Hotel room too hot or too cold? Hack the air conditioning controller!

Hotel room too hot or too cold? Hack the air conditioning controller!

TRAVEL TIP | Ever tried to make your hotel room warmer or cooler, only to find that the air conditioner will scroll up or down by only a few degrees – or, worse, is locked in place?

Blame the hotel, not the aircon. Many hotels, especially larger chains, deliberately restrict the range of the thermostat so that it's easier to manage air conditioning for the entire building and in turn lower their electricity bill.

But you don't need to sit there shivering or sweating.

Most hotel air conditioning control units have a secret program mode which with a few deft keystrokes lets you over-ride such limits and make your room as cool or as warm as you like.

Honeywell Incomm thermostat

Frequently appearing in Hyatt and Starwood hotels across the globe, Honeywell’s simplistic Incomm thermostats have an easily-activated ‘VIP mode’ which overrides the usual temperature limits.

Press and hold the ‘display’ key, then tap ‘off/auto’, ‘up’ and then release the ‘display’ key. Your room will now be in VIP mode for the next 72 hours…

… which not only unlocks a broader range of temperatures but also deactivates the system’s motion sensor: keeping your room at your chosen temperature while sleeping or ducking out for a brief moment, allowing you to wake up or return to a perfectly chilled or heated room.

Trane thermostat

Often found in Accor hotels, the digital Trane thermostat is more complex but almost begs to be tweaked. Start by holding down the central button labelled ‘override’…

… then once you see ‘PswrdSet 0’, keep pressing the ‘override’ key until you see ‘cool min’ – or ‘heat max’ as the conditions warrant…

… and use the arrow keys to adjust the temperature downward or upward:

Once you’re happy, leave the buttons alone for a moment and the system exits back to the main screen where you can select your newly-unlocked temperature – but note that it won’t automatically change back to the original setting, so you might consider reverting this before check-out.

Lonix thermostat

Also used globally is the Lonix thermostat, which looks just like this:

You’ll get to the secret menu by simultaneously depressing the up and down keys…

… then tap either directional key until you see ‘CH-C’:

Press ‘M’ (second from the left), and you can again tweak the lowest available temperature:

In this instance, the hotel was either generous or we’d been beaten to the punch by a previous guest, as setting changes on this type of thermostat are also retained until manually adjusted again.

It should go without saying, but all other settings on hotel thermostats should be left untouched: tinkering with options you’re unfamiliar with has the potential to damage or disable the system, which you’ll have a hard time explaining to hotel management or your travel/liability insurer.

More travel tips from the AusBT team:

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10 Comments

  • riley

    riley

    7 Mar, 2016 11:53 am

    Any cheats for the automatic mini bar? ;)

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  • Nathan Luke Jordan

    nathanjordan

    7 Mar, 2016 03:54 pm

    OMG I nearly had a coronary just over a week ago at the W New York when I merely picked several items up to look at them, then put them back, followed by an eye-opening read of the mini-bar 'menu' to realize that it was automatically billed! An urgent call to 'whatever, whenever' resolved that, however!

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  • henrus

    henrus

    7 Mar, 2016 05:14 pm

    Move the Hangover comes to mind with a simple glass of water doing the trick.

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  • Doubleplatinum

    Doubleplatinum

    7 Mar, 2016 07:58 pm

    Rookie error

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  • moa999

    moa999

    7 Mar, 2016 04:55 pm

    Sadly i think there are many more models than just these three - indeed I don't recognise any of them.

    I find most US hotels are set way too cold for my liking, but normally OK elsewhere.

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  • paperysomething

    paperysomething

    7 Mar, 2016 09:05 pm

    Sitting at Hyatt Canberra and looked up to see the thermostat is indeed a "Honeywell Incomm". Tried the instructions, and the lowest temperature is now 15.5 degrees (from 18.5).

    Don't think I'll need it that cold though.

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  • Anthony Thompson

    triumph8

    9 Mar, 2016 04:59 pm

    this is the most useful article ever THANKS!!!

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  • kimshep

    kimshep

    11 Mar, 2016 08:18 pm

    Got to agree - and also one of the most 'unexpected'.

    Thanks Chris - I've stored this on my tablet for future reference and use. Indeed, a clever article!

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  • lind26

    lind26

    18 Mar, 2016 11:07 pm

    I agree. I find the Chinese hotels are really bad for limiting Air Con minimum temperature. I find I get dehydrated and a headache from the heat!

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  • petercr

    petercr

    9 Mar, 2016 05:30 pm

    As someone who works in the HVAC industry and has to provide technical support, DON'T play with the room thermostat. Setting the temperature much lower isn't going to make the room get colder or warmer any quicker no matter how much you poke around. 

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Guest

27 Mar, 2017 12:02 am

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