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Who Wins the War Over Air Conditioning in Your Home?

As summer begins, the battle for the thermostat can get heated. Here are our stories from the front. How do you draw the battle line in your home?

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Sign warning people not to touch the thermostat

Many households wage war over the air conditioning. What's the story in your home? Image: Liz Foreman for HouseLogic

Love it! Hate it! Can’t live without it! Can’t live with it going full blast! Air conditioning ignites our passions, and that doesn’t help when it’s 90 degrees outside.

Sometimes those passions combust into full-fledged air-conditioning wars, where families and friends battle for control of the thermostat. Mostly, there’s just a lot of whining about being too hot or too cold.

Since Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer, we thought we’d share our own air-conditioning passions. Feel free to add your two cents (unless you’re saving to pay the AC bill).

Blame your mother

As with most obsessions, my love of air conditioning probably started in childhood.

My mother ran hot, so our suburban New York house was a meat locker from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Consequently, my internal thermostat is set low, and I like the temperature in my own Virginia home to match.

My husband, however, grew up in Minnesota, has zero body fat, and is always trying to get warm. He likes our house to feel toasty in January and July.

Through 18 years of marriage, we’ve brokered a truce rooted in the idea that he can always pile on more sweaters and blankets to get warm, but I can strip off only so many clothes or sheets to feel cool. In summer, the AC is my domain, but I never set the thermostat below 70: I’m hot, but I’m not made of money. — Lisa Kaplan Gordon, blogger

Is it just me?

Every year my husband and I make a minor bet to see who can hold out the longest before switching on the AC. Our rationale: Every day we don’t use it, we’re not paying for it. And with our dogs wanting to go out and in all summer, we aren’t the most efficient AC users. Plus, we like fresh air.

One year, I was definitely in the losing camp. He was traveling, and I decided not to turn on the AC while he was gone. I woke in the middle of the night dripping with sweat. It didn’t seem hot outside, so I thought I might be going through “the change” that curses middle-aged women. I made an appointment with my doctor.

After she examined me, she asked me one question: “Have you turned your AC on?”

“No.”

“Well, then, that’s your problem.”

I lose the AC bet most years. I turned it on last night to combat allergies. A stuffy head will win every time. — Lara Edge, editor

Cold-weather friends

I live in a city that is hot, stinky, and breezeless in the summertime, so I can’t live without air conditioning. Unfortunately, two close friends are anti-AC extremists. This makes socializing with them difficult when the temperature soars.

Even a steady breeze generated by a ceiling fan causes the wife in this duo to wince from “discomfort.” As she puts it, she can’t stand being pounded by air. During the summer, they’re known for storming out of restaurants, boutiques, and coffee shops because the proprietors won’t turn the air down.

Sadly, once the temperature hits 80, I don’t see either one of them again until Labor Day. — Deirdre Sullivan, editor

An AC system of one’s own

My husband and I both work from home. He likes to keep the house cold. So cold that I would routinely wear sweat suits even on the hottest summer days. So cold that I’d leave the house to run errands in my sweat suit only to return and change when I realized that the only place I needed to wear a jacket was inside our house.

We remodeled a few years back to create a larger office for him. Instead of running the existing HVAC into the addition, we installed a separate system. Now, he can chill out — way out — all day, and I can put away the sweat suits in May with the rest of my winter clothes. — Dona DeZube, blogger

What’s your stance on the AC? Do you battle for domination with the people you live with?

lisa-kaplan-gordon Lisa Kaplan Gordon

is an avid gardener, a member of the Fairfax County Master Gardeners Association, and a builder of luxury homes in McLean, Va. She’s been a Homes editor for Gannett News Service and has reviewed home improvement products for AOL. Follow Lisa on Google+.

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