How Can You Stop Your Roommate from Constantly Changing the Thermostat!?!?

A functioning thermostat is crucial for stable indoor temperatures during both the winter and summer seasons.

What you probably didn’t know – or have just discovered – is that messing with the thermostat too often can cause it to malfunction.

So, How Can You Stop Your Roommate from Constantly Changing the Thermostat?

First off, try talking the roommate out of it. If they persist, try out one of these:

1. Install A Dummy Thermostat

Did you even know that many offices and public buildings don’t use genuine thermostats?

Yes – most of those thermostats you see in public buildings are dummies.

They will make sounds and act like they are controlling the air conditioner to lull you into a false sense of control.

Through placebo, you might feel a false change in room conditions when there’s been no real change at all.

These thermostats have been dubbed “the placebo buttons” – rightfully so.

You can install a dummy thermostat in your apartment to give your roommate an illusion of total control of air conditioning.

Dummy thermostats are sometimes installed to serve as input devices leading to central control computers but others serve no function other than deceiving the unsuspecting users.

Go for those equipped with built-in sensors designed to report to your building control unit. They often come with an override pushbutton – the override button is typically a timer designed to switch back to the initial temperature at the following schedule point.

If you settle on the most appropriate device you could get, you’d have solved the annoyance forever.

Dummy thermostats come with 2 benefits:

  • The roommate will feel better about it even though they are not actually affecting the cooling and heating settings
  • You get the benefit of low HVAC costs

2. Put A Lock On The Thermostat (Or Box/Cage It)

If your roommate keeps adjusting the thermostat and you can’t install the dummy device, take the radical approach – put a lock on the thermostat!

You can easily buy one of these on the internet or from your local hardware store for as low as $20.

All guards/cages come with a lock or some kind of assembly that allows you to lock it with a padlock.

Guards serve two purposes:

  • besides preventing people from vandalizing your thermostat
  • they can prevent your roommate and everyone else from unnecessarily changing your cooling/heating settings.

When it comes to locks/boxes, however, you need to be careful – does the tenancy agreement permit it?

The landlord themselves can box or cage off the thermostat depending on the terms and conditions in the tenancy agreement.

Often, they don’t ask. So you might want to find out whether you are allowed to do the same thing yourself.

Some of the most popular thermostat guards in the market are made by Honeywell, including this:

Honeywell Home Honeywell CG511A1000 Medium Inner Shelf Thermostat Guard

If you have a Honeywell thermostat, this is the perfect guard for it but it fits most other popular brands.

Emerson F29-0222 Universal Thermostat Metal Guard

Most thermostat guards are glassy and transparent, but this is metallic and opaque, safely barricading your thermostat from all straying hands.

3. Install Wi-Fi controlled Thermostat

If you find adding a lock on the thermostat to be too extreme, and you still can’t buy a dummy device, maybe you should try out something that can be controlled remotely – a Wi-Fi thermostat.

Wi-Fi-controlled thermostats allow you to monitor your thermostat and make adjustments from afar.

This can help you have total control over the device at all times regardless of where you are, meaning you will be able to restore your preferred settings shortly after the roommate has changed them.

Chances are the roommate won’t notice and may end up getting frustrated with it in the long run if they don’t notice a change in conditions after they have made changes.

If you are underestimating the power of Wi-Fi thermostats, read this rib cracking review of one of them.

Google offers some of the best programmable and Wi-Fi thermostats in the market – all of them fall in the extended family of Nest devices but they are a bit costly.

Emerson too has a few Wi-Fi products on offer, including this cheap device:

Emerson Sensi Touch Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat

It comes with a Touchscreen, full-color display, Energy Star certified, and works with Alexa.

Honeywell Lyric TH8732WF5018 Wi-Fi Thermostat

Honeywell is sort of an authority figure in the world of thermostats, and their Lyric line of Wi-Fi thermostats doesn’t disappoint.

Other Actions You Could Take

Before you even install a dummy device or add a lock or cover on your thermostat, try to determine the reason behind your roommate’s insistent adjustments.


  • You can proceed to state in an elaborate ‘energy action plan,’ pinned somewhere on the wall, that the settings of the thermostat cannot be changed without the approval by you or anyone in charge of energy reduction
  • Your thermostat is probably installed where it does not work properly. Try to hire an electrician and find out
  • Maybe there are drafts. Drafts can make users feel the HVAC isn’t delivering as per the settings. Fixing draft-related problems is much cheaper than having the wrong thermostat settings
  • Engaging with your roommate will help you to arrive at a setting that maximizes their comfort and productivity, and minimizes your energy bills
  • Could it be because the roommate is dressing inappropriately? You will be probably shocked that your roommate insists on heavy coats when the weather is warm and light clothes in the winter. If that’s the case, advise them to wear season-appropriate clothing

Two Reasons Why You Should Stop Your Roommate

Making frequent adjustments to the thermostat can lead to erratic room temperatures.

There are more reasons why you should bring it to a stop:

1. Adjusting The Thermostat Too Often Leads To Breakdowns

Thermostats are very much like car brakes – the more often you use them the faster they wear down and the more often you will need to replace them.

Constantly messing with your thermostat speeds up wear and tear both on the thermostat itself and the furnace.

Multiple components of the furnace will start to break faster than they are supposed to, which will certainly lead to expensive replacement or repairs.

For that reason, it is recommended that rather than turn the temperatures down and up every time the room gets cold or hot, find a temperature specific you are okay with and stop there.

2. Adjusting The Device Too Often Wastes Money

Another damning fact you probably didn’t know is that, when you adjust the thermostat too often, your furnace is suddenly forced to work harder, drawing more power.

You may have noticed that it takes more electricity to suddenly turn on the unit than it takes to keep it running at a certain specific temperature for a long period.

Take a glance at your next cooling/heating bill—you will be shocked with the amount of money you will save by stopping your roommate from adjusting the thermostat every 2 hours!

Before you even make changes to the thermostat, check if the landlord allows it by revisiting the terms of tenancy.

Damaging the thermostat while trying to stop the roommate from accessing it is the last thing you want.

Also, revisit the tenancy agreement to check if the roommate has free access to most things in the house including the thermostat. You probably shouldn’t be locking them out of it.


So how do you get to stop your roommate from changing the thermostat too often?

You can install a dummy thermostat in your apartment to give your roommate an illusion of total control of air conditioning.

Alternatively, install a lock or guard on the device – it will be only accessible to you.

If you find adding a lock on the thermostat to be too extreme, and you still can’t buy a dummy device, maybe you should try out something that can be controlled remotely – a Wi-Fi thermostat.