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The battle over the thermostat heats up

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Summary

It's one of the top household arguments in BC, after who controls the TV remote: who is in charge of the thermostat?

BC Hydro survey shows about 4-in-10 couples admit they argue over thermostat settings

'We found 60 per cent admit to actually adjusting the temperature when their partner isn't looking,' BC Hydro says

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – There is a battle heating up in homes across Metro Vancouver — with temperatures low, who has control of the thermostat?

It seems many couples are at odds over the perfect temperature, with four-in-10 surveyed by BC Hydro admitting they argue over where to set the dial.

“It’s one of the most contentious household arguments,” said BC Hydro’s Mora Scott. “Five per cent actually describe their household as being in the middle of an all out thermostat war.”

The majority of that battling, orĀ 70 per cent, is motivated by comfort, not cost savings which makes up about 30 per cent, according to the utility.

“And when it comes to changing the dial, a lot of this is actually happening behind each other’s backs,” Mora said. “We found 60 per cent admit to actually adjusting the temperature when their partner isn’t looking. Fifty per cent say they’ve actually waited for their partner to leave the home before adjusting the dial.”

And 20 per cent — that is one-in-five people — actually admit to turning the temperature up or down just to annoy their partner.

BC Hydro is squarely on the “put on a sweater” side of things, pointing out that heating costs can increase by as much as 140 per cent during the winter months.

The utility is also taking aim at some common misconceptions around home heating and ideal temperatures.

Does your home heat up more quickly if you crank the thermostat?

“The truth is that baseboard heaters deliver heat at the same rate no matter how high the thermostat is turned up. Cranking up the heat doesn’t make your home heat up any faster,” explained Scott.

It is also, she said, not any more energy-efficient to keep the thermostat at a consistent temperature instead of adjusting based on the time of day.

“If people are looking to offset their costs during the winter, we recommend using a programmable thermostat. It allows you to only heat your home when you are at home. Draft-proofing is also a very cost-effective way to improve a home’s efficiency. It can actually save you about $100 per year.”

When setting a thermostat, figures from BC Hydro suggest heating costs rise by five per cent for every degree above 20 degrees Celsius.

Perhaps channelling their “inner dad”, the utility also suggests ideal temperatures for common activities in the home, at least from an energy-efficiency perspective.

For sleeping, or an empty home, it suggests setting the thermostat at 16 degrees; 18 degrees is the recommended temperature for cooking or doing housework; and 21 degrees is the setting for relaxing or watching TV.

-With files from Hana Mae Nassar