How to override the temperature setting on a window air conditioner

You can override the temperature settings on your window air conditioner by connecting an external thermostat or by jumpstarting the compressor.

Your air conditioner relies on a series of sensors that monitor the temperature of the air in order to measure how cold or warm the room is.

However, you can override the temperature controls of your air conditioner to make the compressor work for longer and to get the space to a colder temperature. To do this, you need an external thermostat to jumpstart the compressor.

How does an air conditioner control the temperature of your space?

Part of what makes modern air conditioners so convenient and effective to use is that you can select the exact, desired temperature that you want your space to be.

The air conditioner then uses its internal return temperature sensor to send signals to the compressor and fan motors to keep working until the incoming air has reached this desired temperature.

Once the incoming air is as cold as it needs to be, your air conditioner will switch off its compressor until the temperature sensor or the thermostat senses that the temperature of the air in the space is getting too warm again.

At this point, the whole process repeats itself and this is how your air conditioner continually controls the temperature of your space.

How to override the temperature setting on window air conditioner

Even though this process does make your air conditioner so easy to use, most window air conditioners’ default temperature settings will only allow the unit to cool down the room to a minimum of about 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

This can be a problem if you live in a colder area where the temperature falls beneath 60 degrees and you still want to use your air conditioner.

This can also be a problem if you need your air conditioner to cool your space to a temperature below this in order to safely store food or other supplies in it.

This is why many window air conditioner owners and other DIY-experts have devised a clever plan to override this temperature setting on window air conditioners, so that you can have the compressor on your unit working for a longer time to get your space colder than the default minimum temperature.

Some of the easiest ways to do this by yourself includes the following:

  • The easiest method is installing an external thermostat in the unit to control the compressor
  • A more complicated method to do this includes effectively jumpstarting the compressor of your window air conditioner by disconnecting the thermostat

Whichever method you choose to use, it is crucial that you remember that operating your air conditioner in a way that it was not designed to operate can have negative consequences. On top of that, overriding the temperature setting could cause your unit to freeze over.

Installing an external thermostat to override the temperature settings

The simplest way to override the temperature control of your window air conditioner is to install an external thermostat, which is sometimes referred to as a temperature controller.

External temperature controllers like this Inkbird ITC-308 Digital Temperature Controller, which is available on Amazon for $35.00, essentially replace the internal temperature sensor of your air conditioner.

This means that you can simply plug in this machine and its connected temperature sensor and use it to control the temperature, and as a result, the amount that the compressor within your air conditioner will work.

Jumpstarting the compressor to override the temperature settings

This method is slightly more complicated than the external thermostat method, because you have to remove the control board of your window air conditioner with a screwdriver in order to access the wires that lead to the unit’s compressor and thermostat.

It is vital to remember that your air conditioner must always be unplugged when you are removing any service panels or working with its electrical components.

When you have access to the back of the control board, you will be able to disconnect the jumper wire that runs from the main control portion to the thermostat and plug the compressor wire into the empty slot on the main switch.

Why overriding the temperature settings can make your window air conditioner freeze over

In addition to the internal temperature sensors that send signals to the compressor to turn your air conditioner on and off to maintain the desired temperature, your unit may also have an internal freeze protection sensor.

When you disconnect the thermostat, these anti-freeze sensors also do not work and will not be able to warn you when the evaporator coils that are connected to the compressor become too cold. This may cause them to freeze, which will cause your air conditioner to short-cycle.

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