Kathleen Rooney and Air Conditioning

Kathleen Rooney has an column in today’s Southtown Star in which she considers the ways that air conditioning affects our relationship to the environment:

Once it was cool enough to slave over a hot laptop again, I decided to look into the rational reasons that might lie behind my inborn distaste for AC, moving beyond the way it’s so decadently applied in so many public spaces, cranked to the point where you need to wear a sweater indoors, though it may be 90-plus degrees outside, and the way so many people insist on maintaining a continuous meat-lockeresque frigidity – in their cars, their homes, their motels, their restaurants – during even the mildest of days.

Now, I live in central Florida, and our air conditioning is on pretty much all the time during the summer. But her column did make me wonder yet again about the settings on people’s thermostats.

An anecdote: When we moved in April, the air conditioning in our new place was on the fritz. We called the realtor, who called a company, who sent a guy to repair it. Turns out, it needed a major repair, but he recharged it so it would work while the parts were on order. When he left, we were downstairs, painting the living room, and he stopped on his way out to tell us that it was running and that he’d set it on 70.

70? we both asked, and from our tone, I think it was pretty clear we were shocked.

Oh, he said, I can set it lower if you want. I wasn’t sure where you kept your thermostat.

This blew my mind. Do people really keep their thermostats set that low?

For the record, I guess I should tell you that outside, the temperature will be well into the triple digits here today, and given the choice, I’m not too inclined to spend my day liquefying in that kind of heat. So our thermostat upstairs is set at 76 right now, since all three of us are upstairs, and the downstairs thermostat is set on 80, since so far today, we’re just making the occasional trip down there for coffee.

Which really brings me to this question, the question that has been nagging at me since that repair guy acted like maybe 70 degrees was too warm for many people: where do most people (i.e., you) set your thermostat during the summer? I’ve just been wondering what a normal temperature setting might be–and, by normal, here, I guess I really mean typical.

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6 Responses to Kathleen Rooney and Air Conditioning

  1. Jen says:

    70?? Yikes. We leave ours at (a comparably miserly) 80-81 during the day and 76-78 at night. We also make good use of our ceiling fans.

  2. leighabutler says:

    Glad I’m not the only one who mistrusts the A/C. I often find myself having to explain why I’d rather kick around a sweaty sheet at night than blast that old, leaky contraption. The thing just makes me feel so indulgent, so out of touch…. Plus, if I use it too much, I find myself forgetting to go outside :-0.

  3. leighabutler says:

    ps My old thing is set to “Low” — no fancy digital #s.

  4. ce. says:

    We have ours set at a constant 78, with ceiling fans in the dining/living room (we have a great room style house), and I have a fan on me at night for the first couple hours (fan has a timer on it; god bless the 21st century). For whatever reason, I turn into a furnace the first couple hours I sleep.

  5. jessiecarty says:

    My husband, unfortunately, likes to keep the house cool. He put in a digital theromstat which is set at 75 during the day but a frigid 69 at night! He even sleeps with a fan on on top of that! During the day I turn up the thermostat when I’m at home 🙂

  6. I’m not sure it’s really worth the time, but have you seen the comments on Kathleen’s original article over at SouthTown Star?

    It’s fascinating, but only in the sense that people are fascinated by horrible auto wrecks.

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