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Guy Secretly Installs Thermostat With Passcode So His Wife Can’t Blast The AC While He’s At Work

Man adjusting thermostat.
Saklakova/Getty Images

As temperatures rise, the first thing people look for is the nearest room with air conditioning.

Of course, one must always be a little careful when cranking the air conditioning at home, as it might result in a sky-high utility bill at the end of the month.

Then too, setting the right temperature in your house can also be a challenge, as not everyone enjoys their home feeling like an igloo.

Redditor Alternative-Yard3896 and his wife were finding themselves at odds over the air conditioning temperature in their house.

While the original poster (OP) liked to be a little more conservative, it couldn’t get cool enough for his wife, as proven by their electric bills.

While the OP came up with a solution to stop his wife from cranking the A/C to the max, he found himself putting further strain on his marriage.

Wondering if he was in the wrong, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for upgrading my house’s thermostat so I could password protect it from my wife?”

The OP explained how his plan to keep his utility bill low ended up backfiring.

“My wife [26 F[emale] and I [28 M[ale]] have been married for about half a year now.”

“We lived together in an apartment before getting married, and now we live in a house I inherited from my grandmother.”

“This summer has been quite hot and so like most people, we have been running our air conditioner nearly around the clock.”

“My wife and I have very different ideas of how we should run it, though.”

“Using energy saver recommendations, I like to keep it at around 76 Fahrenheit and on low.”

“My wife likes to turn it down to 60 degrees and blast it on the highest setting, then turn it off when she gets cold, then turn it back on again when she gets hot.”

“I’ve tried discussing this with her, but there’s literally nothing I can do or say to convince her.”

“She currently stays at home taking care of the house while I go to work, and the second I’m out the door, the thermostat is messed with.”

“I’ve tried showing her our exorbitantly expensive power bill (from May of all months, so it was only going to go up), but she doesn’t care.”

“She says that she’s at home all day, and so she should have control over it.”

“We’ve argued about this on and off since.”

“About three weeks ago, I got a reservation for a new digital thermostat installation.”

“The guys finally came in a few days ago and installed a new smart thermostat off our older air conditioning unit.”

“The first thing I did was password protect it, so you would need a PIN to change any of the settings.”

“My wife came home a few hours after I had set the PIN and noticed the new unit.”

“When she tried to change the settings, she was met with a request for a PIN, and she asked me what it was.”

“I told her that I wouldn’t be telling her that.”

“Then she asked what she should do if she gets hot.”

“I responded that she can still turn the air conditioning on and off without the PIN.”

“The next morning, I left for work as normal, setting it to 76.”

“When I got home in the afternoon, I found my wife on the living room floor pantomiming a fainting spell.”

“She mustered the energy to say ‘Help … water …'”

“I ignored her because you faint from the heat in a climate-controlled room.”

“When she realized I wouldn’t give her attention, she exploded in anger and yelled that she could have died, prompting another argument.”

“She ended it by calling me ‘controlling’ and hasn’t said more than a word to me since.”

“Things have been rough for the past couple of days.”

The OP was left to wonder, 

“I feel like what I did was completely justified but was I an a**hole about this?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Neither the OP nor his wife came off looking especially good in this situation, with just about everyone agreeing that everyone sucked for their behavior.

People were fairly uniform in agreeing that both the OP and his wife both behaved immaturely in how they handled this situation, with others feeling their behavior hinted that there might be bigger problems in their marriage than controlling the air conditioning.


“You’ve got bigger problems in your marriage than the thermostat.”- Stephh075

“Grown adults acting like kids.”

“75 degrees is too hot. 60 is too cold. How about a compromise… you know….. like adults in a relationship would do.”

“And what do you mean your wife stays home ‘taking care of the house’.”

“What does your house do that requires someone full-time to do it?”

“ESH.”- Pancake_Elbow


“She is being unreasonable.”

“I agree that setting the thermostat at 60 and turning it on and off repeatedly is wasteful and will cause a lot of unnecessary wear and tear to the A/C unit.”

“That said, doing this behind her back is essentially treating her like a child.”

“Yes, she is acting like a child, but you can’t actually treat her like one because that’s an unhealthy relationship dynamic.”

“You guys need couple’s counseling to help you figure out if there is something bigger at play that is causing her to latch onto this A/C issue as a form of control in your relationship.”

“Or maybe she is always unreasonable, and you need to figure out if you can live with that and how to deal with her behavior without being unreasonably controlling yourself.”- neoncactusfields


“She’s being insanely dramatic, but you’re also not taking into consideration that not everyone is able to regulate temperature the same way. And she’s right. You’re also not home.”

“76F (or as the rest of the world would call it, 24C) is warm and above ‘room temperature’.”

“My stepmother and father fight about this all the time and my stepmom is absolutely miserable at anything over 22C. 60F (15C) is STUPIDLY cold for a room and also unreasonable.”

“Sounds like you both need to grow up and learn how to compromise.”

“How about 69?”

“Then everyone gets what they need (har har).”- badgergoesnorth


“Marriage is about resolving thousands of issues like this – you both need to get better at conflict resolution – get resources.”- Traveling-Techie

“76F == 24C.”

“60F == 16C.”

“One is quite warm. The other is quite cool.”

“Why not compromise and set the temperature to 20C == 68F.”

“I think you’re both being unreasonable, so I’m going with ESH.”- AtTheEastPole


“Your wife is being wasteful.”

“You’re being controlling.”

“You’re both acting childish.”

“Set the thing to 74 since she seems to run hot.”

“She can be responsible for the electricity bills if she wants to mess around with it so much.”

“Power imbalances are not good in relationships.”- Electrical-Tie-5158

Some, however, felt the OP was solely at fault, feeling he had no right to lock his wife out of the thermostat in her own home, regardless of her behavior.

“YTA for putting a PIN on.”

“That’s a move designed to exert control – we ARE going to do this my way, whether YOU like it or not – and not tackling the problem as partners.”

“You and your wife need to learn to compromise with each other, but you’re not going to get far in that direction by using tactics like this.”- IntrovertedBookMan


“You tried to have a conversation, and when you couldn’t convince her, you just put in a new thermostat that only you could control.”

“Good job coming to a compromise with your spouse.”

“And then the kicker is that you aren’t even there.”

“So you decide what should be comfortable for her.”

“Which so happens to be EXACTLY what YOU want.”

“You give her zero consideration and zero input.”

“What she wants has no impact on your decision.”

“You don’t adjust it by a single degree.”

“That is pretty much the definition of controlling.”

“How do you convince yourself that you aren’t the a**hole?”- killjoygrr


“You ARE controlling.”

“You are literally controlling the f**king temperature she can have.”

“Holy sh*t, dude.”- Portie_lover

“YTA 76 is not comfortable for most people.”

“Yes, the electric company recommends a higher temperature because they don’t care about your comfort.”

“You need to find a temperature to compromise on because her way is stupid also.”- keesouth

Considering there was a literal middle ground in finding a temperature that would please both the OP and his wife, it’s fairly surprising that he felt the need to resort to locking her out of the thermostat.

Then too, her dramatic behavior was never likely to help matters.

If this is how the OP and his wife continue to handle disagreements, under a year into their marriage, one can’t help but question how long this marriage is going to last…

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.