I lie to my wife. Every few days, she asks me the same question, and I fib right in her face.
“Did you turn down the thermostat?”
“Really? Because I’m still warm.”
“Nope, I turned it down.”
I used to feel terrible about lying to the love of my life. But since last week, no longer. That’s when Florida’s electric monopoly, FPL (short for Florida Power & Light) released a weird survey of its customers. It found…
Among those who share their home with a spouse or partner, 49 percent – or nearly one out of every two people – admit to changing the thermostat setting without their partner’s knowledge.
- “Pretending they didn’t know how the thermostat changed” (36 percent)
- “Blaming someone else” (12 percent)
- “Saying the thermostat must have mechanical problems” (12 percent)
- “Claiming that the thermostat must have been bumped” (9 percent)
- And my favorite, “Blaming the dog or cat (3 percent)”
Of course, it’s possible Floridians – and I’m one – are suffering from heat stroke. (Blaming a pet? Really?) But it’s also possible that FPL customer service VP Melanie Santos is right:
The apparent ‘thermostat wars’ in people’s homes are a hidden force to be reckoned with, since air conditioning is the largest user of energy in Florida homes.
And heat is the largest energy drain up north. So what can be done? Here’s what we do in my house to keep things cool in the summer and warm in the winter. (Yes, it does get cold in Florida.)
1. Become a fan of fans
I grew up in wintery Vermont before moving to sunny Florida. Up north, we bought plain old fans, the ones you can find in any discount store. In Florida, we installed expensive ceiling fans. Guess what? They both worked about the same.
In our master bath, we have a noisy fan we bought from Target. At night, it moves around the air and drowns out passing traffic. In the morning, it helps keep my wife cool when she’s applying her makeup. And unlike a ceiling fan, she can move it around.
Yes, I’m anti-ceiling fan and will likely get blowback (so to speak) from proponents. But sleeping under a ceiling fan means air blowing directly on you all night, which I don’t like. Personal preference perhaps, but I also prefer the savings.
Cost: $16 for a low-rent little fan
2. Adjust the bed, not the thermostat
Since I’m less particular about the temperature at night than my wife, she’ll sleep with an ice pack in summer and a heating pack in winter. We’re not talking electric blankets, which can be dangerous. We’re talking about those microwavable heating pads and those gel ice packs. my wife will put the former at her feet and the latter on her back.
3. Replace your halogen lamps
A decade ago, nothing was cooler than halogen lamps throughout your house. While they’re no longer the hippest thing, many of us still have them. But I’ve tossed all mine.
Cost: Around $25 either way.