Do you find yourself engaging in a ‘battle of the sexes’ scenario in the office when it comes to regulating the cooling temperature?

Or maybe you find that some days you’re at ease with the indoor cooling and other days you’re not, even though the hot temperature outside is the same as the former one when it felt fine?

There are several possible reasons for this:

• air temperature

• relative humidity percentage

• density of clothing

• level of activity

• thermal fallout

• body metabolism

• overall health of an individual

Your indoor comfort level comes down to a personal preference; however, when setting your thermostat for optimal cooling, keep in mind that there are some influencing factors that will enable you to feel comfortable at home and be more productive at work.

According to ASHRAE’s Thermal Comfort Standards, the overall combinations of indoor environmental conditions and a person’s personal preferences will determine the amount of comfort experienced. ASHRAE finds that the preferred indoor temperature range for people dressed in light-weight summer clothing is between 73° to 79°F (22.5° to 26°C). Personally, I find that a temperature of 77°F is agreeable.

Relative humidity in the atmosphere plays a big role in how you will feel. When installing and using a high efficiency air conditioner in a properly air-sealed home or office space, the humidity is reduced significantly, allowing for a more pleasant experience. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Relative Humidity Guidelines recommends a healthy balance. In the summer time, maintaining between a 30% – 50% relative humidity (RH) level in your living and working space, is ideal.

Reducing humidity and moisture in your home offers an additional benefit – it improves overall air quality by decreasing biological air pollutants like dust mites, fungi, mold, bacteria, and viruses.

On the flip side, insufficient levels of relative humidity (below 25% RH) can cause respiratory issues like difficulty breathing, or dry and irritated eyes and nose, which can lead to nose bleeds and a dry cough. It can also cause damage to furniture and hardwood flooring.

Indoor moisture content can be measured with a hygrometer or an indoor temperature and humidity monitor, which you can purchase in any local hardware store.

There are many studies that suggest that women and men feel temperatures differently. Research shows that in air conditioned environments, women generally tend to feel colder than men, and are more comfortable in temperatures that are 2.5°C warmer than men’s comfort levels.

The way to solve your temperature challenge when sharing your indoor space with others who might have differing preferences is to be mindful of all the possible influences (as in the list above), and to be proactive in making some adjustments to find a happy medium for all.

Written by Nicole Casati

Do you have your own tips to share with us? CASATI HVAC would love to hear from you and learn more about new, innovative ways to create the perfect home experience.