Why do places in the US (retail, cafés, offices, etc) set their AC at such uncomfortably low levels?

  1. Please remember that all comments must be helpful, relevant, and respectful. All replies must be a genuine effort to answer the question helpfully; joke answers are not allowed. If you see any comments that violate this rule, please hit report.

  2. You can experience this even in your own house. I will often find myself cranking the AC to another 2-3 degrees cooler if I do a bunch of cleaning vs. just sitting around reading or playing video games.

  3. This sounds like the most plausible answer so far. I didn't think retail workers would generate so much heat through the day...but I've never worked those jobs so I wouldn't know different.

  4. A lot of Americans seem to prefer low temperatures from the ac, 65-67 degrees. Probably for the same reason they prefer their drinks ice cold, often with tons of ice in them.

  5. Americans love to fight nature I swear. I have family members who will keep the house 68 in the summer and 73 in the winter. Plus lets me honest; obesity, which I always theorized has been driven by the super cold A/C temps. If you didn't have A/C nobody would be eating huge red meat meals in the middle of the summer.

  6. Common courtesy really. If you’re cold you can put on more clothes, if you’re hot you’re just uncomfortable. So if you like it warmer inside than 67, bring a sweater. Also these are marketing strategies as well- especially in grocery stores. The cold temps trick our brains to buying more food, kind of like how squirrels gather nuts for winter. Our brains want to consume more when it’s colder. I used to work at a well-known grocery store.

  7. I wonder how we'll explain to our grandchildren who are completely fucked over by climate change that our ACs were running so strong that people were wearing sweaters inside.

  8. I don't know the answer to your question but I worked in a hospital and in assisted living and the constant high temperatures were part of the reason why I had to quit working in healthcare. Old people get cold in 90 degree weather and I live in an area with obscenely high humidity. I would sweat buckets and had to bring 3 changes of headbands each shift because they would get sopping wet after a couple hours. I remember a shift that I forgot to bring my headbands and sweat was just pouring off the top of my head into my eyes the entire time. Absolutely miserable time. I'm in the low temperature camp for sure. Being too cold is way better than being too hot.

  9. This is huge. People complain about how cold it is at the bar at 4-5PM on Friday when nobody is there yet, but that is so it is still a reasonable temp inside when 75-100 ppl are there for music bingo a few hours later.

  10. The businesses doors are open pretty much all day long, large amounts of people in these businesses at the same time all generate heat, every single worker in those places is constantly moving in some form or another it also generates Heat. And if any place you're in has ovens, guaranteed the area around them ovens is at least 25 to 30° hotter than you feel it is. All of that combined means they need to keep the thermostat lower than you would think just to try and maintain an average that everybody can live with. Remember you're just a temporary person in this building whereas the workers are in it from anywhere of 8 to 16 hours at a time. I would much rather have them comfortable and me be a little chilly then them be hot, sweaty, and pissed off.

  11. This is a strategy in places that want people to leave when they are done eating. If you have people milling around because it’s comfortable they won’t leave. Make it too cold and it will feel nice when you walk in and eat but after a while it will feel cold and you’ll naturally want to get up and go outside.

  12. Unpopular because it's false lol. It's simply a different culture. Go to Paris and use your nose and you'll know why the US prefers climate-controlled businesses and homes. The US has an obesity problem but in no way does it help fat people as much as you'd think.

  13. The story I heard goes like this: People just sitting at a table and chatting after they finish eating aren't generating income for the restaurant or the waitstaff. So to encourage people to not linger, managers will set the temperature to just outside comfort range. They can't do too warm, because people will notice and complain. So they set the AC to just a bit too cold. You may not complain about it being too cold, but you will decide not to linger. I was assistant manager at a fast food restaurant for 2 years, and that was what my manager told me.

  14. I once heard it was to keep employees more active and friendly. I heard that higher temperatures cause people to slow down from exhaustion and get more easily irritated

  15. Idk if this is an American thing, but I know my family and friends in general prefer it cold indoors. Whenever my family and I go to a hotel (where we don’t have to pay the electric bill) we turn the AC as low as possible, which usually ends up being 60-62° F. It’s heaven

  16. Nah... its hot here in the south. Hot and humid. I want the coldest, driest air when I go in somewhere. I'm hot natured already so if it's the slightest bit uncomfortable to the point where I'm almost sweating or sweating it ain't gonna work for me.

  17. I also want to know this, because I hate that everyone wastes energy air conditioning to far beyond what is required for comfort. I get that the first blast of cool air when you come in from the heat feels nice, but as soon as you've been in there for a while, you shouldn't need a sweater.

  18. Yes yes, blame the consumer and their air conditioning unit set 2-3 degrees below your desired level, not the oil companies and largely unregulated supercorporations. Like blaming the owner of an electric car for using electricity.

  19. If I enter a business and it’s 83.5°F in there, I think what the hell else are they cheaping out on? I don’t want to be in this sweat box.

  20. Trying to strike a balance between keeping the servers (who are running around) comfortable, the customers comfortable, and not having the food get cold whilst the customers are still eating it. Restaurant I worked in would regulate with the ceiling fans and keep the A/C around 72 degrees. If the customer complained it was cold we'd just turn the fan down over their table, or off completely. Was usually pretty comfortable both as a customer and server.

