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How to Use an Air Conditioner in Japan

air conditioner

It is one of the difficult things for foreigners to use Japanese electrical appliances. The instruction manuals are often written in Japanese, and many people may feel it difficult to use them.

Even so, many people will need to use air conditioning to weather the heat of summer and the cold of winter. Therefore, this time we will explain in detail the general usage of air conditioners to foreigners.

Remote Controller Terms

When operating the air conditioner, you will use the attached remote control. This time, as an example, we will introduce terms by using the remote controller of the Mitsubishi room air conditioner Kirigamine (MSZ-CV2519), so please refer to it.

air conditioner control
冷房COOL mode
除湿DRY mode
暖房HEAT mode
切 / 入On / Off
運転切換Switching operation mode
除湿調整Dehumidification control
タイマー切換Timer switching
時間すすむSet timer forward
時間もどるSet timer back
風速Wind(Fan) speed
風向Wind(Airflow) direction
電流切換Electric current switching

The wording may differ slightly depending on the manufacturer, but other air conditioners have similar functions.

Some buttons are not used for normal cooling and heating, so it is not necessary to remember all of them. You only have to remember the features you need.

Basic Functions

air conditioner

Here are the basic features of an air conditioner that you may usually use.

Switching of the Operation Mode

Pressing the “switching operation mode” button switches the cooling, dehumidifying, and heating modes. By using COOL mode in the summer, HEAT mode in the winter, and DRY mode when the humidity is a concern, you can always make the room a comfortable environment.

Once the mode is selected, it stays in the same until you press the button again. It remains the same even if you stop the operation of the air conditioner with the On / Off button.

Temperature Adjustment

The temperature button allows you to adjust the set temperature for cooling and heating. Many air conditioners have a set range of about 16 to 30 °C.

The recommended temperature is 28 ℃ for cooling and 20 ℃ for heating, in consideration of the electricity rate and the environment. However, of course, you can adjust it as you like according to the room temperature at that time.

Fan Speed and Airflow Direction

By pressing the “Wind(Fan) speed” and “Wind(Airflow) direction” buttons, you can adjust the speed and direction of the air coming out of the air conditioner. Use these buttons if you feel the wind weak, or if you get chilled by a direct cold wind.

Also, you can increase the wind speed all at once by pressing the “Powerful” button. Other air conditioners may have a phrase like “high power,” but the functions are almost the same.

Other Functions

air conditioner

Let’s also look at other functions installed in a standard air conditioner.

Timer Function

By setting a timer, you can adjust the temperature of the room, before you go back home, or stop operating after going to bed.

In the case of the air conditioner this time, it is possible to switch in the order of OFF timer, ON timer, and CANCEL each time you press the “timer switching” button. Some models have separate buttons for the OFF timer and ON timer.

For your information, the OFF timer is a “turn off at the set time” function, and the ON timer is a “turn on at the set time” function.

After turning on the timer, set the desired time with the “Set timer forward” and “Set timer back” buttons.

Dehumidification Control

You can set the dehumidification strength for DRY mode by pressing the “dehumidification control” button. The dehumidifying operation also has the effect of slightly lowering the room temperature.

Self-cleaning Function

If you use an air conditioner to cool or dehumidify, the inside may become moist and lead to mold formation. The self-cleaning function is a function to suppress mold and odor by drying the inside of the air conditioner.

If you press the “Self-cleaning” button to set, the air conditioner will dry its inside of the machine automatically when you stop the operation of the air conditioner. You can cancel it with the same button.

Please note that the temperature of the room may slightly rise because it is dried by blowing air or weak heating. Also, since it is not a function to clean the filter, you should clean it yourself when the dirt is collected.

Electric Current Switching

You can use this function to switch the air conditioner to a mode that consumes less current when it cuts off the breaker.

You basically do not need this function, but if you need to operate the air conditioner at the same time as other home appliances and the breaker cuts off the power, consider using it.

Please note that if you reduce the current used, cooling and heating may become weak.

Reset Settings

You can restore the settings at the time of purchase by pressing the reset button with a thin object (such as a ballpoint pen). Be sure to press the reset button when you replace the batteries in the remote control.


We have explained the function of the air conditioner and how to use the remote control, taking a general model as an example. There are various functions, but within the range of normal use, it suffices to know only how to switch between heating and cooling and how to control the temperature.

If you live in a rental apartment with air conditioning, it is a good idea to ask the real estate agent or the landlord how to use it when you move in.

Make good use of the air conditioner to get a comfortable life!