Tech

How to Install a Window AC Unit

Installing a window air conditioner is typically a straightforward DIY process that can quickly transform a muggy room into a much more comfortable space. 

If you have any questions about your specific model — or the window where you’re planning to install it — consider hiring a professional to help. Otherwise, we’ll walk through the basic steps to set up a window air conditioner below. (You can also check out our tips on how to save big on AC costs with a small home upgrade, and the best temperature to set your thermostat to to save money.) 

Read more: Best Window AC Units of 2022

Installing a window air conditioner

To come up with this basic set-up guide, I reviewed the installation instructions from three different window AC units: the LG LW5016, the Toshiba RAC-WK0511CMU and the GE AKLK14. Keep in mind that some details may vary from unit to unit, so always check your user manual before you begin installing a window air conditioner.

For a window AC installation, you’ll need a screwdriver (some guides specify Phillips head, others flathead — and some both), a level, a pencil, a tape measure and scissors. 

Most window AC units come with mounting panels and weatherstripping material in addition to the air conditioner. These accessories help create a seal designed to block the cool air from leaking outside and the hot air from leaking in. 

Step 1: Connect the panels to the air conditioner

Once you have the required tools, unbox the air conditioner, along with all of the accessories and hardware. Next, attach the panels to the AC unit. Side panels that open to a desired size are common. Your unit might also have top and bottom panels. Depending on the unit you have, this may require hardware and a screwdriver. Other panels slide into place without requiring screws. 

Step 2: Seal the window 

Use the included weatherstripping material to create a seal on the window. Typically, this material has an adhesive side for easy installation. Cut the strip to the desired size with scissors and place on the window to restrict air leakage. 

Step 3: Install the air conditioner

Lastly, attach the air conditioner to the window. This step will likely require a screwdriver and hardware to make sure the AC unit is securely connected to the window. Follow the manufacturer guidelines closely here to ensure the air conditioner is positioned correctly. The panels should cover any space that would otherwise be open to the elements; the weatherstripping should create a tight seal between the window and the air conditioner. 

Final thoughts

Before you buy your window air conditioner, make sure you select the right size unit for your room to allow it to function optimally. Once you’ve made your selection and set up your AC unit, there are some other things to consider. In order to ensure your air conditioner lasts as long as possible, make sure to clean it regularly. Also be aware of these signs that your window unit might need a repair.

And, if you aren’t sold on a window air conditioner for your space, consider a portable AC unit instead. They’re more versatile than a window unit because they can travel with you from room to room as needed. 

Read more: Window Air Conditioner Buying Guide: What You Need to Know Before You Buy

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