  21. Especially with older buildings with central air added later, the HVAC zones may be really wonky. So the thermostat for the whole floor may be off in a corner near the boss's office on the south side of the building. He's in a suit and the sun's pouring in his beautiful bay windows and he's getting toasty. So he sets the thermostat to 68 for his comfort. By the time it's finally 68 where the thermostat is, the rest of the floor could be like 52 degrees.

  22. I have coworkers who complain it's too hot outside but too cold in the office only to go back outside and complain about the heat.

  23. I hate it. I've had jobs where I literally can't focus I'm so cold. Where I last worked I had to take breaks to go to the bathroom and run my hands under the hand dryer for the warm air. And I was already wearing a jacket and had a blanket wrapped around me.

  24. Never experienced that. If that is the case it could be to get people cycling out of there to make room for more customers?

  25. I keep a light pullover in my car for when I go into stores for this reason. When I'm outside you best believe I'm in shorts and a tank top.

  26. I have theories. People working there are hotter since they're working and not leisurely shopping, so it might be for their comfort (although this seems unlikely. Employee comfort is rarely a priority for a lot of bigger businesses) or it could be cold enough to attract people in from the heat, but also cold enough they don't linger. Some places want a steady flow of customers and not to get backed up.

  27. A/C systems and temperatures are typically designed for both specific airflow/air changes per hour as well as set to accommodate anticipated heat loads from lights, computers etc. What most people forget is also included on that calculation is anticipated BODY HEAT. Often times this is max occupancy, but the actual body count is lower, so it's incorrectly calculated and needs to be adjusted to match the actual demand instead of assumed.

  28. I wish I knew because it drives me NUTS. air conditioners are supposed to keep a place comfortable, not make it *cold*

  29. People have already answered the retail question, but in terms of offices I think it’s largely because men have much fewer professional clothing options than women. You would be hard-pressed to find an American office where men can have their legs or shoulders/upper arms uncovered.

  30. Everyone is different. I love it, especially compared to the equivalent of no AC whatsoever in most of western Europe.

  31. I'm always astounded when I go to someone's home in the summer and it's 75F+ in their home. Listen if you want me sweating on your furniture that's up to you I guess. But I'm literally going to be wiping sweat from my brow every few minutes at that temperature.

  32. Partially, it's probably comfortable for the employees, who are physically active, potentially near machinery that is hot, or stuck in parts of the building that have poor circulation compared to the aisles that customers are in.

  33. It's easier to put on a light sweater or something if you are cold than it is to strip naked and rub yourself with ice if you are too hot

  34. One of the reasons is due to in the past men wore three piece suits in the office and were expected to always wear their coat. This still has not changed everywhere today as men are still expected to wear long sleeves at the very least and many times still wear a sport coat because it's "professional".

  35. It's because in a lot of places temperature control assumes everyone is wearing formal male business attire, including suit jacket. This is often in spite of neither employees or customers wearing such attire. Some of it may be institutional inertia ("this is what we've always set the temperature at") or because someone saw a study once about ideal workplace temperatures that they didn't realize assumed everyone was both male and wearing several layers of clothing under a jacket.

  36. Two things, someone mentioned the worker is moving, lifting, carrying stuff, and expending energy. The other thing is, there temperature is set cooler than normal so as the room fills with people, they give off a good deal of heat, offsetting the cooler setting in the beginning. Later, there might be people complaining it's too hot later.

  37. And why the heating is soo high, I spent some time in the US earlier this year for work and everywhere I went the heating was super high compared to what I'm used to hahahaha

  38. No idea. Lived here my whole life and I hate it. I also have worked in those buildings, both retail / service work and office work. It's too cold. I hate it.

  39. People who are not physically fit have trouble regulating their body temperature. People with a lot of body fat hold the heat in more and maintain a higher body temperature

  40. Most places have busy and slow periods, and if you set it comfortably for when the place is empty, it will struggle to catch up with the heat generated by a full crowd when it is busy and everyone will be overheated. If you set it to be comfortable when it is full/busy, it will be uncomfortably cold when it is slow/empty. Simple economics would dictate that you optimize it for when it is busy since making a lot of customer uncomfortable will cost you more lost sales than making fewer customers unhappy.

  41. Me when I murder my coworkers for shutting the windows and cranking the AC on the first nice day it hits 80. Of course I’m also not obese.

  42. When I worked a red one I would start work at 8 AM. I thought it uncomfortably cold at that time I was told they did have the ability. Maybe the store manager. Not sure I asked. So it was at a level for later in the day when bodyheat and the sun would heat it up. Not sure how old their system was. I assume the one it was built with. This was maybe 10 years ago. That shit is fancy these days. Also, not sure if that shit would be accessible also from the roof and don't want some potentially hung over 21 year old climbing up there and potentially messing with your expensive units multiple times a day

  43. I know, right? Was in a Mc Donald’s in Oregon. The girls behind the counter were wearing mid-weight winter jackets. Seems their sensor is under a heat source

  44. I don’t care if hell freezes over, if I have a AC unit that shit will be at a constant 65°F (or 18.33°C for the oddballs). I hate the heat with a burning passion. I don’t give a crap if everyone freezes to death, keep it at 65°F.

  45. I remember going on holiday to Dubai once, and it drove me mad that it was like 35C outside (95F, this was in November) but I had to carry a jacket around with me everywhere because whenever we went inside it was bloody freezing!

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