If you’ve ever worked in a big office, chances are you’ll be no stranger to that too-hot or too-cold feeling when the air conditioning isn’t quite right. But while we all know how it affects our comfort, air temperature actually has a much bigger impact than you may have realised. Here are a few reasons why it’s worth making sure you’ve got the balance right in your own home.
Being too hot or cold can affect your health.
There are plenty of theories that moving from hot to cold environments lead to illness – but in truth, this is more of an urban myth than a legitimate concern. As long as you’re properly dressed, you can skip between warm shopping centres and cold winter streets without worrying, as these transitions won’t cause you to get sick.
What’s more likely to affect your health is if you’re living in an environment that’s consistently too warm. Setting your air conditioner to a higher temperature can cause the room to be stuffy, which may affect your sinuses and can potentially lead to respiratory issues. On the other hand, if you set the temperature too low, your mucous membranes can become irritated, leaving you vulnerable to contracting colds and other bugs.
Finding it hard studying or working at home? Temperature may be a factor.
When you’re at home, it can be hard to concentrate – after all, there are usually a lot more distractions than you’d find at work! But here’s the good news: it may not be your fault! A lot of research has been done to determine the best temperature for productivity, which is generally agreed to be between 22 and 25 degrees Celsius. If you’re too chilly, you’ll expend extra energy just trying to stay warm, which can lead to a drop in concentration and performance. One noted research study even measured typing errors made by office workers, and found that les mistakes were made as the temperature rose.*
Humans aren’t the only ones to feel the difference.
They may not be able to complain about it, but house plants feel changes in air temperature just as acutely as humans do. Most house plants are happiest between 17-24 degrees Celsius – any warmer and they tend to droop (flowers also may wilt and die). Similarly, if they’re too cold, their growth will be inhibited, and many plants will even die, especially if they’re overwatered. Sudden changes in temperature are also problematic for plants (yellowing leaves are a telltale sign). If your home is habitually too hot, you may also find yourself with a pest problem – as rodents and insects love a little warmth.
Your needs might change from day to night.
There have been countless studies into the impact of temperature on sleep, and it’s often a bone of contention between couples (most women tend to feel the cold more easily than men, so prefer the bedroom to be warmer). The jury is still out on the absolute ‘best temperature’ for sleep, and like all things, it’s likely to vary from person to person. Whatever your situation, it’s just good to be mindful that your thermostat may need to be adjusted between day and night – usually so it’s a little cooler when you’re sleeping.
For those who experience insomnia, temperature is especially important to consider. “Temperature regulation is a significant factor in each of the two types of insomnia,” says Dr Van den Heuvel, research fellow at the University of South Australia’s Centre for Sleep Research. “Studies of sleep onset insomniacs show that they consistently have a warmer core body temperature immediately before initiating sleep, when compared with normal healthy adults. We're only talking about a half to one degree, but that small temperature change can result in significant differences.”
It’s hard to please everyone – but there IS a recommended range.
It has been noted that for every 1 degree Celsius you decrease your thermostat to when heating your home in winter, it has the potential to reduce energy consumption by 5 to 10%. The recommended indoor temperature range during winter is between 18 and 21 degrees. When it comes to cooling in summer, increasing the temperature by 1 degree can also reduce your energy use by 5 to 10%. The recommended indoor temperature range during this season sits between 23 and 26 degrees.**
If continuously monitoring the outdoor temperature and adjusting the thermostat seems quite tedious, smart technologies integrated into Daikin’s ducted systems does this automatically for you at the touch of a button. Daikin’s Inverter Ducted and Premium Inverter Ducted and systems have an in-built PMV Control (Predicted Mean Vote) that measures both the indoor and outdoor temperatures throughout the day, and gently adjusts the thermostat accordingly.
At the end of the day, though, it’s all about striking the right balance for you and your family. They may feel like small degrees, but they really can make a big difference in terms of comfort, and savings in your pocket!
* Study conducted by Professor Alan Hedge, Cornell University, United States of America 2004.
** NSW Government Family and Community Services - http://www.housingpathways.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/332486/Welcometoyourhome.pdf