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Ask Amy: The couple’s different comfort levels make them fight for the thermostat



Dear Amy: My partner and I are two middle-aged men who met each other later in life.

One of us (me) loves air conditioning, especially since most of the places I have lived in my life lacked it. My partner does not like air conditioning and only uses it when it is blisteringly hot outside.

When I moved into his house, I paid for the installation of central air conditioning. He paid for solar panels on the roof, which more than cover the electricity we use.

But we seem to be constantly fighting over the thermostat setting. He̵

7;s cold when I set it to my preferred temperature, I’m hot when he sets it to his.

I say it’s easier for him to throw on a flannel shirt and a pair of sweatpants than it is for me to suffer the unworthiness of walking around the house in my underwear.

It seems a little petty to complain about it, as otherwise we are very compatible, but we do not seem to find a happy place in this conflict.

Can you think of a fair way to solve this problem?

– Sweat in San Diego

Dear Sweating Trend: People who heat their homes in the winter tend to keep their indoor temperature between 68 and 72 degrees (unless you are my sister who tells all visitors to her Maine home to keep their down jackets).

However, if you set your air conditioner to a comfortable winter time of 68 to ‚70 degrees, you would be quite cold because the air conditioner shoots out streams of freezing air (if you set it below 70, your AC system can actually freeze).

The US Department of Energy recommends setting your AC thermostat to 78 degrees, although somewhere between 74 and 78 may be best for you. You can reduce the humidity by using a dehumidifier and using ceiling fans to circulate the cooled air.

I argue that many people are affected by the number they see on the thermostat. One way to test this would be for you and your partner to consider setting the thermostat to “blind” where one of you cannot see the number on the thermostat. You may find a cute place where you are both basically comfortable.

But let’s just decide that you and he have radically different body temperature needs. Ideally, you should shoot for him wearing a long-sleeved T-shirt and pants and you a short-sleeved T-shirt and shorts.

Otherwise yes, I agree with you (and my sister) that it’s easier to warm up with extra clothes than to cool down by throwing it away.

Dear Amy: I’m invited to my niece’s wedding in Arizona in August.

I am fully vaccinated, but the wedding will be indoors and the guests will be mask free.

I have no idea how many other people will be fully vaccinated, but I might guess 50 percent? I know it will not be 100 percent.

I do not want to go and be the only person wearing a mask. I want to go, but it does not seem really safe to me. What do you think?

– Contradictory

Dear Conflict: This kind of dilemma has become an almost universal experience, as we all come out of what we hope is the beginning of the end of the North American pandemic.

Each person will have to make their own risk assessment regarding the choice of attending crowded events along with non-masked and non-vaccinated people.

In my opinion, this particular event poses a higher risk than you might be comfortable assuming.

A wedding in Arizona in August is guaranteed to be held indoors in an air-conditioned enclosed space and possibly fans circulating cooled air.

(According to the Accuweather.com forecast for Phoenix in August, the average daytime temperatures during the month will be 102 degrees.)

Given the fact that Coronavirus spreads through air droplets circulating in an enclosed environment such as a wedding venue, this can lead to the kind of spreading event that will pose a potentially extremely serious risk to unvaccinated guests.

You have been vaccinated against the disease caused by this virus and your vaccination will protect you from severe symptoms, but given the assumptions I make and your own concerns, you may want to give this a pass.

Dear Amy: “Old-fashioned and unhappy” described the pressure her friends put on her to spit up and wear makeup.

Boy, could I tell! I’ve never been in clothes, and my house is not perfect either.

My friends know how to take it or leave it.

– Been there

Dear been there: I described these friends as “lovely little bullies.”

The “old-fashioned” need to stand firm.

You can send an email to Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068.


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