FPL finds half of couples change thermostat without asking

Floridians may be fibbing about changing the thermostat in their homes, according to a survey commissioned by Florida Power and Light (FPL) and Harris Interactive.

A September 2013 survey of more than 1,500 Florida adults revealed that among those who share their home with a spouse or partner, 49 percent admit to changing the thermostat setting without their partner's knowledge.

When confronted, the top reasons they used to excuse themselves include:

·      Pretending they didn't know how the thermostat changed (36 percent)

·      Blaming someone else (12 percent)

·      Saying the thermostat must have mechanical problems (12 percent)

·      Claiming that the thermostat must have been bumped (9 percent)

·      Blaming the dog or cat (3 percent)

"These survey results highlight the reality that most people in Florida would rather be comfortable, even if they don't want to admit it and may end up spending more money on energy in the process," said Marlene Santos, vice president of customer service at FPL. When asked to choose, nearly half of Florida adults (47 percent) say being comfortable is most important to them, after saving money (44 percent). Only nine percent consider saving energy to be most important to them. "Ideally, we'd like to help customers find the best balance of comfort and savings," Santos added.

FPL released the results of the statewide study as a way to mark October's Energy Awareness Month and inform FPL customers about the different energy-saving programs that are available to them.

Since more than half (59 percent) of Florida adults prefer to keep the temperature on their thermostat low, it stands to reason that only one-third or nearly one out of every three Florida adults describe themselves as completely or very energy efficient (32 percent), with only four percent saying they are completely energy efficient. A large majority say that they are somewhat or not at all energy efficient (68 percent).

"FPL is committed to helping customers understand what can drive their bills up or down, and offers energy-saving tools to help them make more informed energy choices," said Santos. "The apparent 'thermostat wars' in people's homes are a hidden force to be reckoned with," she said, "since air conditioning is the largest user of energy in Florida homes."

Other survey findings include:

·      Among Florida adults who live with at least one other person in their home (n=1,238) 43 percent strongly/somewhat agree that there is a thermostat war in their house, with 15 percent strongly agreeing with this statement.

·      Females might be the ultimate culprits — 45 percent of women in Florida would rather have control of the thermostat than the television remote (36 percent)

·      59 percent of Florida adults keep the temperature on their thermostat "low." Reasons for doing this include: so they can put on heavy blankets (18 percent), so they can snuggle close with their loved one (16 percent), to avoid arguments with their spouse (15 percent), to keep their pets comfortable (13 percent) and "other" (20 percent)

·      Only 34 percent of Floridians with air conditioning change the air filter once a month or more, the recommended frequency for the air conditioning unit's maximum efficiency.

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