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Report: Household thermostat war is turning up heat on British Columbian relationships

VANCOUVER: A new report by BC Hydro finds when it comes to heating the home, British Columbian couples are at odds – with four in 10 admitting to arguing over the temperature.

The report titled ‘Thermostat wars: How the battle over household temperature is turning up the heat on relationships’ found that while arguments about the temperature are common across the province, five per cent of couples describe their situation as an “all-out thermostat war.”

A survey commissioned by BC Hydro found that British Columbian couples will go to great lengths to get their way when it comes to temperature of their home, and twice as many are motived by comfort than cost savings. More than 60 per cent admitted to adjusting the thermostat when their partner was not looking and 50 per cent say they have waited for their partner to leave the home before adjusting the dial. There are also the 20 per cent that admit to turning the temperature up or down just to annoy their partner.

The survey also revealed what temperature the thermostat is set at is one the most contentious household arguments – ahead of who is cooking dinner, what time the dreaded morning alarm is set for, and who forgot to turn off the lights when they left the house. However, many of these arguments are often based around misconceptions, for example:

  • Cranking up the thermostat does not heat the home up faster than turning it up a degree or two at a time.
  • It is not more energy-efficient to keep the thermostat at a constant temperature instead of adjusting it based on the time of day or what activity is going on in the home.
  • Turning on a space heater is not always a more energy-efficient way to keep warm.

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, BC Hydro is encouraging British Columbian couples to call an end to the thermostat war. It recommends setting the thermostat at 21 degrees Celsius when relaxing or watching T.V., 18 degrees Celsius when cooking or doing housework, and 16 degrees Celsius when away from home or sleeping.

Other tips to reduce heating costs and stay comfortable this winter include:

  • Using a programmable or smart thermostat to automatically adjust the temperature of the home based on the time of day.
  • Installing weatherstripping around doors and windows to seal up gaps and cracks that let cold air into the home and warm air out – and lead to higher heating costs.
  • Using BC Hydro’s electricity tracking tools to see how adjusting the thermostat can impact a household’s electricity use and costs.

For more ways to save energy and money this winter, visit

BC Hydro Media Relations
604 928 6468