How to Turn On Your Office Air (Even if the Thermostat Is Locked)

The battle over the office air conditioner is serious business.

In one corner you have those who are constantly cold — they want the air turned as high as possible and even then they seem to cover up with blankets and jackets.

The other end of the spectrum are those who constantly run hot. No matter how low the air conditioner is turned, they just can’t seem to be cool enough. These folks often have fans on their desk and run all day, every day.

Truth is, there’s no perfect temperature for an office. Sit near a window and you might be blazing hot as the sun beats down outside. Sit under a vent and you’ll be ice cold. It’s why there seems to be a constant battle over control of the thermostat.

Office scene

In fact, the battles can be so back and forth that many offices go to the step of putting a lock box over the thermostat. This way, you can’t turn the air off and on. It simply runs on a set schedule.

But what if you absolutely need to turn the air on… even if the thermostat is locked up? There’s a sneaky way to trick the thermostat into thinking it’s hotter than it actually is and then turning on the air to compensate…

How to Turn on the Air in a Locked Thermostat

While they seem complex, thermostats are pretty simple. They simply take the temperature of the surrounding air as a sample of what the temperature is everywhere. So if it’s 72 degrees as the thermostat, but 76 degrees by a sunny window, the thermostat thinks it’s 72 degree everywhere. Only when the temperature climbs above where the thermostat is located does the air actually turn on.

In other words, if you can raise the temperature at the thermostat, then you can “trick” it into thinking it’s hotter than it actually is and turning on the air. And you can do this even if the thermostat if locked in a box.

So how do you do that? The trick is to use something to heat up the area around the thermostat. For example, taking a microwaved heating pad and putting it next to the thermostat for a couple of minutes should be enough to raise the air temperature to the point where the air conditioner will kick on.

And if you are one of those people that is cold and needs the air to turn off, you can do the same trick in reverse. Taking a Ziploc bag of ice and putting next to the thermostat will cool the surrounding air to drop the temperature enough to turn the air conditioner off.

Unfortunately, there are some things to consider before you pull this trick.

First, it’s hard to do something like this in a busy office without being caught. It will take a few minutes for the air to change the temp on the thermostat enough to turn the air on or off.

Second, unless everyone in the office is hot and wants the air on, it’s likely that you’re going to make a few enemies messing with the temperature.

(Remember, office air conditioning is serious business.)

But if you are in a pinch and simply have to turn the air on (or off), then this trick should help you do exactly that.


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