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Air Conditioning MisBehavior

As an airline pilot, I learned everything there was to know about air-conditioning. Even professionals, however, tend to misbehave when it comes to managing air-conditioning systems. For example, let’s say the A/C system has been off for quite some time and it’s sweltering hot inside. Most everyone knows how to turn on the air conditioning system… but here is where the misbehavior may set in.


Let’s say the desired room temperature is 26 degrees centigrade, and if that were the case, what temperature would you set on the control? Like most people, you would probably set the control to full cold in an attempt to make the room cool faster. However, you might just be misbehaving! The air-conditioning purist might say the correct technique is to set the control at your desired temperature — and let the air conditioner do what it is supposed to do! That being: operate at full cold until the set temperature is achieved. Stating this in a different way: since the air-conditioner is designed to work at full-cold until the desired temperature is achieved — there is no need to set the control below the target temperature in an attempt to make the air conditioner work harder than designed.


To illustrate this point further: once an air conditioner is turned on, people typically loose track of the end goal. They get involved in other things and get distracted while the air conditioner faithfully keeps working to reach the temperature set on the control. But again, what happens if the temperature was set at full-cold which is typically 16 degrees centigrade or lower. When this happens, the room temperature generally gets too cold — and it needs to be warmed up again. Making matters worse is people opening all doors and windows to temporarily get some fresh air circulation, then go outside for some fun in the sun. This occurs quite often when people are on vacation and there are more important things on their minds than the electric bill.

So, what have we learned? When we enter a room where the air conditioner has been turned off for quite some time, and all windows and doors have been closed, what is the best technique for getting the desired room temperature? Do we turn on the A/C and set the temperature to full-cold, then adjust the temperature upwards when the desired temperature is reached? Or, do we set the desired temperature in the beginning and let the air conditioner do what it designed to do? It’s your decision, but smart money favors the latter

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