Universal Air Conditioner Remote Control: How Does It Work & How To Set It Up?

If your air conditioner is controlled by a remote, you’ve probably experienced the inconvenience of a broken or lost remote. When purchasing a new manufacturer remote is not an option, you may need to use a universal air conditioner remote control instead.

In this post, I’ll explain what a universal air conditioning remote is, how it works, its benefits and drawbacks, and how to use it.

Not many people have a clue about this gadget, and this post will provide almost everything you need to know. 

What is a universal air con remote & how does it work?

The universal air conditioner remote, as the name implies, is an electrical device that can control the air conditioner of various brands.

Typically, each air conditioner model has its own remote code. When you set the universal remote to the code that your AC unit has, it will begin to control your AC.

The universal air conditioner remote chip stores the codes from various AC models. When the code is correctly entered, it can send commands to your AC via IR signals or other technologies, and your AC will function as you expect.

Benefits of using a universal AC remote

While getting a remote from the manufacturer of your air conditioner is still your best bet, a universal unit has some advantages that you will appreciate.

  1. You can use it to control different air conditioner units in your house. If you have multiple conditioners from different brands at home. You can control all of them with a single universal AC remote.
  2. Universal air conditioner remotes usually have a lower price tag. If you are on a tight budget or are prone to misplacing small electronics, a universal remote may be a better option. Remotes can occasionally malfunction, and you can fix them by resetting them. If it doesn’t work, buying a new one is far preferable to hiring a professional to repair it.
  3. Easy to operate. Usually, it only takes a few seconds to set it up. You can get the hang of it very soon, even if you are not tech-savvy.

Drawbacks of using a universal AC remote

drawbacks of universal ac remote
  1. You may not be able to use every feature of your AC through a universal remote. The universal remote only contains the most common modes and features. Some features, like turbo or sleep mode, can’t be activated through it.
  2. It can’t last as long as the original AC remote. As previously stated, these units are inexpensive. As a result, it is made of lower-quality materials. However, there may be higher-quality options available on the market.

How to set up a universal air conditioner remote?

If you are unfamiliar with universal remotes, you may be unsure how to use them. Fortunately, they are very simple to use. The three methods listed below should work for the majority of models on the market. Aside from that, detailed information is frequently available in your product manual.

Method 1:  Program your universal AC remote control through the shortcut keys

To make things easier, some universal remote controls, depending on the brand, allow you to set it up by pressing a specific shortcut key.

For example, by pressing the “temp” button on this K-1028E remote, I can connect it to my Midea air conditioner. I should hold it until my AC emits a sound signal and begins to work.

Shortcut keys will differ between brands. However, if your AC brand is well-known, you should be able to locate the shortcut keys.

Method 2: Set up your AC remote by manually inputting the code

universal ac remote code

You can find the remote code of your AC mode in the manual or by searching online. Once you find the code, you can program the remote by manually selecting the code. 

By pressing the set button for three seconds, the code will begin to flicker in the display. Then, using the up and down buttons, adjust the code until your AC’s code appears.

At this point, your air conditioner will be turned on and the remote will be successfully connected to it.

Method 3: Set up your universal AC remote automatically

set up universal ac remote

This feature is ideal for those who dislike fiddling with buttons. Simply press and hold the “set” button, and the remote will begin to search for your AC by changing the code automatically.

When the code matches your device, the device will boot up and the setup will be complete.

These three methods may not work for every universal air conditioner remote, but at least one or two should.

Alternatives to universal AC remotes

Universal AC remotes can still get lost. If you want to refrain from this problem, you can use other replacements, thanks to the advancement of technology.

Control your AC through Apps

If your AC is smart, then why not use the APP to control your AC? It will eliminate your need to use a remote. Just take some minutes to install it and get familiar with it, you will like the way to control your AC via your phone.

Control your AC by installing a smart AC controller

If your AC is not a smart AC, there is a workaround. You can install a smart AC controller and connect it to your AC. In this way, you can still control your AC through the APPs and even make your AC more intelligent. 

Turn on and off your AC without a remote

If you need to use the AC right away, press the power button on the AC indoor unit. This button is frequently found beneath the cladding of the AC filter plate or behind the flap.

It is, however, difficult to access, and we do not recommend doing so on a regular basis.


When you can’t find your AC remote, consider purchasing a universal remote. It is inexpensive, simple to use, and can control multiple brands of air conditioners.

Meanwhile, it’s simple to set up. You only need to enter the remote code and press one or two buttons.

Some advanced features, however, cannot be accessed via a universal AC remote. Installing a smart AC controller or utilizing the APP could be a better solution.

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Liz Yang is the founder of Airsmartly. She has been working at home for a few years and realizes that the performance of the HVAC system plays such an important role in our life. She has tested a lot of products in person, like humidifiers, air purifiers, dehumidifiers, and ACs, and wants to share tips about using or troubleshooting these products with you. Her uncle is an HVAC expert with over 30 years of experience in the field, and often offers assistance when she is unsure how to handle a situation. He is also in charge of reviewing the articles on this site.