5 Tips for Installing Your New Window AC Unit
There’s nothing worse than having to sit in your home in broiling temperatures. When you find yourself roasting alive in your living room, a new window AC unit can make a life-changing difference. Not requiring any major renovations or additions, installing one can dramatically improve your quality of life when the outdoor temperatures rise into the 80s, 90s, or even 100s. Even though they’re much easier to install than a central air system, there is still a bit of finesse required. Here are a few pointers that will help you upgrade your indoor climate.
1. Double-Check You’re Allowed to Install It
Before you install your new window AC unit—maybe even before you buy it—be sure that you’re allowed to install one at all. For people who live in and own a single-family home, this probably won’t be an issue. When you’re both the owner and the resident, the highest authority on home renovations is you.
If you have an HOA or rent out an apartment in a complex, things might get more difficult. Some HOAs have rules prohibiting the installation of window AC units, and if you’re a renter, your landlord might not appreciate you making an addition without their permission. If you’re not certain, it’s worth the time to make sure you have permission to add a new window AC unit to your home. Otherwise, you may end up with one that you can’t even use.
2. Recruit Another Pair of Hands
Installing a new window AC unit may not be as strenuous or dangerous as knocking down a wall and renovating your home itself, but it’s still wise to have an extra person on hand to help you with the installation. After all, a window AC unit can weigh up to 100 pounds. Anytime you’re working with something that heavy, you’re going to need someone to spot you. With someone else’s help, you’ll be able to lift the unit into place and ensure it is properly positioned. Take it from the professionals at Entek, having help is a must.
3. Make Sure You’re Choosing the Right Window
While it’s easier to install a new window AC unit than a central system, it’s still not as simple as just popping it in any old window and calling it a day. Not only will the specifications of the unit determine how useful it is in your home, but choosing the right window is paramount to its efficacy.
Before you attempt installation, take a look at the window you intend to place the unit in. Is there access to power nearby? Most window AC units have power cords that plug into your standard household three-prong plugs, so you’ll need to make sure that there’s an available outlet the unit can be plugged into. If your outlets are older and only accept two-prong plugs, you’ll need a converter.
What about the construction of the window itself? Can it even support an AC unit? Most are designed for double-hung windows, with one fixed pane above and one that slides up and down below. If your window of choice opens differently, such as swinging outward, it may not be possible for you to secure it. If your first choice doesn’t meet all the criteria to support a new window AC unit, try to assess your windows to see if another might be a better fit.
4. Measure the Room and the Window
As the old saying goes, any good carpenter should measure twice and cut once. While we can’t encourage you sawing into your windowsill, we do heartily endorse taking accurate measurements. Obviously, it’s important to measure the size of your window. This helps you figure out the size of the window AC unit you can buy, in addition to determining where exactly in the window you are going to place it. You’re not done once you’ve measured the window size, though.
You’ll also need to determine the square footage of the room you’re trying to cool. It may not occur to everyone buying a new window AC unit, but knowing the size of the room is crucial to effectively managing its temperature. When looking at different AC units, pay attention to the square footage that they’re intended for.
Choosing the right level of power will ensure your new window AC unit will operate at its maximum efficiency, consuming just enough energy to cool the room to your ideal temperature. If it’s too weak, it will have to run continuously in an uphill battle against the heat. If it’s too strong, it will have to constantly switch on and off. With the dimensions of your room, you’ll be able to buy a new window AC unit perfectly suited for the space.
5. Secure, Secure, Secure!
Once you have the right unit and some help, you’re ready to get your new window AC unit in the window and start cooling away. But before you turn it on, you need to secure it in place. You won’t need to worry too much about how to do that, as most window AC units come with the necessary supports in the box.
First, start by screwing the top and bottom mounting rails into place. These give the unit a place to slot into, making it a snugger fit within the window. Next, attach the side panels on the right- and left-hand sides of the window. These will form a seal between the sides of your window and the AC unit, closing off any gaps that are left from the open window.
Once you have a nice home prepared for the unit, you and your assistant can carefully fix it within the rails. This may be enough to secure some AC units, but ones that weigh 100 pounds or more are going to need additional support brackets to keep them safe. Usually, these are sold separately, so try to determine whether your new window AC unit needs them before heading home to install it.
A new window AC unit can take a room from miserably hot to pleasantly cool, all without the added hassle of major home renovations. If you still have questions about what model to purchase or are feeling a bit shaky about the prospect of installing it yourself, feel free to get in touch with Entek. We’re always happy to help guide you through any and all of your HVAC needs.