Surely, after reading Lagniappe cover to cover, you follow-up with something more esoteric like the Journal of the American Medical Society, or the Journal of Atmospheric Sciences. Now, you get a bonus in this Journal of Lagniappe. This is a social media research project I performed recently to ascertain what people leave their thermostats on, during hot weather.
HYPOTHESIS: Everybody has a different comfort level for indoor temperature.
ABSTRACT: A simple poll surveyed what people set their home thermostat on, in summer. On Facebook, I posed the question, “What do you leave your AC thermostat temperature set at, for summer?” I got over 1,400 usable answers, and dozens of unusable ones. I compiled all the numerical data, for daytime settings only, and plotted it on a graph. The average of the responses was 72 degrees, Fahrenheit. Most people listed a number between 68 and 78 degrees.
METHODOLOGY: The question was posted on Facebook, Aug 2, 2021, on “Alan Sealls Weather,” generating 1,600 responses and 1,900 views, within 30 hours. Responses were visually scanned to extract temperatures, which were entered into a spreadsheet and then plotted on a graph. Where people gave multiple numbers, or a range of numbers, an average was computed. Several answers were beyond the range of reason, and omitted, as they were likely failed attempts at humor.
RESULTS & CONCLUSIONS: People tended to choose even numbers for their settings. Perhaps because older analog thermostats were marked in even increments. Most thermostats were set in the range of 68 to 78. Some answers with outlying numbers were explained as malfunctioning AC units, or a level required for severe health issues.
From multiple comments, these are factors in the choice of thermostat setting:
- Physiology, medication, age, how active one is, and what one wears indoors.
- Possible improper mounting location of thermostat, giving inaccurate temperature.
- The amount of humidity in home.
- Use of ceiling fans.
- Amount of attic insulation.
- Air conditioner and building age and construction-type.
- Compromise with spouses, partners, roommates, and for pets.
For all of the reasons above, no one thermostat setting works for different people. This survey resonated with people, perhaps because people wanted to prove to their family that their thermostat setting is the right one. This is a non-peer reviewed study!
– Alan Sealls is Chief Meteorologist at NBC15, and an adjunct meteorology professor at University of South Alabama.
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