How To Choose A Window Air Conditioner – When the warm weather hits, we all need a little relief. Unfortunately, many older homes and apartments do not have central air, which means window AC units are absolutely necessary. But these devices can be heavy, and the idea of hanging an expensive device from a window can be daunting. With this guide on how to install a window AC unit, you’ll be cooling off in no time.
You will need a few things to properly install a window AC unit. Most DIYers will already have these:
How To Choose A Window Air Conditioner
It can also be useful to have an assistant for larger AC units as they can be heavy. One person can hold the unit while the other lowers the window to lock it in place.
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If you’re reusing an older AC unit, it’s a good idea to clean it first. Start by removing the air filter from the front of the unit and wash it with soap and warm water.
While the filter is drying, use a cleaning agent with a brush to remove dust, dirt and pet hair from the unit. Also check inside the vents and between the wings. The inside of the AC unit also catches debris from the outside, so try to blow the debris away with compressed air if possible. This manual contains detailed instructions.
Older homes may not be good candidates for window AC units. This is especially true if the tiles are not in good condition or if the slabs are not as structurally sound as they were. A window AC unit can cause more damage, and damaged windows can prevent the installer from securing it in place.
Before attempting to install a window AC unit, make sure it fits. If the AC unit is new, check the specifications on the box to make sure it is the right size for your window. If the air conditioner is used, measure the unit itself as well as how far the side panels extend and compare the measurements to the window opening.
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Also understand that window AC units have different outputs, called BTUs. Different BTU values can cool different sized rooms. The best resource is the manufacturer, but here’s a quick, rough guide:
Window AC units are designed to work on double or single hung windows. Frames and sliding windows will complicate matters and require additional hardware. Make sure there is an electrical outlet near the window you choose, or purchase an AC extension cord.
The first step in installing a window AC unit is to prepare the window. Remove any material from the window frame, open the window fully (from the bottom) and remove the screen. It is also a good idea to place the stool or bench near the window so that there is a place close to you where the AC unit can rest without resting on the floor.
Some alarm sensors can interfere, so be sure to evaluate yours. Temporary removal may be appropriate.
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Window AC units usually come in boxes with styrofoam bottoms. Place the box on the stool so you are not working on the ground. Cut the cardboard along the dotted line to remove the box and reveal the AC unit.
Behind the window there will be aluminum windows in the AC unit and they are sharp. They also crush easily, reducing the efficiency of the AC unit. Make sure yours doesn’t get crushed and be careful when removing the device from the box.
Install the expandable side panels and corresponding brackets according to the instructions. This usually requires a screwdriver. If you are using a drill, reduce the torque so as not to lose the AC housing.
With the brackets attached, face the front of the window AC unit and lift it from the left and right sides. Air machines can be heavy, so be sure to lift with your legs as much as possible to avoid back injuries.
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All window AC units have some type of bracket on the underside. This is often the bracket that the expandable side panels slide into. This bracket should sit on the outside of the bottom edge of the window. The top of the unit also has a bracket and must be inside the window.
With these points in mind, pick up the air conditioner and place it on the window. Hold the unit steady with one hand while lowering the window frame with the other. If you have a helper, ask them to take the page down for you. Make sure the back of the top bracket rests against the bottom of the window before releasing the AC unit.
Make sure the device is fixed in the window. Put a spirit level on top to make sure it is level from side to side, as well as sloping back so the water runs out and not in.
With the AC unit properly installed in the window, the side panels extend until they completely block the openings on both sides. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for attaching the side panels. This will involve either placing brackets into the window frame or driving screws through holes in the panels and into the frame.
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The device is mostly fixed at this point, but manufacturers usually include brackets to secure it.
Your installation kit will almost certainly include at least one L-shaped bracket. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure it is installed correctly. Installation usually means placing the bracket over the bottom sheet and securing it to the top sheet with a screw. This locks the AC unit in place and prevents it from falling out of the window.
All that’s left is to plug the AC unit into an outlet and turn it on. Don’t worry if it takes a few minutes to make cool air. AC condensers often need a few minutes of work before they start up and pump refrigerant through the lines.
By installing a window AC unit, you will be able to take advantage of cooler and more comfortable temperatures when the weather is wild. Sit back, enjoy a cold drink and enjoy the cool air pumping from your new air conditioner.
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Get the latest in this Old House news, trusted tips, tricks and DIY Smarts projects from our experts – straight to your inbox. Casement windows are a great addition to any home, especially in kitchens and bathrooms. However, for rooms that do not have traditional windows, cooling them with a standard window air conditioner can be a challenge.
Casement windows are side-hung windows that open outwards via a crank. Compared to most other windows, a casement window can be opened all the way. This makes them a popular choice for spaces that require higher ventilation, such as kitchens and bathrooms.
By opening out vertically, casement windows naturally create a flap that captures more air and directs airflow into the room. You can even control the amount of gas by changing the angle of the window.
Since mullioned windows do not have frames in the middle of the glass, they look better and provide a clear view to the outside. This also lets in more light, similar to panoramic windows. Unlike panoramic windows, however, sash windows have the advantage that they can be opened.
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Compared to casement windows, casement windows have stronger seals. Because they lock in multiple places on the frame, they are lighter, reducing air gaps or heat leakage.
Some areas are difficult to reach, such as the area above kitchen sinks or tall shower cubicles. Casement windows are a convenient option in such rooms thanks to their frame.
Traditional window air conditioners are rectangular in shape with more width than height. While some offer box gaskets for installing louvered windows, they are still unsuitable for louvered windows as they leave a large vertical gap.
Case window ACs have a narrower shape. They are made to fit vertically hung windows that are at least 20 inches tall. They can also be supplied with pre-cut window inserts to suit most window designs.
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Window ACs can easily be confused with other types of window AC units. Here are the differences:
The difference between the two is that portable ACs usually sit on the floor. They can either be vented (requiring an exhaust pipe to the window) or open, which is less efficient but does not require windows to vent the exhaust.
The advantage of portable ACs is that they allow the box window to remain unobstructed. They are also expensive and cheaper to install. However, portable ACs take up floor space, especially vented models that require a duct and must be placed closer to the window.
All AC windows are less than 15″ wide. However, you must consider the crank window installation tool, which can add an extra inch to the overall width.
How To Install A Window Air Conditioner
Manufacturers usually specify a minimum window width on the specification sheet. The industry standard is 15 ½” minimum window width. Make sure AC is the specified minimum
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