My BMI was under 17 when I was a teenager and I was cold all the time. I remember sitting on a floor leaning against a radiator quite a few times just to keep warm. Now that I’m 20 years older and weight 20 kg more, it’s a whole different story - it feels like my personal comfort zone has moved maybe 6-8 C downwards.
I actually wish I had realized it was weight-related back then, somehow I never connected the dots as a kid. I just thought people were a lot tougher about cold than me, not that them being normal- or overweight had anything to do with it.
Well first off of course you are asking him to sleep there, not be a productive worker there. You are not having him manange a call center out of the bedroom I don’t think.
Second is to remember that you always have to look at a body of evidence (such as it is) rather than a single study. Go the Cornell researcher’s site and you can find decent (dare I say, rather cool) summary of research done in the area.
Lots of conflicting studies there.
Pertinent to your question are studies 9, 10, 13, and 14.
Please note - some cherry picking done. A few studies in that list found very different results and one suspects that context matters. Are the individuals acclimated to cold temperatures or warm? Live a bit in the cold temperatures and they don’t seem quite as uncomfortable. It is not just psychologial that 55 in Spring seems warm while it seems cold in early Fall; there are real physiologic adaptations as well.
Is your son particularly thin or heavy? If recently gaining weight and complaining of the cold lots more than seems typical and especially if he also is tired lots too you may want to have his thyroid levels checked.
All that said, energy efficiency is a noble thing but the cost of heating one (presumably well-sealed and insulated) room a few degrees warmer is not going to bust the bank. If you were running an extra 1500 W space heater full blast 8 hours of the day this site says it would run about $26.40 a month. Probably he’s pulling less energy than that but link there and offer him that he pays $25 a month for the extra energy out of allowance or extra tasks around the house.
There are some medical conditions which cause people to feel unnecessarily cold, but I don’t know enough about them to speculate. If he sees a doctor regularly (and you should just take him in once/year at least for a general physical), then you could ask your doctor about it. Ignoring a medical condition is about the only place I could see where there might be a legal issue, but from what I can tell, the medical conditions that list this as a symptom also have other obvious symptoms as well. We’ll need a doctor to weigh in here on this, and there’s no need to let a teenager’s imagination run wild with medical speculation. But you could check out on the web for medical conditions that have this as a symptom, think about whether or not your kid has the other symptoms, and take him into a doctor if you feel its warranted.
I’d like to stress here, though, that I’m not a doctor, and I don’t really know about these conditions in any detail. Plus, teenagers who are rapidly growing often have all sorts of weird physical stuff going on anyway, so this could all just be normal growing pains.
That said, I think now that you’ve got some cites on what’s considered recommended temperatures, you should shift the burden of proof to him. Make him write a well-cited research paper justifying your obligation to provide a higher temperature.
And, here’s my own suggestion. I use a sleeping bag when it gets cold. It’s one of those with felt (or something) on the inside and plastic (nylon?) or something on the outside. I just lay it over me like a blanket. It starts trapping my body heat withing a few minutes and is completely toasty.
I wouldn’t do any of these things. I’d point out that there is a reason why no one dresses in tshirts in winter. Suggest he look around perhaps. If he’s not going to dress appropriately for the season you feel no need to listen to his demands. Come back in a sweater or fleece, and we’ll talk. Until then, be cold, it’s your choice.
I’d also use my phone to snap photos of him outside coat undone, no scarf or mitts etc. Then when he complains show it to him and point out he doesn’t seem to mind the cold all that much, and you’re understandably confused.
What will you do if he finds socks uncomfortable? Heat the house so his feet won’t get cold? That’s crazy talk!
That would be my answer too. Or, if you don’t mind doing the math, have him pay for it out of his allowance.
Me too, until my late 30’s, though I knew it was weight-related. I remember those hot summer days when everyone would sit on the front porch in as little clothing as decency allowed. As evening came, temps would drop below 80 and I’d head inside, returning in jeans and a cotton long-sleeved shirt, while my friends were still trying to cool off, and they looked at me like I was nuts.
A certain amount of understanding is in order. The kid clearly isn’t doing this JUST to rebel, he’s doing it to be comfortable, and it’s a PITA being uncomfortable all the time. But it’s unreasonable to expect to call all the shots with zero compromise! Put on a damn shirt already! Or get a doctor’s appointment to look into circulation issues or whatever else might cause wearing normal clothing uncomfortable. “If normal clothing is uncomfortable, either there’s something wrong with your health, or you’re being recalcitrant. Which is it?”
In other words, it’s not a temperature issue at at all, but rather a teenager issue.
Take him to a doctor. If the doctor determines there is nothing physically wrong with him, then take him to a psychiatrist. Since wait times can be quite long, pack up and move to another community while he is with the shrink. Problem solved.
Or you could simply pull an SDMB on him and demand that he provide a cite proving that the temp is in violation of the law. (To keep one step ahead of him, check out your local municipal code/bylaws for what it requires of landlords – usually there will be specific minimums specified.)
Oye. Yep, compromise. Your son may be testing the waters to see how far he can push. Perhaps, you are missing some of the control you’ve had in the past. All understandable IMHO.
He may be uncomfortable at colder temps for sleeping. But there are PLENTY of remedies for that that have be mentioned.
I gotta wonder really how much $ it is to keep one room warmer. Myself, I don’t think this is a hill worth dying on. As long as both sides can compromise a bit. It may be a great lesson for your son.
It may cost more in the long run, but get a programmable t-stat for the room. Turn it down to 65 during the day, and up to 80 at night. If he’s a computer nerd, and his computer is in the room, an adjustable desk lamp with a halogen bulb is a GREAT way to keep your hands and desk surface warm when you’re on the box. I do that at work.
FWIW I like the British guidelines, I think when I was a kid that was typical house temperature in our house (this was in the 50s/60s.) I think that a few things have happened to change American society since then. Namely, there is an expectation that if you want to, you should be able to wear shorts and a t-shirt inside all year long. Secondly, even people that wear “winter clothes” might take this to mean a pair of jeans and a cotton sweater thrown over a thin cotton t-shirt and a pair of boxer shorts.
That may be fine for moderately cold weather, but we legit layered when it got real, real cold. And we wore those layers inside. We also had more than just sheets and a comforter on our beds. With those changes you can experience (and I have many times) not feeling at all uncomfortably cold inside a home with 60F temperature.
Or you could just surrender by conceding to him that you keep the temperature in the home too cold to meet the law’s requirements, as you are dropping him of at Child Protection Services with a note tied to his buttonhole.
I don’t mind the cold when outside (much less so than most people I know, at least), but I’m pretty miserable if it’s not hot inside. I guess it’s psychological, but I frequently have the same persons surprised that I’m not cold with my light clothes outside, and complaining it’s too hot at my place. Not the same thing at all, at least for me. Fresh tempetures outside I find vivifying. Fresh temperatures inside make me miserable.
What some people said reminded me of something : as a kid, I was living in a poorly heated house, but when I was a teenager I too was seeking the proximity of heaters during winter, even though the apartment we were living in then was well heated.
I feel similarly, and for me it has something to do with the length of time you’re outside and what you’re doing while you’re out there. Obviously, going out and moving around in the fresh, cold air isn’t anything like spending several hours in a cool room, where you can’t warm up.