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Is Our House Too Cold?

In the winter, my wife sets the thermostat at 67 to 69 degrees.  My wife will wear multiple layers of clothing to keep warm, but even then, often her hands are ice cold.

At night, our bedroom is colder than the rest of the house, so my wife will cover up with about 4 blankets.  The kids (especially my daughter) and friends that come over to visit are constantly complaining about how cold it is.

So lately, I’ve been thinking… Is it worth it?  After all, doesn’t it lessen our enjoyment that we derive from our house when everybody (except me) is freezing?

Here the funny thing, I’m not as sensitive to the cold (most of the time, I’ll go around in shorts and a t-shirt), but I’m the one that’s always trying to sneak the thermostat up a few degrees so that it reads over 70 degrees.  Kind of ironic huh.  Here I’m the guy turning up the thermostat temperature, but I’m the one least affected!

I’m sure that most likely, my wife grew up in a house were her family would keep the heat down to save on cost.  It’s funny how things we learned as a child sometimes lingers with us for a long, long time!

I think the entire family would enjoy a warm cozy house.  Perhaps I’ll have a  discussion with her about buying a programmable thermostat.  That way we can have a house that is nice and cozy when everybody is away, but then have the programmable thermostat drop a few degrees (maybe 5) during the night when everybody is wrapped in a few layers of warm blanket’s already.

This would be a win-win, because everybody (including my wife) would enjoy a warmer house, but at night it would drop a few degrees to save some money!

What I would really like to do is sell my current house and then go down south (east or west coast), and consider buying a house with cash, or putting all the money in investments and have the dividend payment pay the mortgage.  I can imagine looking at little house plans now, looking to pick the perfect one…  But this is just a dream…

What is the optimal setting for your thermostat at home?

-MR

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24 Responses to Is Our House Too Cold?

    • It’s actually funny, I don’t mind the house temperature so much, but it really bothers my that my 7 year old daughter complains about being cold. I think because of her alone, I’m really thinking of raising the heat…

      • I have been a home “energy auditor” for a few years now. Having a cold home could be from a variety of different reasons. I don’t know where your located, but you could call your local utility company and see if they offer a low cost energy audit. This will be a complete inspection of your home to show you exactly what you can do to make your home less drafty. Here are common reasons for a home being cold:
        1) The home is very old and thus very leaky. Drafts can come in in the most unsuspecting of places.
        2) You have insufficient insulation, especially in your attic and if you have a crawlspace, this is usually not done correctly and is very underinsulated
        3) You may have a very old furnace/boiler that is not performing at its peak any more, or your ducts may be leaky (if you have a furnace)

        The programmable thermostat will help, but without proper insulation to keep the heat in, you are literally wasting 10-40% of every dollar you spend on heat due to leaks in your home, regardless of the thermostat.

        Energy efficiency improvements on a home can be very cost effective. For example, if you spend $2000 getting your attic redone, you could realistically look at saving that much in your energy bills in a 5-8 year timespan.

        • I think your house is definitely too cold. For me, the temperature has to be around 70-71 in winter, or I freeze. I’m a girl though. I’ve noticed men seem to deal with the cold a bit better. I agree with Nicole… heat is the one thing I don’t mind paying for. Skimp on something less important to your family’s well-being. Like cable. 🙂

  1. Ours is set between 67 and 70… mainly depending on the time of day and amount of sun. The thermostat sensor is someplace in the house so that when the sun is shining in it doesn’t realize it’s warmer. We do have a programmable thermostat.

    • Yeah, I’m comfortable at that temperature (and actually so is my son), but my daughter is always saying she’s cold, and I know my wife is (even though she’s the one that turns down the thermostat). She really is more frugal than I am 🙂

  2. Programmable thermostat makes perfect sense to me. I’d start there.

    I bet that you could afford to have the heat turned down low for 6-7 hours a night, and then tick up the heat a 1-2 degrees for the rest of the day and actually see a net decrease in utility costs.

    This winter has been extremely cold. I’m cold thinking about it.

    • It’s -5 degree today where I live (and that’s not counting wind chill). Normally it doesn’t get this cold, but today is the exception…

      I was thinking I’d at least have to have the thermostat drop 5 degrees at night, but I can definitely play with the previous bills and figure it out.

      I think I would try your suggestion and then if we don’t notice the change perhaps keep decreasing it down to 5 degree. I don’t think I want to go much lower that 5 degrees though…

    • That’s what my wife does too. I think mainly her problem is that she needs glove to where around the house (lol).

      My daughter doesn’t like to where sweaters so that’s one of the reasons she is always cold… (she’s only 7…)

  3. Hmm, this is a tough one, everyone’s reaction to the humidity and temperature in the air is different. There’s times when my family are freezing and I feel like I’m on holiday! Ours is programmed to come on at certain points during the day, and to cool down at night and it does definately make a difference.

  4. 70 during the day, 67 at night. I’d even go down to 55 or 60 at night if we could, but the Missus gets cold. During the day though, I like it nice and toasty, or my nose gets cold. I wonder if that old saw of saving 5 percent for every degree is actually correct.

    • Hmmm, I never heard that before, but that would be awesome.

      If we would save 5 percent for every degree decrease, that would make it worth it to get a programmable thermostat!

  5. Your wife may have Raynaud’s Phenomenon (not syndrome)-hands get cold due vascular spasm in winter-not dangerous, but aggravating…Mine does, but just ignores it….

    We keep our temp at 68 as well, my wife is in charge of thermostat. I have on 3 layers as I type…. We also turn it down at night to 64.

    But I am with you about the child. Ours are grown, but it would be tough to watch mine shiver…
    Good luck!

    • That could be it. We just attributed it to bad circulation. Ironically, my wife is in charge of the thermostat too 🙂

      Hmmm, since I go to bed after everybody and wake up at least an hour before everybody, maybe I’ll work the thermostat for a while just to see how it goes…

      My daughter doesn’t really shiver, but does complain about being cold. She a complainer though, smart but very sensitive…

  6. Isn’t it funny how in the summer 68 is comfortable but in the winter, it feels cold? I think it has to do with how dry the air is in the winter.

    I’m the queen of down vests. I’m wearing one right now actually, plus a sweater and a tank top underneath. I turn on the little space heater under my desk during the day too.

    We only use 2 tanks of oil a year now. New windows, doors and insulation made a huge difference in our energy consumption.