Get that thermostat out of the hall!

What is this fascination with the hall of your house? Why do people want to put things in it?

Yes, fine, if your hallway is wide enough, leave an area for putting ‘outdoor’ shoes, or umbrellas, or even raincoats. You don’t want those all messing up the rest of the house, so it makes sense to leave them in the hall.

But, the hall is where odd people put other things beyond the outdoor protection paraphernalia.

Remember land-line telephones? Well, the first generation that were introduced into the home were wired into a position in the hall. In the days before central heating, when rooms were individually heated, usually by roaring coal or wood fires, the hall would be cold. Ok, in the early days people didn’t chat on the telephone, but used it instead to pass on information and they would keep their communication precise and to the point, and quickly nip back into the warm living room. The cold may have even been the reason why nobody chatted on the phone.

It was very much later that the era of “No, you put the phone down first” had starry-eyed lovers chatting as they shivered for hours at a time. All this still went on in the hall. When they grew up and were the next generation of home-makers, they then dared to invite the land-line phone into the living room.

There is no logic to a land-line phone being in the hall in these modern times. It almost seems a bit mental to have one in the hall, even if it does sit on a highly polished ‘telephone table’ complete with its own seat to sit on during telephone conversations. For almost all homes the land-line telephone has joined the family in the living room.

But not the central heating thermostat.

As you might expect, because central heating was initially very new, and once the earlier versions without themostats were being upgraded to include a thermostat, it was consigned to the hall. Not just the hall, but usually only a metre or so away from the front door. Madness.

Putting a central heating thermostat in the hall makes even less sense than putting a land-line phone there. As with the phone, the thermostat needs to be where you are, the living room.

You see, if the focus of your home is the living room, then that is the room you need to keep to the temperature you feel comfortable at. Not the hall. The temperature of the living room will change depending on how many people are there and what’s going on. The thermostat will tell the central heating to fire up or switch off in order to maintain your desired temperature. What use is the thermostat if it is somewhere else entirely?

Indeed, the hall, where most central heating thermostats are situated, is surely the last place to put a thermostat! The hall normally includes the front door, the door to the cold outside world. Once the front door is open, all the warmth in the hall is very quickly allowed to escape, to be replaced by the freezing air from that outside world. And, dutifully, the humble thermostat asks for more heat in order to replace that which has been lost. Lost from the hall that is.

None, or relatively none, was lost from the living room. The living room was at a comfortable temperature, and not affected by the opening of the front door. However, it will now get a lot hotter. The thermostat that is in the hall, the hall which needs a bit of heating in order to compensate for the front door having been opened, will also cause the radiators in the living room to get much hotter at the same time. If there’s a lot of to-ing and fro-ing through that front door, the living room will slowly start to cook, at the behest of the thermostat in the hall.

Shock horror, the thermostat needs to learn from the land-line telephone example and it needs to live in the living room and control the warmth of where you are rather than where you are not. When are people going to learn to do this?