A covert field‐intervention experiment to determine how heating controls that conserve energy affect thermal comfort

David Peter Wyon*, Jonathan E. Ridenour

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


A field‐intervention study was carried out in 106 households in Sweden. Without informing the householders, a retrofitted heat pump controller was twice disabled for 1 week at a time over a 4‐week period during the heating season, using a single‐blind cross‐over design with two pseudorandomly selected groups of householders, each experiencing different conditions at any given time. Thermal comfort was assessed by observing the total number of times that householders made adjustments to their set point temperature under each condition. A within‐household, repeated‐measures analysis was performed to determine whether this indicator was positively or negatively affected when the secondary controller was disabled so the heat pump system operated as designed. While over 80% of households showed no effect, among those that did respond to the imposed changes, a Wilcoxon matched‐pairs signed‐ranks test indicates that disabling the retrofitted controller had a negative effect on thermal comfort (P 
Original languageEnglish
JournalIndoor Air Online
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)763-767
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Field‐intervention experiment
  • Heat pump controller
  • Indoor temperature
  • Methodology
  • Thermal comfort
  • Thermostat

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