Just wondering if there are any hacks to control/alter the thermostat of central/ducted cooling units in my office? The cooling unit keeps throwing cold air all day long and by end of day I am totally frozen. :D


  • 3
    You simply need to make a formal health and safety complaint. The system is injurious to your health, they are legally obliged to fix it. It worked for me. That isn't a lifehack.
    – Chenmunka
    May 8, 2019 at 16:25
  • 2
    Welcome to Lifehacks. We hope you enjoy sharing your knowledge and experience here. You contact OSHA at 1-800-321-6742. You can request that they keep you anonymous.
    – Stan
    May 10, 2019 at 11:35
  • Involving OSHA and legal, while legitimate options, are not Lifehacks.
    – Ian W
    Aug 10, 2019 at 10:56
  • 1
    Have you checked that there aren't others who prefer the temperature it's set at, or would even want it colder? Sometimes, one person's igloo is another's sauna. Also, it's a lot easier to insulate than to cool oneself, so keeping the temperature a little on the low side allows more people to be at a preferred temperature more easily.
    – Lawrence
    Aug 10, 2019 at 12:51
  • 1
    This specific issue has shown time and time again to be a male-female issue. Males prefer cooler buildings and since they wield the power, the females freeze. Search the problem on OSHA sites. In this case OSHA is the "lifehack." It's another case of smoke 'em if you got 'em.
    – Stan
    Aug 11, 2019 at 18:05

3 Answers 3


The cooling system is there for the general benefit of all the people you share an office space with; shutting it off, reducing the flow, or altering the temperature of the flow will cause your work peers more discomfort

I recommend that you (request to) move your desk, or (request to) fit something to the outlet that will diffuse the airflow/send it sideways along the wall/ceiling rather than putting you in a draft

If none of these are options, coming dressed suitably, or bringing clothes (or a huge, wide-brimmed hat, like a sombrero - sufficient to shade you from the draft?) with you that you can wear to help you withstand the cooling effect of the airflow could be an option, as could requesting a transfer to another department or leaving your job as a last resort. Employers ought to have a duty of care to their employees, including providing an environment that is a sensible and comfortable working temperature for the type of work being undertaken.

Talking to your boss should be the first step here though

  • 2
    Yep. Wear a coat and hat. When your boss asks why...
    – Zeiss Ikon
    May 8, 2019 at 15:41
  • The "dressing the part" might "brand" the OP as some sort of crazy character for wearing non-business attire. It should be investigated by some informed third part unrelated to management.
    – Stan
    Aug 11, 2019 at 18:09

Is it one specific area or the whole office? If whole office, you are at the whim of your colleagues, boss or HR.

If localized ...

The office thermostats are often thought of as placebo devices or "broken". But in our large open office (5000+ sq ft floor plate), they had 1 thermostat per damper, each zone covering about 400 sq. ft.

Having one thermostat set slightly (-1-2°) different to the rest meant one continuously tried hard to cool (never getting to the set point) while the surrounding ones negligibly warmed or worked normally.

Setting them all the same temp solved it! Better if you can also calibrate the displayed temp on each against a portable thermometer. HVAC pros can also balance for areas getting direct sun, etc.

Blocking vents or directing airflow can make things worse!


In engineering offices where I've been a guest, this was usually solved with cardboard and duct tape, to divert the cold air flow away from the poor soul sitting next to the vents.

  • Some engineer should have pointed out that's not a real solution and may do more overall harm than good.
    – Ian W
    Aug 13, 2019 at 2:23
  • Being engineers, we know the difference between blocking a vent and a setup that diverts the cold air. Breaking up a cold spot and spreading the cold air around is an improvement.
    – Hobbes
    Aug 13, 2019 at 6:48

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