You and your family tend to get along swimmingly. You enjoy meals together, you plan exciting activities together, and you love spending time together.
But despite your positive family relationships, you tend to disagree on one thing: the thermostat.
You might set the thermostat to a comfortable 71 degrees, only to have your freezing partner set it to a toasty 76 degrees a few minutes later. Or your son might want to cool down at 68 degrees, only to have your daughter crank the thermostat up to 80 as soon as she comes home.
You know that the constant adjustments wreak havoc on your HVAC system as well as on your utilities bill, so what can you do to end the war, or at least to lessen the effect of the battles?
- Update Your HVAC System
Older heating and cooling systems have a hard time maintaining a consistent temperature, let alone meeting the ever-changing demands of your household. Furthermore, older furnaces and air conditioners rely on outdated technology, which means you spend a fortune every time your unit turns off and on.
If your HVAC units are more than 10 years old, talk to a professional about an upgrade. Look for new units with an Energy Star rating to ensure that your model runs efficiently and can effectively keep your home comfortable.
- Improve Your Home’s Efficiency
Even the most efficient, most advanced HVAC system can’t warm or cool your family if your home isn’t sufficiently sealed. Poorly installed windows, misaligned doors, and uninsulated walls often have holes that allow conditioned air to escape.
So talk to a technician about a home energy audit. A professional can assess your property’s shortcomings and can give you advice on how to improve your home’s energy usage. Once you’ve sealed and insulated your home, you’ll notice a dramatic reduction in utility costs and a more consistent home temperature.
- Invest in Space Heaters and Portable Fans
Now that your home and your HVAC unit are efficient, you can focus on pleasing individual family members. If only one family member needs a drastically different temperature than everyone else, consider investing in a personal space heater or fan.
A space heater can keep your son, daughter, or spouse warm while the rest of your home stays cool and relaxing. Similarly, a portable fan can cool you off on a summer evening without freezing the rest of your family.
Keep in mind that these devices only heat or cool the immediate space around them, so they work best in small, enclosed rooms. The more rooms you try to condition with a small space heater or fan, the more electricity you use.
- Install Zone Heating and Cooling
Everyone feels comfortable at a slightly different temperature, so you likely have several family members that each want a say in the thermostat. Since heating multiple rooms with several space heaters costs a great deal of money and uses too much electricity, you may want to install zone heating in your home to accommodate everyone.
A zoned heating and cooling system allows you to divide your home into different areas and control each section via a thermostat (rather than using one thermostat for the whole house). With zoning, you can keep the baby’s room a little warmer, the master bedroom a little cooler, and the living room a moderately comfortably temperature for everyone.
- Program Your Smart Thermostat
If zoned heating and cooling sounds too expensive and complicated for your home and family, make the switch to a programmable smart thermostat instead. A smart thermostat can help you set a heating and cooling schedule for your home, and over time, it learns how long your HVAC system takes to reach a desired temperature.
When you have a smart thermostat, you and your family can decide on a schedule that satisfies everyone.
For example, your partner may want to keep the house warm during the mornings, your kids may prefer a cooler temperature during the afternoons, and you may like the house to feel toasty at night. Your thermostat can make these changes at set times throughout the day without anyone touching a dial or button.
- Learn to Layer
In the end, you may have to learn to compromise with your family members. Even if you have the latest HVAC system or smart thermostat installed in your home, someone may feel a bit warm at times while others may feel a little chilly.
Encourage family members to dress appropriately for the season. During the winter, they may need to keep a few sweaters and blankets on hand. And during the summer, they should choose light-colored clothing made with sweat-wicking materials to avoid overheating.
Keep Your Entire Family Comfortable
When you follow the above tips, you can keep your family comfortable without waging war over the thermostat. And when you and your family agree on a good temperature, you can keep your expenses in check and save your money for more exciting, and preferably peaceful, family adventures.