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DadChat Advice column: Get your hands off the thermostat and put on a sweater

What better way to kick off an advice column than with one of the most controversial problems plaguing our working class households: The Thermostat


*Ideal* is a difficult concept to strive for. What is comfortable for you? Are there parts of your home or apartment which are warmer or colder regardless of the settings? When do you go to sleep and when do you go to work?


To answer these questions, I will propose a set of thermostat preset temperatures. The important thing to note is not necessarily the temperature, but the change in the degree ranges. If you like things warmer or colder you can adjust, but the number of degrees being changed is important for this exercise.


The 9-5er

The most likely scenario. Young professionals, parents, and middle managers who have to rise and grind on a daily basis. Your weekdays are full of commuting and sitting under harsh lights for shareholders who you can't even name. Still, it's a job and it pays...money I suppose.


If you're gone most of the day, what's the point in keeping your thermostat on at all? It's tempting to cut costs by just turning your environmental controls off completely during the day, but you'll be putting a lot of strain on your furnace/AC if it has to try to get to your comfort level temperature after letting your home drop below 60 or above 80 degrees. Too much strain can break your environmental controls which are VERY expensive to replace (for example at my house we paid 4K for an install of a new AC unit and looking at 5-7K for a furnace)


Let's first establish some times. Adjust them as you will to your own schedule

6:00 am - Wakeup

7:00 am - leave for work

6:00 pm - arrive home

10:00 pm - in bed


Thermostat settings: Winter

5:00 am - 6:45am: 68 degrees

6:45 am - 5:00 pm: 64 degrees

5:00 pm - 9:30 pm: 67 degrees

9:30 pm - 5:00 am: 64 degrees


Thermostat settings: Summer

5:00 am - 6:45am: 71 degrees

6:45 am - 5:00 pm: 75 degrees

5:00 pm - 5:00 am: 71 degrees


These thermostat settings will keep your living space comfortable while you're home but not work too hard during the day while you're reviewing powerpoint presentations or dicking around on Amazon at work. Overnights are kept cool in the winter because nothing is better than being a cozy cinnamon roll in your bed, but warms up before you're up so you don't have to expose yourself to that nonsense in the morning. Saves you money, saves your furnace and AC.


The Homebody

If you're lucky enough to work from a home office or you're the one in charge of keeping the house in order, then your thermostat settings need to be set to a level you're comfortable working in. I would still suggest lowering the thermostat in the winter while sleeping, but adjust it to your sleeping habits


6:00 am - Wakeup

7:00 am - start coffee and put on pants

10:00 pm - in bed


Thermostat settings: Winter

5:00 am - 6:45am: 68 degrees

9:30 pm - 5:00 am: 64 degrees


Thermostat settings: Summer

All day 71 degrees


The Night Owl

Truly the most chaotic person to set up temperature controls for. When are you sleeping? When are you awake? Are you awake or is this a trance brought on by all the empty Bang! energy drink cans next to your bed? Do you even feel the changes in temperature or have you transcended to a different plane of existence where it's always 71 degrees?


Not to fear, I have a few options for you. Lets adjust our times to meet your needs


11:00 am - wakeup

11:30 am - procrastinate

1:30 pm - scroll twitter

3:00 pm - grudgingly doing work

9:00 pm - go to the bar

1130 pm - come home

4:00 am - sleep


The easiest answer is you should adjust as needed based on your own schedule, but how do you nail down a thermostat schedule if you don't necessarily follow one yourself? By picking the range of temperature you are comfortable with.


For you though would suggest the perfect temperature: a nice 69 degrees


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