Thermostats Give Office Workers "Cold Shoulder"

January 17, 2003 ( - If you're not able to adjust the office temperature to a reasonable level, it could be because that plastic thermostat box on the wall is nothing more than - well, nothing more than a plastic box on the wall.

That’s right, according to some experts, that box on the wall may do no more to control the temperature in your work area than rubbing two sticks together.

A Wall Street Journal report says that most functional thermostats are actually tucked away inside the building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and away from the tampering fingers of office employees desperately looking to adjust the temperature.    Some are less skillfully hidden, but no less inaccessible to the average office employee without a key or a hammer to shatter the Plexiglas casing unit.

Faking It

So what have we been fooling with all of these year?   According to HVAC experts, a lot of office thermostats are meant only to hoodwink the average worker into believing he or she actually can control internal office weather patterns, when in fact the temperatures are carefully regulated for other reasons.

One such expert, Richard Dawson, from Homer, Illinois, estimates that as many as 90% of office thermostats are dummies, according to the report.   Of course some HVAC experts say only about 2% of the thermo boxes are fake.

Oh – and don’t blame your boss.   In some leased buildings, even the corporate tenants don’t know the thermostats are useless, according to the report.