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

By Chris C., March 7 2016
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.

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Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Mar 2014

Total posts 569

Any cheats for the automatic mini bar? ;)

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

21 Aug 2013

Total posts 139

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!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Oct 2013

Total posts 704

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

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum

07 Feb 2013

Total posts 551

Rookie error

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1379

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.

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.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Oct 2015

Total posts 43

this is the most useful article ever THANKS!!!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 681

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!

24 Apr 2014

Total posts 272

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!

23 Sep 2015

Total posts 47

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. 


Emirates Airlines - Skywards

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 733

This is an oldie but a goodie, Brilliant.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Jan 2018

Total posts 91

Just saw this for a first time. Absolute game changer. Brilliant. Thanks Chris - you’re a credit to your profession.

21 Apr 2018

Total posts 1

Anyone know how to deal with the Daikin aircon at Sheraton hotels? My room is a sauna! I hate having to put up with someone else's limitations on my comfort!


03 May 2013

Total posts 668

This is almost a criminal practice by greedy hotels hiding behind environment, covid etc. The guest is paying for the room and the costs of providing that room. Don’t advertise ‘thermostat’ or ‘individually controlled’ if you’re not going to provide that in full. European hotels are notorious for this. You ask for the technician who attends only to say “ it’s working fine nothing wrong” well knowing it has been centrally set by the hotel. Many thanks for this article. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Aug 2012

Total posts 214

Very useful article. In the age of Covid however, I try to book a hotel where the window can be opened even a little bit, and turn the a/c OFF. Assistance by a staff member to unlock the window may be required. As long as you keep the a/c off the hotel should really have no objection.

I pose this question during the booking process, and if the answer is "not possible" I do not book.  I am very uncomfortable being in a sealed room with only recirculated air, which is asking for one of any number of airborne viruses which may be present from potentially any corner of the globe.

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