Ask Astrid, Astrid

Ask Astrid – Help! I’m Stuck in a Thermostat Battle

Dear Astrid,

I live with a roommate, and overall we get along great, but a big issue has come up.  We’ve divided up the utilities between us and she covers the heating costs for the apartment.  The problem is that to keep the cost of the bill down she keeps the heat down really low.  I don’t like freezing in my own home!  I always have to wear at least a sweater around the apartment in the winter – sometimes even a scarf and gloves!  I have to keep two blankets and a comforter on my bed for the really cold nights.  If I try to turn the heat up at all she gets mad about it.  I know that she’s cold too, but she seems to handle it better than I do.  How do I convince her to turn up the heat sometimes?  



Dear Freezing,

While there’s nothing I love better than snuggling up under a warm blanket in the winter, you shouldn’t have to be under multiple blankets just to be a comfortable temperature!  Unfortunately, if your roommate is the one spending the money on it, she gets the control.  You could try asking her if she wants to swap a utility with you so you can take over the heat payments.  If she doesn’t want to do that (or if you don’t want to either), you could also try to strike a compromise.  Ask her at the beginning of one month to turn the heat up a degree or two so when the next bill comes you both will have a tangible idea of exactly how much those extra degrees cost.  It might not cost as much extra as she fears and she might be willing to keep the thermostat at that temperature.  If it’s still more than she wants to pay, you could offer to cover the difference between what the bill is and what it normally is at the temperature she keeps it.  You could also back away from the thermostat entirely, and just get a small space heater for your room so you have at least one place of refuge from the cold.  This only works if she doesn’t also pay the electric bill though.

Hope one of these solutions works out.  Stay warm!



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