiosity and empathy you’re more likely to come up with a solution together,” states Jessica Baum.
If the argument isn’t necessarily about comfort, but about something like cost or environmental impact, Baum suggests making fair compromises that offset these things. For example, “maybe you keep the air on and cut it back a little, but not as much as the environmentally concerned partner wants and the compromise can be getting solar panels and fans. It can also be picking something completely different to change in the home that helps the great cause, like not using plastic bags, recycling more, finding other ways to save energy in the home.There are a lot of creative ways to keep homes cool in summer and warm in winter. All of these compromises are decisions you should make together.”
It turns out that thermostats really are a hot button issue for many people. Overall, the majority of our survey participants (54%) reported that they’ve argued because they were uncomfortable with the temperature in their home. While comfort was the main factor for the thermostat arguments, there were others at stake as well, like people who were concerned about the cost and those who were worried about the environmental impact of overheating or overcooling their homes: 32% said they were concerned about the cost of running the AC/heat and 14% said they were worried about the environmental impact of overheating or overcooling their homes.