Should It Stay Or Should It Go? Dealing With Your Window-Mounted A/C Unit

Although the vast majority of today's homes rely on central air conditioning systems, there are plenty of homes that depend on window-mounted units for everyday cooling. If you won't be using your window-mounted A/C unit for the rest of the year, you may be wondering if you should take it down and put it away or leave it in place. Before you make any decision about your window mounted A/C unit, you might want to ask yourself a few important questions.

How Heavy is Your A/C Unit?

Window-mounted A/C systems may be compact, but they're not exactly lightweight. You can expect the typical A/C unit to weigh upwards of 200 pounds or more, depending on the overall size and design of the unit. So it's no wonder that removing your A/C unit could give you a bit of an unexpected workout.

There's no shame in leaving your window-mounted A/C in place if you're not able to lift it or you just don't want to deal with the dangers involved in lifting something that heavy. If you are bent on removing your A/C unit, you may want to make it a two-man job just to be safe.

Do You Have Suitable Storage Space?

The last thing you'd want to do after removing your window-mounted A/C unit is leave it on the ground where pests and the elements can take a toll on its condition. Instead, you'll want to have a dry, sheltered storage area prepared for your A/C unit. In most cases, you can simply store your A/C unit in your attic or basement, provided that indoor humidity levels in those areas are kept under control.

When storing your A/C unit, you may want to put it back in the box it originally came in. It's also a good idea to toss in a few packs of silica gel to absorb lingering moisture. Temperatures inside your storage area should also be kept in check to prevent the likelihood of condensation damaging your A/C unit.

Are You Concerned About Air Gaps?

Preparing your home for colder weather involves locating and sealing up as many cracks and gaps as possible. However, leaving your window-mounted A/C unit in place could create one of the largest gaps in your home's insulation envelope, giving warm air an unexpected avenue for escape.

Carefully sealing and insulating the area immediately surrounding your A/C unit can help mitigate heat loss to an extent. However, completely removing your A/C unit and shutting your window may provide the most effective way of eliminating air gaps in your home.

Your window-mounted A/C unit could also be a possible path for insects and other pests to infiltrate your home, so you may want to remove your unit if this is a serious issue for your home during the fall and winter.

Is It Designed for Permanent Installation?

Keep in mind that some window-mounted A/C units are actually designed with permanent installation in mind. These units often feature brackets and supports that are meant to be permanently attached to the A/C unit as well as the window, creating a very stable but also hard-to-remove installation.

You're usually better off keeping these units under wraps. There are plenty of custom-designed covers available that protect the outer half from leaves and debris, as well as indoor covers that help block cold air and intruding pests. You'll want to make sure that your A/C cover features a breathable mesh design that prevents condensation from forming inside of the unit.

Whether you leave your window-mounted A/C unit in place or take it out for storage, you should make it a priority to change or clean its air filter. Doing so will help prevent mold from taking over your unit as it sits dormant throughout the fall and winter.