Saturday, June 03, 2023

I was on my way to a showing earlier this week on a blustery, freezing day. I thought it might be a good idea to ask the sellers to raise the temperature in the house before the buyers arrived. A toasty, warm home would surely help create a more inviting environment. The husband picked up the phone and after I made my request to him his response surprised me. “I’ll call my wife right away,” he replied. “She controls the heat from her phone and I’m really not supposed to touch the thermostat.” (I thought I detected a drop of fear in his voice when he spoke.)

I guess I have to consider myself lucky that my husband and I are in sync as to the temperature at which we like to keep our home. But the more I asked around about this, the more it became clear to me that what I enjoy with my husband is far from the norm. Arguments abound as to the ideal temperature a home should be kept at when people are awake, when people are sleeping, when people are away on vacation, etc.

This conversation only becomes more interesting with the steady increase of all the new technologies available today. I grew up in an attached house in Brooklyn where the old fashioned mercury-filled thermometer controlled the manual thermostat on the wall and was the only way to control the temperature in the house. It was a crude device, but we always knew exactly where things stood with the heat in our home. With the advancement of electronic thermostats, it was not long before the advent of the programmable thermostat. This now allowed the alpha member of the family who was willing to take the time to learn the complicated system of “days, hours and settings” to control the temperature of the house. No one would actually see the shift happening. It would just happen. It could be midnight and the heat might rise or fall depending on the whims of the programmer.

Today everything has been turned on its head. I was sitting at a kitchen table in a friend’s home only a few days ago when her adorable grandchild suddenly appeared and said: “Alexa, I’m cold!” Suddenly the heavens responded with the following inquiry: “I can raise the heat for you in the kitchen to 72 degrees. Would you like me to go ahead and do that?”

My friend told me that she had been meaning to change the settings on her Alexa device, blocking anyone other than herself from changing the temperature, however, she knows that her grandkids will just go into her phone and change the settings back. It’s an interesting question to ponder... Do we have more control over our thermostats now than we did 65 years ago in Boro Park?

Nechama Polak is the broker of record and owner of V and N Group LLC located at 1401 Palisade Ave, Teaneck, New Jersey 201 826 8809 [email protected]

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