Beating the heat in Chubu

Beating the heat in Chubu

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Sue Connolly

Air conditioning in Japan is different from the central-air conditioning heaven in some other countries. However, the room-by-room style of air-conditioning is actually a lot better for the environment, although sensible use of windows and doors is advisable! I once knew an American family who turned their room air-conditioners up to full speed and then opened the windows for the nice breeze! Follow the following advice, and eco-friendly coolness will be yours!

Curtains: Get the thickest curtains possible, especially ones that are sun-blocking (遮光 - shakou). Blocking the heat at its source makes it easier for the air conditioners to do their job, and even if the curtains make your house look dark, having them closed even just when you are not going to be home makes a lot of sense.

Windows: Make the most of the breezes when you get them, but remember to turn the air-conditioning off when the windows are open. Conversely, close all windows and doors when the air-conditioning is turned on. It is much easier to cool or heat a smaller space.

Make use of timer function: Do not leave the air conditioners in your house turned on when you are not home. Make use of timers to turn the air conditioner on half an hour before you come home (remember to close the curtains and close the door to the room) and to turn the air conditioner off a couple of hours after you go to sleep (it is not healthy to sleep with air conditioners on all night, particularly for children).

Know your remote: To make the very best use of your air-conditioner, it is essential that you know your remote control. All those little buttons marked in Japanese letters are there so that you can choose the right function for the right day. When you first start using your remote, make tiny little stickers to put under the remote control buttons so that your whole family can get used to using the different functions.

冷房  reibou cold - this one cools the room on a very hot day
ドライ dorai dry - this dehumidifies the room which also has a cooling effect
除湿  joshitsu dry - exactly the same as "dry"; great for days when the towels won't dry
暖房 danbou hot - don't touch this one in summer! Strictly for winter use!
送風 soufuu fan - this does not alter the air, just moves air around the room.
自動 jidou auto - automatically senses what your room needs
運転 unten working - turns it on and off or in conjunction with....
切替 kirikae switch - 運転切替 switches the functions
タイマー taima timer - either an on, or an off timer
入 iri on - look for this symbol for the "on" timer
切 kiri off - look for this symbol for the "off" timer
おやすみ oyasumi goodnight - this is another word for the "off" timer
風向 kazamuki wind direction
風量 furyou wind speed
ソフト sofuto "soft", this is sometimes called the Eco or エコ function

If there are any other buttons on your air-conditioner you don't understand, ask a Japanese speaking neighbour or friend. It is very difficult to wait for an electrician to come and fix your air-conditioner over the summer when they are so busy. Correct and sparing use of your air-conditioning unit will ensure that you stay cool all summer long!

This article is sponsored by H&R Consultants, the Japan Real Estate and Relocation company.