Hot heads: Many adults have ended friendships, relationships over ‘AC etiquette’

NEW YORK — You may not have heard the term “thermostat etiquette” before, but it seems there are unwritten rules for sharing your air conditioner with others. When it comes to the perfect settings, we can be a ruthless bunch. A new survey shows that one in four adults have ended a friendship with a roommate over arguments stemming from thermostat quarrels

In fact, half of the respondents won’t even date someone if they did not have the same AC etiquette as them. The survey of 2,000 Americans, conducted on behalf of Trane Residential, finds the ideal thermostat temperature is a chilly 69 degrees Fahrenheit.

Many people try to save some money by keeping their air conditioner off for as long as possible. Over half of respondents admit they feel “defeated” when they finally turn on their system. For the average person, this doesn’t happen until after they’ve sweat through five hot and sleepless nights. Shockingly, one in seven people wait until August to turn on their AC for the season. As for just about everyone else, the average person does this in June.

“Most of the time people refrain from using their AC because they are trying to save money on energy costs. You shouldn’t have to compromise your comfort for cost savings,” says Trane air conditioning product expert Mark Woodruff in a statement. “There are things you can proactively do — like make sure your system is maintained, use a smart thermostat to control when your system runs, and more — to help reduce your energy costs while still helping you feel comfortable in your home.”

Common AC myths

The survey also shows that about one in three people don’t think it’s necessary to get their AC serviced regularly.

“Scheduling regular preventive maintenance is the best way to ensure peak performance,” suggests Woodruff. “Your system will last longer and run more efficiently if cared for properly. Servicing your HVAC system can reveal issues that are easy to fix today, but can become big problems if they aren’t taken care of. And most dealers offer annual service programs that include discounts on those annual service inspections.”

The survey reveals another mistake about 35% of people make: turning the air conditioner all the way down when first switching it on. People mistakenly think this makes the AC work more forcefully and cool the place down more quickly, but that’s not quite how it works. An air conditioner is like a valve that lets cold air into the room until the room temperature reaches the thermostat setting, but it doesn’t control how quickly the cold air flows.

One interesting side note that the survey reveals is how obsessed we are with the day’s weather. For many, it’s the go-to topic when it comes to small talk. Researchers say the average American has 1,095 chats about the weather every year, or about three per day. That adds up to a total of 256 hours of weather-related conversation!

But that’s not the case for everyone: 10% of respondents don’t even believe in weather forecasts, the survey shows.

The survey was conducted by OnePoll.

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  1. With my preferred temperature of 26C (79F) I guess I would not be popular – except possibly with the environment. Recently I stayed briefly at a resort in Sri Lanka where the rooms had small balconies with doors, hence plenty of air available, but also AC that vented into the corridor outside the several rooms. If the outside air was tropical, the temperature in the corridor was equatorial. All that energy being used to keep cool when all that was needed was to take off or put on clothes as nature intended, and to maintain a sensible body weight. But I guess if I were truly ‘green’ I would not have jetted off to Sri Lanka. Touché!

  2. Sooooo, what did people do back in the 1800’s? And what do we do when we go camping?

    We moderate our comfort by changing what clothes we have on. Thats what peoples main strategy was for quite sometime. Yes its nice to feel comfortable wearing just cutoffs and a T-shirt. But when its a 50 degrees outside, sometimes its just better to put on some long pants and a heavier shirt than turning up the thermostat indoors. But Keep the cutoffs handy, summer is just around the bend. (Dont forget the value of quiet fans generating a small breeze for summertime comfort)

    Take the energy saving money and buy some nicer lounge wear for around the house. Then buy a better cut of steak. And better wine.

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