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How to Install a Window AC Unit

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Window air conditioning units are a popular and versatile solution to combating the heat of summer. They can be used as supplements to central AC units, when you want to save energy and only cool certain portions of your home. They are also great for homes without central air, since they are fairly inexpensive, energy efficient, and can be taken with you when you move.

The idea of installing your own window AC unit can be intimidating if you’ve never done it before, but the process isn’t a complicated one. Here’s what you need to know to install a window air conditioner in your home.

Set-Up Checklist

Before you install a window air conditioning unit in your home, there are several things you’ll want to check.

Are window AC units allowed?

Some areas have restrictions on window AC units. If you live in a single family home, check with your HOA before installing a window air conditioning unit. Other dwelling types that prohibit window AC units for aesthetic or safety reasons can include apartments, townhomes, condos, and office or commercial buildings. Be sure that you understand any restrictions about window AC units in your home before installing one.

Do you have the proper set-up?

Not every window is a good candidate for a window AC unit. You’ll need to find a window that meets several requirements.

  • Window AC units require a double-hung window with a fixed upper pane and sliding lower pane. Other window types won’t safely work with a window AC unit.
  • You’ll need a three-prong outlet near the window. Note: Never use an extension cord for a window air conditioning unit. It can present a serious safety hazard, as well as void the appliance’s warranty.
  • The area inside and outside the window where the AC is positioned should be free from all obstructions within 2 feet of the unit.
  • Ideally, a window air conditioner should be placed in a shady or partially shaded window. Being in direct sunlight reduces the energy efficiency of the unit.

Do you have the right size AC unit?

There are two measurements you’ll need when choosing a window AC unit: the size of the window opening and the size of the room. Air conditioning units are rated to cool a certain amount of space, so you’ll need to ensure you consider both measurements when purchasing your window air conditioning unit.

Do you have someone to help you?

Window AC units can weigh upwards of 100 pounds, and trying to hold it and secure it at the same time can be very dangerous. Be sure you have someone to help you with the install so one person can steady the unit while the other secures it in place.

Installation Process

The process for installing a window AC unit is fairly straightforward and will be the same across most types of units. However, you should always check the owner’s manual provided with your appliance to ensure you understand any specific requirements for your unit and that you’re following all of the recommended safety practices for your specific unit.

Step 1: Prepare the Window

To start, you’ll want to open the window and mark the center of the opening. Next, wipe the opening to clear any dirt, dust, and debris from the inside of the window. If your window air conditioning unit doesn’t include weather stripping (not all of them do), install it now.

Step 2: Assembly

With most units, the side panels will need to be attached before the unit is installed. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and secure all screws tightly. By using all the screws provided, you will ensure there aren’t any gaps that could allow warm air to pass through and reduce the efficiency of the AC unit.

Step 3: Install

Now you’re ready to install the AC unit in the window. Remember: It’s best to have two people for this step of the process. Insert the air conditioning unit into the opening and center it on the mark you made in step one. Tightly close the window on the AC unit by sliding the bottom of the window into the slot on the top of the air conditioner. Most AC units require the unit to be slightly tilted toward the outside so the condensation doesn’t leak inside, but instead flows to the drip pan on the outside. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for the specifics on the angle required for your unit to operate properly. 

After the unit is securely in place, you’ll want to keep pressure on the window while you install the L-brackets. The L-bracket keeps the open window secured in place so it doesn’t raise up and release the pressure on the AC unit. This ensures the air conditioner remains securely in place and can’t slip out the window.

After securing the L-brackets, you’ll slide the side panels toward the window frame on either side of the AC unit and secure them to the sides of the window to create a complete seal around the air conditioner. 

Some manufacturers include additional braces or more weather stripping, etc with window AC units. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s manual to see if your specific unit requires any additional installation steps.

Now your window AC unit is properly installed and you can begin enjoying cooler indoor temperatures immediately. 

Maintenance

Window air conditioners require only minimal maintenance to continue operating properly. You’ll need to clean the filter regularly to ensure the unit operates at maximum efficiency. You’ll also want to check the drip pan inside the unit and clean out any standing water from time-to-time to ensure proper drainage and eliminate any possible mold growth. 

Are you struggling to achieve and maintain comfortable temperatures in your home? Call the experts at Hiller for a complete review of your home’s HVAC system. They can help you understand any problem with your current setup and recommend the best solution to get your home’s HVAC functioning at its best and keep your family comfortable inside your home, regardless of the temperatures outside.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Martin Gautron

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