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Why is it that a 72-degree house can feel cool in summer and warm in winter? Is it all in your head?

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Everything is relative.” but is the true when it concerns temperature?

That’s something Marion, Mass. Residents Gertraude Heineken has actually wondered about for years. On hot summer days, after spending time outside, she’ll head back indoors.

You are watching: Why is it hot in the summer and cold in the winter

"And i come into the air-conditioned house and also it is freezing. Siberia inside," explained Heineken.

A glance at she thermostat expose an indoor temperature the 75 degrees. And yet, in winter...

"Would we ever before consider setup the thermostat in ~ 75? i don’t think so. I think it would certainly really it is in hot," she said. "So what’s going on there? what’s the discrepancy?"

For starters, there space all species of means to cool and heat a house, but no matter exactly how you perform it, "the house is choose a sponge," described Lenny Mastropieri, owner that L.M. Heating and Air.

To get — and keep — a sponge-like house at 75 levels on a hot day, Mastropieri claims you have to continuously present air the is cooler 보다 75 degrees. Depending on everything from the size and efficiency of the residence to the temperature and also humidity outside, the air have the right to sometimes be significantly cooler.

"In the winter time, it’s kinda choose the opposite," claimed Mastropieri. So, that same 75 degrees is being kept by a steady stream that air that is warmer.

But there is an additional factor at play here: an additional thermostat — so come speak — in the truncus encephali, much better known as the mind stem.

"How the human body regulates temperature and our awareness of temperature room linked yet are a little bit different in just how we procedure it," claimed Dr. Aaron Young, who teaches physiology and biophysics of at the Boston University college of Medicine.

We humans are homeotherms, which means our body core continues to be at a precise, constant temperature — 98.6 degrees. As such, we’ve developed all sorts of methods to preserve that temperature, no issue the problems outside. When it’s hot, our body cools our core, and when it’s cold, our body heats that up.

So, how do we perform it? In a word: thermoreceptors.

"We have actually ones that room out on ours skin surface, and also we contact those peripheral thermoreceptors," said Young. "And then we have actually ones that are situated in our brain stem, and we contact those central thermoreceptors."

The ones almost everywhere our skin surface are single duty. Part receptors sense just hot, and also others only cold.

Incidentally, these exact same thermoreceptors additionally react to particular chemicals. They room what you feel tingling on her lips once you eat spicy food, for example.

"Or you use mouthwash or friend chew minty gum and also it feeling cool," stated Young. "Same thing."

The thermoreceptors on your skin surface ar send signals to the persons in your brain stem, i beg your pardon regulate how aggressively to either warmth or cool the body. When it’s cold out, this is why us shiver — to aid heat increase our body"s main point temperature.

Conversely, once it’s hot, we push warm out by moving our blood flow — and with it heat — closer come the skin surface. This is why we could look flushed on a summer day, or once we exercise. We radiate few of this warm out through our skin pores. Convection helps, too: fluid or waiting flowing over our hot skin.

"That’s why we feel cooler once you have actually a fan blowing ~ above you," claimed Young. "The wait is flowing over more quickly and taking warmth away."

And then, the course, we sweat.

See more: -10 Degrees Celsius To Fahrenheit Conversion, 10 Degrees Celsius To Fahrenheit Conversion

"And by sweat we placed liquid on the skin surface, i m sorry is warmth to our human body temperature," said Young. "And then it evaporates. For this reason we’re losing heat by evaporation."

All this to say that once Gertraude enters her 75-degree residence on a warm summer day, she body is in a element heat-losing state. And, crucially, while her peripheral thermoreceptors feel the cooler wait immediately, that takes time because that the rest of her mechanism to readjust to the new conditions.

"It’s not favor a irradiate switch, you upper and lower reversal it and also it automatically comes on," claimed Young. "There’s a little bit of a lag, a little bit of a delay."

Chances space if Gertraude waits around 20 minutes because that her system to record up, the home will feel much less prefer “Siberia” and much an ext like a feather day. Yet in the end, it appears she is correct: 75 degrees isn’t constantly 75 degrees. The discrepancy is not simply a figment of she imagination, but it is — at least in part — in her head.