Published on August 1st, 2019 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Why is it called ‘Climate Control’ and not ‘Temperature Control’?

We explain the difference that has gone un-noticed for years

There is a very good reason why we get our wife to be part of every new vehicle test drive we do in Malaysia. Women see things differently than men and they can be a little anal about features in a modern car.

Here is one example. In a recent luxury car test drive. My wife debated this issue with me. Why is the air-conditioning system in the car called ‘climate control and not temperature control?

We had to check on this and here is the result of our research.

Today, all modern cars come with air conditioning as standard. You may think climate control is the same thing, but it is not!

The two systems work in different ways and there is a price difference between them as a result (air conditioning is cheaper than climate control). Here below is the difference explained.

Air condition system

Air conditioning cools air and allows the inside of the car to be colder than the outside. This is why cars with air conditioning are so welcome when the sun blazes and when the humidity rises after the sun sets.

To get the maximum blast of air conditioned flow, press the air con button (usually depicted by a snowflake-like symbol) and turn the temperature dial to ‘C’ or the blue zone of its range. If you want it warmer, turn it towards ‘H’ or the red zone: this gradually mixes in warmer air with the air conditioned system.

Climate control system

Think of this as a ‘smart air conditioner’. Climate control still cools the air in the heat and humidity, but does so intelligently. You set a specific temperature on the dial (say, 22 degrees) and a computer uses sensors to vary the air conditioning output to maintain this.

No matter if it is +33 degrees or -4 degrees outside, the interior of your car will always be kept at the temperature you set. It does this by smartly blending cold and warm air, constantly adjusting the balance to maintain an interior climate.

Climate control also often offers ‘dual zone’ control: the passenger can set a different temperature zone to the driver. Really expensive cars have multi-zone control, so those in the back can create their own temperature cocoon too.

For this reason, climate control is more expensive than standard air conditioning system. It requires sensors, digital displays and complicated algorithms to juggle fan speed, temperature flow and air con usage.

There is an added benefit to climate control though, it has the potential to save you money. Because it only uses the air conditioning when needed, it may consume less power than standard air conditioning system which simply runs unchecked all the time producing cold air in the cabin.

The Debate Ends

So, now we know the difference and you also have the information handy the next time someone asks you this question. More importantly, you learn when someone asks a question and this expands our understanding of all things automotive.

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