How to Handle Family Heating & Cooling Disagreements

Is the temperature of your home a constant battle between you and your family members? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, if you live with a member of the opposite gender, this phenomenon is downright commonplace. But why is that?

Men, on average, have more muscle mass and a higher metabolic rate than women, which means they tend to burn more calories and, as a byproduct, produce more heat. Additionally, women’s bodies tend to channel more heat toward their internal organs than men’s do, leaving their extremities running several degrees cooler. These biological differences help to explain why women are typically more sensitive to cold and fluctuations in temperature than are men.

It also explains why the temperature is such a battle in many homes, since conflict arises when one person wants to keep the ambient temperature in the home higher while the other person prefers a lower temp. So other than both of you changing the thermostat setting every time you walk by (not so great for your HVAC system or your electric bill!), what can you do? Check out our suggestions for keeping the peace, below.

Compromise with layers

If you’d like to go the most cost-effective, simple and practical route, then it’s time to layer up. The person who is always cold can wear warmer clothes and use blankets when they are indoors, while the hot-blooded person can dress in fewer layers and thinner clothes. This may seem like a painfully obvious solution, but many people are in the habit of reaching for the thermostat before they think to adjust their own clothing!

Use a space heater

In cooler seasons when the furnace is keeping your house warm, a small, energy-efficient space heater is an option to keep the chillier person toasty. Just be sure that you use a newer model with an auto-shutoff safety feature in case of tipping or overheating, and be mindful of where you place the heater. Always follow the suggested safety precautions!

Try a small fan

The problem does not go away when warmer weather arrives. One person is likely to feel that the A/C system is turned down too low, while the other insists they are not comfortable with it up any higher. In this case, try a small personal fan for the warmer person. If family members tend to spend a lot of time in different rooms and the fan just isn’t cutting it, you can also try using a small window A/C unit to keep cool.

Invest in a zoned system

If it’s time to replace your HVAC system and/or you would rather just solve the problem permanently, consider investing in a zoned HVAC system. This kind of system divides your house into zones which are controlled by independent thermostats, allowing you to personalize the temperature in specific areas and keep everybody happy.

Do you and your family disagree about the temperature in your home? Which compromises work for you? Let us know in the comments below!

Prepping Your HVAC System for the Changing Seasons

It’s hard to think about cold weather when it’s still 80+ degrees outside several days of the week, but now is the perfect time to prepare your home’s HVAC system for the changing seasons! This includes homeowner maintenance items, making a tune-up and cleaning appointment for your furnace and chimney and planning how you’ll winterize your A/C unit. We put together this handy checklist to make sure you’re covered. Don’t wait until the cold hits—get started early!

For the Homeowner

You can check these items off the list yourself!

  • Do you have a carbon monoxide detector installed near your furnace? Is it still functioning? If not, invest a few dollars into a new one—the life-saving device will alert you if deadly carbon monoxide is present, and since this gas is odorless, colorless, tasteless and invisible, a working detector is critical.
  • Check that all the vents in your home are clean, open and unobstructed so that the heated air can circulate properly.
  • Use a chimney cleaning kit to sweep out your flue and/or chimney. Make sure it is free of all nests, built-up deposits, and other debris so it can properly vent gas and fumes. If this task hasn’t been performed in a long time, you may need a professional to handle it.
  • Replace your furnace filter (or clean it, if it is a permanent filter). This simple, inexpensive task will help to keep your furnace running efficiently, saving you money in the long run.
  • Vacuum the room around the furnace, and don’t forget to clean the furnace itself. Remove any dirt and dust off of the electrical connections and vents—you don’t want it blowing around your house!
  • When you’ve used your central A/C for the last time this year, go ahead and winterize the outside unit. Clear any dirt and debris from the vents, and remove leaves, sticks, and other items from the area immediately surrounding the unit. Then, set a piece of plywood on top to keep water, ice and debris from getting inside during the winter months. Place a heavy item, such as a large rock, on the plywood to keep it from blowing away in heavy winds.

For the Professional

When it’s time to have the pros come in, make sure the following vital tasks get done at minimum.

  • Check fuel/gas line for any leaks, and measure carbon monoxide levels.
  • Adjust ventilation.
  • Inspect and adjust electrical connections.
  • Inspect and lubricate moving parts.
  • Inspect and adjust furnace blowers.
  • Test and adjust thermostat for energy efficiency.
  • Test safety shut-offs.

Remember, you don’t want to find yourself with a broken-down furnace in the middle of a long, cold Ohio winter. Performing these maintenance tasks before the cold comes will ensure that any potential issues are caught early. That way, you and your family can spend the winter comfortably warm with peace of mind!