The most crucial air conditioning etiquette rules to use AC sustainably. The proper practices to limit air conditioning footprint and bills.

What air conditioning etiquette is

Today, sustainability has a crucial role in our modern social etiquette. On many occasions, behaviors that can harm the environment are no longer accepted.

Air conditioning etiquette is the set of rules to properly cool our homes while limiting our consumption of electricity. Such rules help us avoid behaviors that may lead to waste and have a negative environmental impact. They include:

  • How to save on air conditioning by limiting our personal consumption.
  • The appropriate behaviors at home and in other venues.
  • The behaviors to avoid.

Everyone should follow air conditioning etiquette to save electricity, limit negative environmental impact, save money on electricity bills, and avoid behaviors that may upset others.

rules to save on air conditioning and limit energy footprint

Air conditioning etiquette rules

1) Turn the air conditioning off

Keep the air conditioning off whenever possible. When no one is at home, you should switch the air conditioning off. If the outside temperature allows it, increase the air conditioning temperature or switch it off completely.

2) Set the right air conditioning temperature

Optimize the use of air conditioning. Never set it to extremely low temperatures. Air conditioning is made to bring relatively small, incremental improvements compared to the normal temperature. 

The air conditioning temperature should be between 20°C (68°F) and 24°C (75°F). Cooler values consume more electricity. The colder the air conditioning temperature, the higher the consumption of electricity and the bills.

Furthermore, a too-cold temperature not only has a negative environmental footprint but can also pose threats to our health. A large difference between inside and outside temperatures can lead to headaches, dehydration, lethargy, skin conditions, and respiratory problems.

3) Lower the air conditioning power at night

At night, the outside temperature normally falls. Thus, there is a limited need for air conditioning. Furthermore, a too-cold temperature and cold air can make us sick while we sleep. Thus, during the night, it is best to lower the power of the air conditioning. The temperature should not be lower than 22°C (72°F).

4) Use shades and curtains to prevent sunlight

During the day, keep the curtains closed to prevent the sunlight from heating up the inside of your house.

5) Insulate windows and keep doors closed

When the air conditioning is on, keep the windows closed. Otherwise, the warm air from the outside will come in and your house will disperse cool air and heat up. This will make it harder to control the inside temperature and consume electricity unnecessarily.

At any time, it is best to keep doors shut. It is easier to cool down the temperature in single rooms separately rather than in the house as a whole. Keeping doors closed limits air circulation and the dispersion of cool air.

Furthermore, you can insulate your windows and doors to avoid dispersing cool air. Removing the carpet from the floor helps keep the house cooler.

6) Wear light clothes

Before turning the air conditioning on, make sure that you are appropriately dressed for the season.

Air conditioning consumes significant electricity. Thus, it increases our environmental footprint and pollutes. It is perfectly appropriate to use air conditioning to cool our houses down and get some comfort. However, by wearing comfortable and light clothes we can keep our bodies cool and reduce the need for air conditioning.

Apply the appropriate air conditioning etiquette to each place

Air conditioning etiquette with your guests

When you have guests, it is not appropriate to excessively use or limit air conditioning in your house. Instead, make sure that your house has a comfortable temperature in every room. Temperatures below 20°C (68°F) may be too cold for many people. Temperatures over 24°C (75°F) may be too warm, especially on formal occasions when your guests may respect a formal dress code.

Air conditioning etiquette at someone else’s house

When you are at someone else’s house, respect the same rules that you follow at home. Avoid comments on the temperature, as you risk embarrassing your hosts. If the temperature is excessively warm, you can ask to open a window for a couple of minutes. Alternatively, try to find a cooler spot in the room. If the house is too cold, it is perfectly acceptable to wear additional clothing, such as a light sweater. If the temperature is very uncomfortable, you can politely ask your hosts to adjust it.

Air conditioning at work or in the office

The temperature in the workplace should be set to a level that is comfortable for all coworkers. If the office is too cold, it is acceptable to wear additional clothes inside. Some of your coworkers may prefer a cold room temperature, as they respect a formal dress code or because are sensitive to heat. Thus, it is preferable to wear additional clothes before you ask for a warmer temperature.

At any time, it is best to avoid excessively cold temperatures, as they can pose health risks and affect concentration and productivity.

Air conditioning in hotels, bed & breakfasts, and hostels

Some hotels, bed & breakfast, or hostels ask guests to help them save electricity by limiting the room air conditioning. If this is not an inconvenience to you, it is the best etiquette to comply with such recommendations. In any case, do not change your good habits.

air conditioning worst mistakes

Air conditioning etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. Read more about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the worst air conditioning etiquette mistakes. 

  • 9/10. Wasting electricity by dispersing cool air.
  • 8/10. Keeping air conditioning on when it is not needed.
  • 7/10. Setting a too-low air conditioning temperature.
  • 7/10. Not wearing lighter clothes.