Thermostat Control A Hot Button Issue In Alberta Homes

Direct Energy offers advice to help Albertans keep their cool this summer

CALGARY, Alberta, June 23, 2014 /CNW/ - Albertans are hot under the collar when it comes to indoor temperature according to a Direct Energy survey. The results of the survey released today show that one in five (17 per cent) Alberta households cannot agree what temperature the thermostat should be set to. In fact, of the options Albertans were given, "thermostat wars" are the third most common household dispute with 20 per cent indicating they have argued or disagreed about it. Only disputes about the control of the television remote (24 per cent) and cleaning the toilet (23 per cent) were more common. Not only are Albertans who share a thermostat disagreeing on the temperature, some are sneaky about it -- 14 per cent admit they've changed the temperature when their partner isn't looking.

"With hot summer weather having finally arrived, it's common for Albertans to bicker over the temperature the thermostat is set to in their homes," said Dave Walton, Director of Home Ideas for Direct Energy. "With energy prices on the rise, it's important for households to come to an agreement on temperature now. Albertans should also remember that setting the thermostat to a lower temperature is just one way of keeping the house cool and should be taking advantage of other easy methods to stay comfortable and save money this summer."

The Direct Energy survey found nearly half (44 per cent) of Albertans who share a thermostat say they want to be the one in control of the thermostat because they're concerned about energy costs. However, 95 per cent of Albertans are setting the thermostat at 23 degrees Celsius or less, which could end up costing them this summer. In fact, for every degree Celsius below 25 degrees will add an extra three to five per cent to an energy bill.

"When the mercury rises, conflicts around home temperature don't have to," said Walton. "There are many ways to stay cool during the summer heat while still saving money. From small changes to larger upgrades, Albertans can take control of their energy bills."

There are many ways to help reduce conflict around the thermostat, many of which homeowners can implement themselves. Here are a few tips from Direct Energy:

  • Install a programmable thermostat. Set the times and temperatures to match your schedule. Also, consider setting the thermostat to turn off your air conditioner at night when the outdoor temperature cools down. Better yet, consider installing a "smart" thermostat. These devices will begin to adjust your home's temperature after learning your cooling habits.
  • Use ceiling fans to circulate cool air. Fan blades should operate in a counter-clockwise direction in the summer to move the air downwards and maximize cool air circulation so your air conditioner doesn't have to work as hard. Ceiling fans can be just pennies a day to operate and are great for cooling down the room they operate in.
  • Replace furnace filters every three months. This will help your air conditioner run more efficiently. Clogged filters mean that furnace motors must work harder and use more energy.
  • Close the curtains and drapes. Before you leave the house for work in the morning, remember to close the curtains and drapes, especially on south and west facing windows. This will help block out the high summer sun and stop the home from getting too hot inside.
  • Give your AC unit some shade. Without blocking airflow, plant a small tree or shrubs around your air conditioning unit. A shaded unit uses up to five per cent less electricity than it would in the sun. Try to maintain at least 24 inches of clearance around your outdoor AC unit from any landscaping.

Additional survey findings:

  • 18 per cent of Albertans who share a thermostat say their children influence their energy consumption behavior
  • Five per cent of Albertans claim their children usually change the thermostat without their approval
  • 61 per cent of Albertans say that when it comes to deciding the temperature for the house, being comfortable is more important than saving money
  • One in five (20 per cent) Albertans want the temperature in the house to be cooler than others in their household

About Direct Energy

Direct Energy is North America's largest provider of heating & cooling, plumbing and electrical services and a leading energy and energy-related services provider with over six million residential and commercial customer relationships. Direct Energy provides customers with choice and support in managing their energy costs through a portfolio of innovative products and services. A subsidiary of Centrica plc (LSE: CNA), one of the world's leading integrated energy companies, Direct Energy operates in 46 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia and 10 provinces in Canada. To learn more about Direct Energy, please visit

About the survey

From April 30th to May 1st 2014 an online survey was conducted among 617 randomly selected adult Alberta residents who are Angus Reid Forum panelists and who share a thermostat with others in their household. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 4.0%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Alberta. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

For further information on home energy efficiency tips or to book an interview with Dave Walton, please contact:

Jeff Lanthier
Direct Energy

Kelly Ornelas or Becky Brescacin
High Road Communications for Direct Energy or
416-644-2235 or 416-644-1398

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SOURCE: Direct Energy

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