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The AC in our basement apt has no separate thermostat – apt AC turns on when the AC on our first floor turns on. We like it relatively warm (around 76F) and the apt is generally 5-6 degrees cooler so apt is usually 70-72 degrees. My description says the apt is usually between 69-72F and that if they need it cooler than that, we can’t really accommodate (since we get too cold upstairs).
It’s become a bit stressful to try to ensure that guests are comfortable (since I’m essentially guessing what temp it is in the apt) and I ask guests to text if they are too warm or cold. I imagine that most people don’t text because they don’t want to bother us.
Should I pay to install a separate thermostat controlled by guests or will my utilities bill go through the roof? Should I get a remote thermostat so I can at least know what temp it is in the apt and then I can adjust accordingly and keep the apt at 70 degrees? Last summer, no guest complained about the temp (or the fact that they can’t control it) – one guest did text for it to be cooler, another guest requested it be warmer (out of 23 sets of guests). But the situation seems a bit untenable and there’s always the occasional times when we are out of town and not here to adjust the temp for guests (in which we case we leave our thermostat at 76 degrees and hope it all works out…)
We have a very similar situation. We own a building and the first and second floors are separated into two units each. The first floor units and the rear second floor unit [which is an Airbnb unit] are on the same system, controlled by the same thermostat, which resides in the front of the first floor. If the first floor is sunny, everything else is cold, and the inverse is true too.
Our solution was to put a remote thermometer in the Airbnb unit so we can at least keep an eye on the temp in there. In our case, the remote thermometer is connected to a home automation system that lets us know if it gets below or above certain temps. While that can get a bit pricey to setup, it’s way cheaper than zoning the temperature controls. Over time, we’ve gotten a good sense for the settings required to keep things relatively balanced, but similar to your situation, there’s always a slight variance.
I’ve done a lot of research on possible solutions and have a few ideas on the back burner to solve this in the long run. I’d be happy to share more if you’re interested, but a lot of it would depend on whether you own your property or not.