Should You Take Out Your Window-Mounted A/C For The Winter Or Leave It In?

Here's a question that many homeowners who rely on window-mounted air conditioners face as the winter months close in: "Should I leave my A/C unit in or take it out this winter?" The following looks at some of the factors that could influence your decision. In addition, you'll also get tips on how to handle your window-mounted A/C system whether you decide to remove it or let it stay in place throughout the winter.

Factors to Consider

When making a choice between removing your window-mounted A/C unit and leaving it in for the winter, keep in mind that there are several important questions you should ask yourself beforehand:

  • How heavy is it? Most window-mounted units weigh between 40 and 70 pounds, with some units approaching 80 pounds or more. For many people, lifting something that heavy out of a window can be more trouble than it's worth.
  • Is it permanently installed? Some units are designed to be permanently installed, making it nearly impossible to remove without extensive work. If your unit is designed for temporary placement, then it pays to remove it when you're done with it for the winter.
  • Will it be worth taking it out? In some cases, leaving your A/C unit in place could also leave gaps that allow warm air to escape and small critters to sneak in during the winter. If removing your A/C unit gives your windows a better seal against heat loss and pest intrusion, then it may be worth taking your unit out for the winter.

If You're Leaving It In...

If you decide to leave your window-mounted A/C unit in place for the winter, you'll need to make sure it's ready to handle everything the season throws at it. Before you do anything else, however, you'll need to unplug the A/C unit from its wall outlet or shut off its circuit from the circuit breaker panel. This way, you won't accidentally turn your unit during prepwork.

The next step involves replacing your A/C unit's air filter with a fresh filter. While your air filter is out, you'll also have a good opportunity to clean any and all leaves or other debris that's stuck inside the A/C unit. If your unit uses a reusable air filter, make sure it's thoroughly cleaned with mild dish detergent and dried before reinstalling it into the unit.

To protect your window-mounted A/C unit against snow and debris accumulation and to prevent drafts from coming through the unit, you may want to cover it up with a specially designed window A/C cover. A solid cover offers maximum protection, but it may also allow moisture to collect inside, potentially leading to rust and corrosion issues. A breathable mesh design allows air to pass through while blocking debris, preventing moisture from accumulating inside the unit.

If You're Taking It Out...

Taking your window-mounted A/C unit out for the winter has its benefits - not only does it offer the most protection for your A/C unit, but it also lets you keep your windows sealed to prevent heat loss throughout the winter. For the removal process, you need to follow the instructions provided by your A/C manufacturer. It's also a good idea to have a partner on hand when removing your A/C unit, since some units may be too cumbersome to remove alone.

Once you have your A/C unit out of the window, it's a good idea to clean it out before bringing it inside. You should also wash or change the air filter prior to storage. When storing your A/C unit inside your home, make sure the storage area isn't humid enough to cause rust or corrosion issues for your unit. As a preventative measure, be sure to use silica gel packets to help absorb any lingering moisture within the A/C unit during storage.

It's also important to store your window-mounted A/C system right side up instead of laying it on its side. Doing the latter could cause it's lubricating oil to drain out of the A/C compressor, which could cause major issues the next time your A/C system is turned on. For more information, contact companies like A-1 American Services.