Clera Windows + Doors Blog

How to Install a Window Air Conditioner

Installing a window air conditioner is one of the best ways to beat the heat during warmer seasons. Window air conditioning units (ACUs) are the most common type found in households across the world. This type of ACU has maintained its popularity even with the availability of other kinds of ACUs like central air conditioners, ductless mini splits, dual fuel air conditioners, and portable air conditioners. This is because window air conditioners offer plenty of benefits, such as:

  • They are less expensive and typically more energy-efficient.
  • They are compact and ideal for small houses with minimal wall space.
  • They can be packed away for storage when wintertime starts.
  • They are a perfect fit for supplemental cooling, which is a cost-effective alternative to centralized air conditioning.
  • Some window type ACUs also have a heating feature.
  • Window air conditioner installation is relatively quick and easy.

If you are looking to learn how to install a window air conditioner, you’re in the right place! In this blog, we talk about proper window air conditioner installation. We will also cover a few preparatory steps like choosing the right window ACU and finding the best spot to install it.

Let’s dive right in!

Side view of a window air conditioner installed into a fixed window

Step 1: Choosing a Window-Mounted Air Conditioning Unit

1. Consider the Different Cooling Capacities of Window Air Conditioners

The cooling capacity of many air conditioners is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs.) The higher the BTU of a window air conditioner, the more powerful it is. 

The BTU of an air conditioner should match the room size where the unit will be placed. Some manufacturers will include a recommended square footage along with their air conditioning units. However, as a rule of thumb, for every square foot of living space that is to be cooled by the ACU, you would need 20 BTU. To cross-check, you can also use a BTU calculator or an air conditioning BTU chart.

2. Factor In the Energy Efficiency of Your Air Conditioner

Look for the energy efficiency ratio (EER) of the ACU that you are going to buy. The EER is derived by dividing the BTU rating by the unit’s wattage. Therefore, the higher the EER of an air conditioning unit, the less you would need to spend on hydro. 

3. Get Your Window Measurements

Take the measurements of the width and the height of the opening of your window where the ACU will be installed. When you’re out shopping for window air conditioning units, compare the dimension of the unit against the measurements of the opening to make sure that it will fit. Don’t forget to include the tilt of the unit when taking measurements.

Step 2: Determine the Location for Window Air Conditioner Installation

These are two main factors to consider when deciding where to install your window air conditioner. 

  • Pick a window that’s nearest to an electrical outlet – avoid using an extension cord to make this work. Instead, seek the help of a professional electrician if the outlet source distance is an issue.
  • Make sure there is no clutter or any obstructions near the spot for the window air conditioning unit – both inside and outside – as it can affect the ACU’s cooling performance.

Step 3: Make Sure You Have Windows Suited for Air Conditioner Installation

Not all window types are ideal candidates to house window-mounted air conditioners.

Most window air conditioning units are specially designed to fit into double-hung windows, which have a fixed upper pane and a bottom pane that opens. However, some units can also be mounted on sliding windows or on casement windows. Manufacturers will typically indicate what type of windows their ACUs can be installed on. 

Note – For rooms with windows that have no opening mechanism, the air conditioning units can be mounted on the walls instead. However, this is not advisable to do if you are renting because you would need to bore an opening into the wall which can be against your leasing contract with your landlord. In such cases, it’s best to always check first.

Step 4: Get A/C Brackets if Needed

Properly-installed window air conditioners are usually able to sit securely in place without the need for additional support from an A/C bracket. However, heavier units that weigh around or more than 100 pounds would require additional support. Commonly, A/C brackets are sold separately from the air-conditioning unit.

A window air-conditioning unit that has A/C brackets

Can You Install Window Air Conditioning Unit By Yourself?

Installing a window air conditioner without professional help is possible. The majority of commercial air conditioning units currently available in the market are now made to be user-friendly every step of the way. 

How to Install a Window Air Conditioner In a Sliding Window or Hung Window

Follow along these expert tips when installing air conditioning units in your double-hung or sliding windows.

  1. Equip yourself with the proper tools and ensure that you have read through the user manual of your air-conditioning unit to take note of any special instructions from the manufacturer. 
  2. Lift or slide the sash of your window where you plan to install your air conditioner. You may also want to clean your window and/or window frame before proceeding with the window air conditioner installation. 
  3. Sometimes weather strips are provided by the manufacturer of the ACUs. Apply these strips to protect your window frames from direct contact with your window air conditioning unit. These will stop the A/C from scratching or warping the surface of your window frame.

Note – Do this regardless if your window frame is made out of wood, vinyl, or plastic. An extra benefit from this proactive step is to ensure that there’s no gap where cold air from the inside can escape. It’s also an effective strategy to keep insects out.

  1. If A/C brackets are needed for your air conditioning unit, make sure to install these first as per the bracket manufacturer’s installation instructions.
  2. Next, position the air conditioner on the center of the window sill.
  3. Some manufacturers include top and bottom mounting rails along with accordion-style side panels. Securely attach these components as per your manufacturer’s instructions. 
  4. Plug and turn the power on to check if the air conditioner is running smoothly.

What to Avoid with Window Air Conditioner Installation

  1. AVOID installing a window air conditioner all by yourself. Ask a friend or a housemate to help you. Despite their portable quality, window-type A/Cs can still be heavy for a single person to lift. The worst-case scenario would be dropping it from your apartment building’s window and endangering the people below. You can also injure yourself or damage your window frames if you accidentally drop your air conditioner because of its weight.
  2. NEVER install your air conditioner in an egress window. These large windows offer an alternative fire exit for the residents of your home. If you install an ACU on an egress window, you will not only violate fire safety codes but also put you and your family at risk.
  3. DON’T skip the manual. Sometimes doing DIY installations can pose the temptation to simply wing it. However, you would really need to read your ACU user manual to know more about the manufacturer’s specific guidelines for window air conditioner installation.

Energy-Efficient Windows for Any Type of A/C Unit

In this article, we have covered the steps on how to install a window air conditioner, however, we can’t emphasize enough that the success of any window air conditioner installation relies on having the right type of window. 

Clera Windows + Doors offers stylish, energy-efficient, and durable windows suited for air conditioner installation. Our ENERGY STAR Certified, multi-pane windows with Low-E coating will help keep your room cool during the summer and assist in blocking outside noise. 

Because we use 100% uPVC for our window frames, these sturdy modern windows are also maintenance-free. For more details and to request a free home estimate, please contact us today!

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