Read Your Chinese AC’s Remote Control
Problem: Chengdu in late autumn was delivering an ice-bath of still air as a group of friends sat in a room that was even colder than outside. Prognosis: the air-conditioner was set to COOL. Upon closer inspection, no one in the room could read the Chinese buttons on the AC remote, which further confused them on the thermostat readings. If you have any worry that this might happen to you, the following information will be of use to you.
Air Conditioner Remote Vocabulary
Remote control – 遥控器 – yáo kòng qì
Automatic – 自动 – zì dòng
Cool – 制冷 – zhì lěng
Dehumidifier – 抽湿 – chōu shī
Heat – 制热 – zhì rè
Fan Wind – 送风 – sòng fēng
High Wind Speed – 高风 – gāo fēng
Mid Wind Speed – 中风 – zhōng fēng
Low Wind Speed – 低风 – dī fēng
Set – 调整 – tiáo zhěng
Mode – 模式 – mó shì
On / Off – 开／关 – kāi/guān
Wind Speed – 风速 – fēng sù
Wind up/down – 上下风 – shàng xià fēng
Economy – 经济 – jīng jì
Time Set – 定时 – dìng shí
Blowing Direction – 风向 – fēng xiàng
Sweeping Wind – 扫风 – săo fēng
Cleaning – 清新 – qīng xīn
Display – 数显 – shù xiăn
Strength – 强劲 – qiáng jìn
Sleep – 睡眠 – shuì miăn
Lighting – 灯光 – dēng guāng
Cancel – 取消 – qŭ xiāo
Power Source – 电源 – diàn yuán
A note on how thermostats work: you press the up or down button on your remote to choose the desired temperature. If your air conditioner is set to heat mode, it will continue blowing hot air at the wind speed you chose until the room reaches your goal temperature. We found 23 degrees Celsius to be perfectly comfortable for our small room, so we hit up on the remote until the number on the screen read 23. But then the number jumped back down to read 10, telling us what temperature the room currently was. Minutes later it will read 11 and then 12. After the display climbs on past 20 through 21, 22 and finally 23, get ready – the thermostat automatically turns the machine off, waiting for a reading below 23 degrees. With the machine off, heat begins escaping from the room and the room cools down again. Magically, the thermostat in the AC machine detects this and automatically resumes operation. The process repeats to keep us at a perfect 23 degrees.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen somebody say, “Why is it still cold in here?” and then turn their AC all the way up as high as it can go (up to 30 degrees). This doesn’t make the machine work harder. You’ll have to wait for the AC to do it’s job or turn up the wind speed. Equally inefficient is turning the machine off when the room is too hot because no one ever remembers to turn it back on until the room is too cold again. In this case the best option is to examine the number on the units display, telling you what temperature the too-hot-room currently is, and then set the thermostat for one degree lower. The machine turns itself off, and you can go about your TV watching or conversation as it automatically adjusts to keep you comfortable.
You may notice that your Chinese friends become critical when you shed jackets and sweaters indoors as the temperature rises, citing that because the outside temperature is low you’ll get sick even if your immediate room is warm. Unfortunately, your AC remote will have no effect on them and you’ll have to address the problem verbally.
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