A post recommending to use air conditioners above 26 degrees with the fan on is being shared on social media platforms. The post claiming to be from the Ministry of Power cites some health-related and energy conservation reasons for doing so. Through this article let’s fact-check the claim made in the post.
Claim: For optimal utilisation, the Ministry of Power recommended to use air conditioners above 26 degrees Celsius, for energy conservation & health reasons.
Fact: The Central government in consultation with the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) has notified new energy performance standards for Room Air Conditioner according to which all brands and types of star-labelled RACs, which are rated from one star to five stars based on their energy efficiencies shall ensure default setting of temperature in the room air conditioners at 24 degrees Celsius, with effect from January 1, 2020. Further, the BEE has cited energy conservation as the rationale behind this move. However, neither the Ministry nor the BEE has mentioned any of the health issues like hypothermia, arthritis, etc. as a reason behind their move. Hence the claim made in the post is MISLEADING.
Google search with relevant keywords led us to a press release by PIB dated 06 January 2020. As per the article, the central government in consultation with the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) has notified new energy performance standards for Room Air Conditioner (RACs) on 30 October 2019, according to which “All brands and types of star labelled room air conditioners, namely, Multi-Stage Capacity Air Conditioners, Unitary Air Conditioners and Split Air Conditioners which are rated from one star to five star, based on their relative energy efficiencies up to a rated cooling capacity of 10,465 Watts (9,000 kcal/hour) and manufactured, commercially purchased or sold in India, shall ensure default setting of temperature in the room air conditioners at twenty-four degrees Celsius with effect from the 1st January 2020”. This basically means that when we switch on our air conditioner, it will start by default at 24 degrees Celsius default temperature. A Times of India news article which reported the same can be read here. In all likelihood, this central government notification could have been the basis for the viral message in the post.
However, back in 2018, the Bureau of Energy Efficiency has issued guidelines for all commercial and public buildings like airports, hotels, shopping malls, government buildings, etc. to optimize the temperature setting at 24-25 degrees Celsius by setting the air conditioner temperature accordingly. Further, the BEE has cited energy conservation as the rationale behind this move.
As reported by PIB back in 2018, BEE gave a lowdown on their recommendations regarding the setting of air conditioner temperature. However, neither the Ministry nor the BEE has mentioned any of the health issues like hypothermia, arthritis, etc. as a reason behind their move. Also as per the lowdown, India is not the only country to regulate the functioning of air conditioners. According to BEE, ‘Japan introduced a default setting for air conditioners at 28 degrees Celsius. While in the U.S, states like California have enforced limits on lowering the air condition beyond 26 degrees Celsius’.
To sum it up, central government has recommended a default setting of 24 degree celsius for air conditioner’s sold or manufactured in India for energy conservation.