Is the household temperature about comfort or savings?
That’s a polarizing argument for about 40 per cent of couples in the province, according to a new survey by BC Hydro.
As winter drags on, the utility said in news release Friday that preferred heating levels are one of the most contentious household arguments, only ahead of who is cooking dinner, what time the morning alarm should be set, and who forgot to turn off the lights before leaving the house.
About 70 per cent of survey respondents said they set the thermostat to feel comfortable, compared to 30 per cent who said they focus on keeping costs down.
The vast majority will turn up the heat despite costs increasing as much as 140 per cent during the winter months.
Some of the “thermostat battlers” get sneaky . Nearly 60 per cent admitted to adjusting the temperature when their partner was not looking. About 20 per cent go so far as to changing the heat with the sole purpose of annoying their significant other.
But while only five per cent of respondents described it as an “all-out thermostat war,” most of the arguments were based off misconceptions around heating homes and energy efficiency.
“Cranking up” the heat does not heat a home any faster than turning it up a degree or two at a time, BC Hydro said. It’s also not more energy efficient to keep the thermostat at a consistent temperature instead of adjusting it based on the time of the day, nor is using a space heater as a way to keep warm.
The utility has a number of recommendations when it comes to setting ideal temperatures depending on the time of day:
- When the house is empty or everyone is sleeping: 16 C
- While relaxing or watching TV: 21 C
- During housework or while cooking: 18 C
Other tips include using a smart thermostat that programs heating patterns based on time of day, and filling gaps and cracks around windows and doors to block cold air from seeping in, causing the household heating system to work harder.