How to Set a Timer on an Air Conditioner

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Updated May 17, 2023

If you are new to the world of indoor cooling, you may wonder how to set a timer on an air conditioner. Some of the best air conditioners, after all, include handy timers in one form or another. In fact, setting a timer on your air conditioner will save energy. Press the timer button on the remote or control panel and set the start and stop times. Press the button again to activate it. The air conditioner will turn on and off according to the schedule you set, even when you’re not home. Remember to adjust it as needed.


  • Some modern air conditioners include an integrated timer for setting when the AC turns on or off.
  • These newer models typically integrate with a smartphone app, tablet app, or AC remote for setting daily or weekly schedules.
  • You can also purchase and install a dedicated AC controller, which provides traditional AC units with certain smart features, including an air conditioner timer.

AC Timer Setting Know-How

Using a timer with an AC provides multiple benefits, similar to when learning how to set the thermostat. You’ll be able to set the AC so that it automatically turns off at certain times throughout the day, to save energy, or have the unit pumping out cold air as you arrive home from work.

It’s better than leaving the air conditioner on when you’re not home, as that wastes more energy. But, another option is to control your A/C from your mobile, that way you can merely turn on your central air conditioner right from your phone no matter where you are.

Insider Tip

Check your remote for a timer button, as even many older AC models include a timer function of some kind.

How to Set a Timer on an Air Conditioner

This process depends on what type of AC you are using and if it features an integrated timer. In other words, there are multiple methods here to suit different use case scenarios, like when learning how to size a ductless mini-split air conditioner. Here are some of the most common methods.

Integrated Timer

Some AC models include integrated timers on the unit itself. For these AC units, simply access the instructions to learn about operating the timer. Then, use the air conditioner’s front-facing control panel or the packed-in remote control to access the timer function and set it to meet your needs. Most of these integrated timers allow for setting when the unit turns on, turns off, and even sets a daily or weekly schedule. If you want a physical remote control that comes with the unit, consider checking out our Koldfront PAC1402W Portable Air Conditioner review.

Smartphone and Tablet Apps

Many modern AC units include smart features with integrated apps that are accessible via smartphone or tablet. These smart AC units almost always include a timer, so consult the instructions for specific information and download and install the related smartphone app. The features should be fairly robust with multiple options.

Dedicated AC Controllers

There are some devices out there that essentially turn a traditional AC into a smart AC, complete with timer functionality. These gadgets typically connect to the AC unit’s power cable before being plugged into the wall. They all work differently, so consult the instructions to learn how to use one to set the timer. Though operating differently, they tend to all include options for setting a timer to turn the AC on or off and set a schedule.


Why do you need an AC timer?

AC timers allow users to set a handy sleep mode and various other timer operations and operating modes. This sleep mode is especially handy for scheduling.

How do you know if the time has been set?

Once you engage the timer button on the remote control it should be set, but methods differ as to ensuring a sleep mode has been set correctly.

AC remote not working?

If the timer button, timer function, sleep button, or any other part of your remote control isn’t working, first check the batteries before troubleshooting other repair methods.

STAT: Air conditioning dates back to prehistory. Ancient Egyptian buildings used a wide variety of passive air-conditioning techniques.[4] These became widespread from the Iberian Peninsula through North Africa, the Middle East, and Northern India. (source)

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