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The charge: Steven

My girlfriend turns up the heat all year round. It’s expensive, unnecessary and bad for the planet

My girlfriend Hannah and I have been living together since September of last year. Our house is a modern two bedroom apartment, so it retains heat quite well and is very energy efficient. But we constantly disagree about what temperature to keep our home at.

I prefer a cooler temperature in the house – I like it around 20°C in the winter, but Hannah prefers it a few degrees higher. But if you’re too cold, it’s better to wear a sweater around the house than to immediately reach for the thermostat. I like being able to move around the house without getting too hot. There is also the environmental aspect to consider. We all now know that overheating our homes is not good for the planet.

Before moving in together, Hannah lived in old student houses that were really cold, so I think she craved a comfortable home. She also grew up in the Middle East she is therefore not used to British winters. When we got our own house, I wanted to set limits around the heating making sure we kept it at an agreed temperature. But, a few times I came home from work and found the roast flat. Hannah walks in before me and the first thing she does is turn up the heat. Came back and saw it at 26C. I’m like, “What’s all this then?” Hannah will claim that she only had it at this level for a short time.

My parents were very strict about heating. My dad had a silly rule: “No heating until November”. And even then it was set low, at 18°C. We never wore it in the summer. I have always lived in a cold house.

Now it’s warmer, but we always keep the apartment at 22°C – it’s a compromise between 20°C (too cold for Hannah) and 24°C (too hot for me). Hannah wants me to consider turning up the heat in the summer if she’s cold.

But in my opinion, it’s usually useless to have it unless it’s unusually cold. In addition, energy bills are increasing rapidly. I don’t want a shock bill next winter, because I don’t want to compromise financially in other areas of our lives.

Defense: Hannah

The women are colder and I want my house to be cozy. Wearing diapers indoors is just boring

I’m used to being hot. I grew up in the Middle East and moved to England when I was 10 and found it difficult to adapt to the climate. My family home was always very warm. It’s nice to come home to a cozy house when you have to deal with the cold at work (I’m a scientist in a lab) and outside.

I usually keep the dish at 22°C, but I raise it once in a while if I’m a little cold. I don’t think you should wear more diapers at home, it’s boring and uncomfortable having a lot of clothes on. At home you should feel free. It is not more ecological because wearing more clothes means washing them more regularly.

It is also a question of gender; women are naturally colder and office temperatures are often suited to men. In my lab, I wear sweaters and a blouse when I work. Steven recognizes that he grew up in a cold house and that it was not good. I think he should be more flexible on heating our house. He shouldn’t be so obsessed with the thermostat number – he’s got this thing that if we heat the house over 22°C, he won’t be able to be comfortable. I think it’s a bit in his head.

I sometimes turn the heating up to 26°C in the winter before Steven comes home from work. If I get caught, I say, “It was just a little on and I’ll turn it down again when I warm up.” Having the heating on low at night bothers me less because the duvet keeps me warm.

I want the heating to be on in the summer. UK summer weather is inconsistent so I can get cold at times. Ideally, I’d turn the heater on most nights before bed, or when the temperature drops below 15°C – which still often happens in the warmer months here. Having the heating on all year round is optimal for me. If a person is really hot or cold, we should both be prepared to adjust the temperature accordingly. It depends on who is feeling more strongly at that moment.

I understand that our gas bills will be expensive with rising prices, but it is a necessity. I prefer to compromise in other areas to keep the heat on.

The Guardian Readers’ Jury

Should Hannah turn the heat down?

Hannah needs to get real and layer up! Energy prices are exploding and Steven has already made enough compromises. My daughter-in-law is from Brazil, but she is ready to put up with our freezing house.
Penny, 64 years old

Hannah is guilty of multiple counts – environmental, financial, mathematical. I understand the genre, but I applaud Steven’s sensibilities. Maybe Hannah can use the scientific method to design a greenhouse effect in a room? Either way, skillful layering won’t justify extra laundry.
Nyasha, 20 years old

Ah, the eternal battle of the sexes – poor cold-blooded Hannah! But loungewear these days is light and comfortable. A zip top over a t-shirt and slipper socks should solve the problem if they accept a 20-22C truce – and help with the environment and crippling bills.
Alan, 50 years old

What a waste of money and gas when Hannah just has to put on a cardigan and a sweater. The argument about more washing just doesn’t mean, well, washing! You can wear loungewear for ages.
Kendra, 49 years old

We all know it’s no fun being cold, but given soaring energy prices and the climate crisis, it’s hard to have much sympathy for Hannah. To some extent this is a cultural/climate divide, so maybe Steven needs to introduce Hannah to some British traditions like long johns and the good old hot water bottle.
Dominica, 38 years old

you are the judge

So now you can be the judge, click on the poll below and tell us: Should Hannah turn the heat down?

We’ll share the results on the You Be The Judge show next week.

The poll will close on April 14 at 9:00 a.m. BST

Last week’s result

We asked you if Niall should stop leaving the toilet seat up, which is driving his sister Nuala crazy.

54% of you said yes, Niall is guilty
46% of you said no, Niall is innocent

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