How to Check Room Temperature Without a Thermometer

Learning how to check room temperature without a thermometer is one of those skills that, while you may not need to know, is pretty useful. From a cool party trick to an actual useful skill, there is some serious use potential for learning how to check the temperature around you without a thermometer.

Determination factors

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There are several things that will help you understand how the temperature changes and how you can gauge how it’s changing. These are:

  • Natural body temperature: Traditionally, our bodies hover around 98.6 degrees F. Some will run hotter or colder than that, of course.  If you are run colder than that, you’ll find rooms that are at “room temperature” to be cooler than most.  If you run hot, you’ll find “room temperature” rooms to be hot.
  • Humidity level: The humidity level changes from location to location. Typically, humid air is going to be hotter because there are more water molecules in it.  These will create a “muggy” feeling and will make you feel hotter easier.  Likewise, a room that has low humidity will feel colder easier because there are few water molecules in the air, and these will create more room for your own heat to evaporate.
    Typically, humid rooms feel warmer than non-humid rooms, regardless of the climate.  One example is to think about a laundromat that always feels hot and sticky — it’s because of the moisture content.
  • Your own comfort: We’re all a little different—some like rooms warmer or cooler than others. Depending on how we grew up, our clothing, and even something as simple as our stress levels can determine how you feel in a space.

Factoring in all of these points will help you get a feel for how to check the room temperature without even thinking about using an actual thermometer.

The process of temperature regulation

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Now that you’re used to thinking about those three facets above, here’s how you actually apply them to the temperature in the room itself.

  • Consider humidity with beading: Humidity will give you a “cheat” when thinking about room temperature since humid rooms are warmer than non-humid rooms. Check the windows and notice how you feel in the room.  Is there beading on the windows and the door frames?  Do you feel like the air is close?  If you say “yes” to either of those, then the room is humid.  If there is no beading and you feel “normal,” then the room isn’t humid.  This means the temperature will be cooler.
  • Are you comfortable in the space?: This will, of course, be a bit subjective, but give it a go. Are you hot?   Cold?  Just right?  Generally, a good guess is that if you are feeling “just right” and you don’t need to put on or take off a layer of clothing, the temperature is sitting at 72-76 degrees F. This range is so accurate that this is actually the definition of “room temperature.”
    As you get used to what this feels like, you’ll start to feel when it gets warmer or cooler outside of these norms.
  • How are your pets reacting?: It sounds random, but it’s important! Remember when we talked about comfort in a room as far as “Everyone being different”?  Our pets are great indicators of that.  If a room is cold, you’ll notice your pet snuggling in blankets or curled up in a ball to conserve body heat.  If it is hot — such as on a summer day or in full sunshine — they’ll be flaked out to allow body heat to escape and will quite often be on tile or wooden flooring to help speed that up.

Use a Smartphone to Verify

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As you’re learning how to figure out what the temperature in your room is, don’t be afraid to rely on your smartphone to help you out!  There are many free apps these days that will determine the ambient temperature in the space around you. This is mostly accurate since it relies on your phone’s advanced technology to help you determine those factors like humidity, air pressure, and more.

It would be considered accurate about 1 degree F one way or the other.  As you start to determine what each temperature feels like to you, you’ll find that our guess is right before you even look at your app. This means that you’ll be able to use yourself as a human thermometer when you enter a new space and use your newfound skills to help you guess the temperature.

What are temperature extremes?

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If you are firm on not using a smartphone to verify it, which is fine, there are specific ways using a humble ice cube that you can use other items to give you a sense of how warm or cold a room is.

  • A hot room: If a room is hot, you’ll find that an ice cube is literally going to melt right in front of your eyes. Think about it this way.  If you put an ice cube in water that is above room temperature, it melts almost immediately.  If it’s room temperature liquid, however, it melts much slower.
  • A cold room: Likewise, if you put an ice cube in cold liquid, it takes much longer to melt. If you put an ice cube out in a room and it doesn’t melt at all, it’s below 32 degrees F — the freezing temperature. However, if it is this cold, it’s a temperature difference you’ll be able to sense by feeling very, very cold in the room.

Conclusion

Learning how to detect the temperature in a room without an actual thermometer is as old as time itself, and it’s a really neat skill to have in case you ever need it for one reason or another.  By paying attention to the things around you, you’ll be able to determine humidity, temperature, and comfort.  While it might be an age-old skill, it’s not one that you hear about much anymore.  Plus, it can be fun to teach yourself what different room temperatures feel like!