Temperature Tolerance

I set my AC to kick on when it is ~85 - 89 degrees in the house. I can tolerate it. Actually, I find that 85 is very cool for me. But when I visit other peoples’ homes, the AC is often set in the 70s. They cannot believe that I can tolerate 85-89.

Why can I tolerate 85-89 while most others cannot? Granted, I’m shirtless most of the time, and I do have a cheap floor fan that follows me around. Is it some sort of genetic difference between me and pretty much the rest of the population, which insists on setting the thermostat to 72 or whereabouts? Or what?

A) Your thermostat is broken
B) A lot of people don’t have the luxury of being able to walk around shirtless with a fan pointed at them all the time. My kids would be sweaty and whiny, my wife would be unable to tolerate cooking, and we’d just kind of laze around with our tongues out.
C) Are you a senior citizen? They seem to think 85 is chilly.

Just the opposite here.

In winter I keep it about 58. People think my place is freezing. I layer a bit, but I’m invigorated.

Summer I can tolerate it up to 75. At 80 I’m sweaty and wilted.

This, exactly.

When I lived in a steamy jungle environment with no air conditioning anywhere, after a month, 74F felt cold. I think it’s just a matter of acclimation.

A) I don’t think so; I have two thermometers independent of the thermostat and both say ~88 degrees right now.

B) I agree.

C) No.

That’s probably the most likely reason. I guess I’ve been living with the heat so long that I don’t really mind 88 or so degrees. Sure, 72 would feel mighty fine, but I don’t see a need for it as 88 or whereabouts suits me just fine and hey, it does save me a lot on cooling costs.

Depends on the humidity. I don’t find AC doing a good job of dehumidifying above the mid 70s. I wouldn’t mind 85 and dry too much, but I’d prefer it cooler. 85 and humid would be uncomfortable.

Exactly, which is why a 79F house (as mine is during the summer) feels comfortable while the same temperature (or even lower) outside feels warm and muggy. Air conditioners don’t just cool the air, they dehumidify it (at the least, moisture condenses on the cooling coils which are much colder than the air), or things would feel very uncomfortable if the dewpoint outside was 70F and the inside temperature was the same (plus that would cause condensation everywhere).

When I spent 19 days living in an apartment my son was about to move into, I set the thermostat at 78 and whenever he came over with stuff he lowered it to 74 which I, dressed in summer garb, found chilly. In the winter, I keep the thermostat around 70, but dress in layers. When I am in Barbados where the high is always in the 85-87 range, I am not uncomfortable.

Tall thin people tolerate more heat and less cold. First, they have a higher surface-to-volume ratio, and second, they tend to have less of the fat unsulating layer. As a result, they radiate more heat, and cool more easily. I remember those long hot humid days when we’d all sit out on the front porch wearing as little as possible, waiting for a bit of a breeze. Eventually the sun would set, and when the temp went below 80-something, I’d head in and put on my jeans. My friends/housemates would look at me like I was nuts.

And yes, it’s also a matter of acclimitization, and attitude as well.

85 feels pretty good when shirtless in front of a fan and low humidity.

Or it could have something to do with your name.

Used to be, I never got cold. Often was amazed at the amount of clothing that people were wearing while I was sweating my XXXXX off. Got hot real easy, though.

Then I found out about my overactive thyroid.

Part of it has to be some short-term biological adaptation.

For me, when it first drops into the 40s (F) in the autumn, it feels brutally cold. Time for the heavy winter coat, hat, scarf, etc.

On the flip side, 5 months later, when winter subsides into spring and it gets back up into the 40s - woohoo, drop the coat, wear short sleeves, etc.

This has been my pattern living in the northern midwest pretty much every year, except for current. This current year - we had no winter, and are now suffering a miserable record-breaking heat-wave.

I’m 66, and if I set my AC any higher than 71, I sweat like a pig.

Acclimation is probably a big part of it. I grew up in upstate NY. When I first moved to the Carolinas, I was that strange guy still sleeping with the windows open on those first nights that the temperature dropped into the low 50s, when the apartments all around me were running the heat already. Fast forward almost two decades, and I am far less tolerant to the cold than I was back then.

I decided this was going to be my year for roughing it, and I have not turned on either heat
or AC at all. Outside temps have ranged from high 20s to 101. So far going without heat was
much more challenging than going without AC. Fans definitely help make it more tolerable
when it is ~85 inside, and 85 inside is a snap to put up with when it is in the mid 90s or
hotter outside, especially if you take an occasional walk during the hottest part of the day.
I don’t think 85 is ever going to feel chilly to me, though.

I don’t think acclimation fully explains it. I have only ever lived within a relatively small region around Lake Michigan and I have never been able to get used to the humid summers in this region, not even when I was a skinny little kid.

I think this wikipedia article on human body temperature is a pretty interesting read. Your temp is affected by your circadian rhythm, your level of physical fitness, and hormones (which appear to be a bigger factor for women than men). Does your body temperature run higher (on average) than 98.6? That could also be a factor. If your body is consistently warmer than average, it would take less cooling to return you to normal.

You mentioned that you prefer to be shirtless in your own home. Being half-nekid will cause your sweat to evaporate more quickly, so you will cool down faster than people who have clothes on. *Especially *if you always have a fan blowing on you. Most people could not sit in front of an air conditioner blower all afternoon, they would get too cold because of accelerated evaporation in conjunction with the cooler air. But the standing air in the rest of the same room would be quite tolerable.

Activity level has a lot to do with it. If you’re just sitting you won’t get nearly as hot. Start moving around doing things and you’ll get hot quick. Fans help in either case.

I’m almost exactly the same way when the seasons change. One thing that I do is vary the temperature of my bath water. For instance, when warm weather arrives, I take hot baths. It helps a person get acclimated faster.

Slight hijack–we all know that pigs don’t actually sweat, right?

Actually, it sounds like you’re a little too acclimated to the heat (so to speak). Part of the process of getting acclimated to heat evolves starting to sweat more easily and more profusely.

It’s acclimation.

When I was growing up in Ohio, I remember walking to classes in a sweatshirt and shorts when the temps were in the upper 50s and 60s. Now, an adult in Florida, I turn on the furnace and put on sweats when the temps dip below 70. My AC is set to kick on at 78/80 depending on what time of day it is. I only keep it that cool because my critters get hot before I do.