anyone else find the thermostat confusing?
probably should have looked to phrase that question a bit differently.
EVERYONE finds their thermostat confusing. There are
only two possible ways you wouldn’t…
– You’ve never had anything in your home upgraded in fifty to
sixty years, and still use that circular like thing on the wall
in the hallway with a little dial in the middle and an easy
to read needle. Clockwise to raise the temperature. Counterclockwise
to lower the temperature.
– You work professionally designing thermostats.
essay is not about setting your thermostat and the confusion associated
with various functions of the unit. My thermostat is wrong six
months a year because I have no clue how to change the time on
the display for daylight-savings-related changes.
is an essay about temperatures inside the house. Hence, the basic
question involves what that thermostat is reading as a temperature,
and so we arrive at a point where a bit of clarification may be
don’t understand how a temperature can be too hot one day and
too cold the next. (And yet, unlike a bowl of porridge, it turns
out that hot, cold and just right can in fact exist all in the
same bowl. Go Goldilocks, go.) Terry and I usually keep the house
temperatures fairly steady throughout the year. What becomes crazy
is how the feeling of one temperature can fluctuate so much across
a complete year.
throw a number out there, just to give us something to work with.
We’ll say 65-degrees. (Your comfort, and actually ours as well,
may vary.) When getting ready for bed in February, 65-degrees
is brutally cold and I’m wondering if I should search for an extra
blanket or two. When getting ready for bed in August, 65-degrees
is ridiculously hot, and I’m kicking off the sheet while trying
to figure out why it’s even on the bed at all.
are good someone has an answer that involves science and biology
and blah-blah-blah. Something involving being outside on a bright,
sunny, scorching 95-degree day… something involving snow and slush
and ice on a cloudy, damp, bone-numbing 15-degree day… something
involving the adjustment of the body as it recovers and looks
for sleep comfort… something that covers the details of what is
actually going on.
I’m not so sure the science—however well-intended and accurate—matters.
Because there are other factors that come into play, and they
come into play all the time.
one house there is a conservation project going on, because funds
are tight, so the thermostat stays low in the winter to save oil,
and the windows are open with no air conditioning in the summer
to keep the electric bill down. In another house the people want
it 72-degrees, while in the house next door the people want it
68-degrees. Friends are arguing in an office because as two people
are drenched in sweat, two others are bundled up in their sweaters
and looking for space heaters to place near their feet.
science is nice… but everyone is different. And yet…
weird part remains.
and I’m cold in February… 65 and I’m hot in August. (And somehow,
this is just a general thought.)
I’ve been outside shoveling snow, on a windy 10-degree day… I’ll
come in the house, thinking about a mug of hot cocoa, and the
greeting of the 65-degree room is a warm hug.
I’ve been outside mowing the lawn, on a humid 90-degree day… I’ll
come in the house, thinking about a tall glass of lemonade, and
the greeting of the 65-degree room is sigh inducing relief.
cold… too hot… just right… all at the same time.
yet as I get into bed, take a deep breath, and try to settle in
for a night of rest, the differences remain. Chilly under a comforter
and warm without a sheet, all in the same room. A kaleidoscope
wonder if Goldilocks had these problems?)