Informational Guide

Is It OK To Leave AC In The Window During Winter?

Winter rain, snow and sleet can cause havoc around the home. Learn what to do with your window AC during the winter months.

by Josh M

Winter is already here, and while it’s more of a necessity instead of a luxury in any home during summer, you may not need it in winter. Even though statistics show that about three-quarters of US homes have central air conditioners, there are millions of homes that rely on window ACs to keep their homes cool too. So, is it okay to leave the air conditioner in the window during winter?

This article will help you answer this question. Also, you’ll learn how to store your window AC during winter to ensure it’s in the best condition to serve your home next summer.

A Street During Winter

Frozen Window Type Air ConditionerDuring winter, it’s advisable to remove your window air conditioner and store it well. This protects it from freezing temperatures, snow, wind, and rain, damaging the AC.

For example, water from the snow, ice, and rain damages your AC’s electrics. Ice and snow might freeze up the coils inside your air conditioner. While you can fix this next summer, these frozen coils will likely cause permanent damage.

In addition, the freezing temperatures can cause the lubricant to thicken. This can damage your air conditioner.

It’s worth mentioning that leaving your window AC outside uninsulated is not suitable for your heating efficiency and energy bills. It’ll act as a cold spot in your home, resulting in increased energy consumption.

Also, don’t leave this handy home equipment in place once the temperatures hit below 60F. It’s better to unmount and store it properly and seal the window completely.

2 Options For Your Window AC During Winter Season

You have a choice to make come winter concerning your window AC. You either have to remove it from the window or insulate it while still there. Below is a detailed explanation of how to go about these two options.

Option 1: Remove Air Conditioner In The Window

The first and best option that protects your AC from weather elements during winter is to remove it and store it properly until next summer. However, you have to be careful as you do it to ensure you don’t damage any component or injure anyone.

Follow these steps:

  1. The first step is to unplug the AC before removing it.
  2. Beneath the window, lay some towel or large cloth on the floor: This will absorb any water that might leak from your AC, especially if you’ve been using it recently.
  3. Unmount your AC unit from the window. But not by yourself. Get an extra hand. One person can lift the AC from the window while the other holds the window open. Tilt the AC back away from you once it’s free from the window grips to allow it to drain any water that might be inside. Ensure you’re in closed-toe shoes and gripped gloves.
  4. Take your AC outside to clean it: However, don’t hose it down. Instead, clean it in a tub. Don’t worry about spraying your unit with water as it’ll not damage any electric parts.
  5. Remove your AC unit filter and clean it: Ensure to rinse it thoroughly and allow it to dry as you clean other parts of the AC.
  6. Clean the water pan and condenser coils using warm soapy water.
  7. Clean the exterior of your air conditioner: You can use a moist rag, microfiber cloth, or sponge to wipe the exterior of your unit. Use a brush or rag while spraying the spot with a hose to help remove stubborn dirt.
Option 2: Insulate Your Air Conditioner In The Window

AC Cover for WinterIf the AC is mounted high, it’s better to insulate it. The good news is that you don’t need any special equipment for this work. All you need is window air conditioner covers for winter.

Ensure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding winter storage. If the suggestion is to cover the air conditioner outside, ensure you do it carefully.

Don’t leave any water trapped in the AC because it may lead to mold growth.

Follow these steps:

  1. Use a plastic bag or winterizing cover to weatherize it, and on top, cover the AC with a heavy fabric cover to protect it from harsh weather elements.
  2. Insulate the gaps between the window and the AC unit. Just ensure you seal all edges such that no ice, cold air, snow, or rain can push in.

How To Store Your Window AC After Removal

Window AC in WinterStore your air conditioner in an upright position, inside a box in a cool, dry room. Preferably, use the packaging box you bought your unit in. This ensures that oil remains settled and evenly distributed. Storing it on its back or side can damage the compressor.

Pack the AC unit tightly and neatly to keep off dust, insects, and bugs. In addition, avoid storing the unit in your garage. But if you have no choice, place it on a raised platform.

If you must store your AC outside, the best option is to buy a specially designed cover, available at hardware stores. This will protect the machine and ensure its durability.

Other tips for storing your AC include:

  • Keep the unit away from other objects. You don’t want them falling on it and potentially causing damage to the AC unit.
  • Position it in a corner with lower traffic to avoid impact or damage to your AC unit.

People Also Ask (FAQ)

How long can you store a window air conditioner?

You can store your window AC unit as long as winter lasts. Only mount or uncover the unit once it’s spring, and you need to use it once again to cool your home.

Can window air conditioners be stored in a shed?

Storing your air conditioner outside in a shed is not advisable. Air conditioners are warm weather machines. This means weather elements can badly damage them during winter. Instead of storing it in a shed, take the AC to a warm, dry place such as your storage room, attic, basement, or utility closet.

Should you run your AC in the winter season?

Not really. If you live where winter weather conditions are incredibly harsh, running your AC might damage it. Water from rain can damage the unit’s electrics, and freezing temperatures can potentially freeze up the AC unit’s lubricant. It’s better to remove your AC unit and store it properly, until next summer.

Conclusion

A window air conditioner is a handy tool, and it’s not until summer is here that you realize how essential it can be. It’s an expensive item. So during winter, remove it and store it properly if you want it to last longer. Alternatively, you can insulate it well with a withering cover if you decide not to remove it. Regular cleaning paired with proper storage during winter ensures your window AC is in tip-top shape for next summer.

Related ArticleAlternative to Window AC Units

Last Updated on April 19, 2022

Josh M

My name is Josh and I am obsessed with the HVAC industry. I created this website to help HVAC techs of all levels get the best out of their heating & cooling systems. I have spent thousands of hours studying air conditioners, heaters and home air products so you can learn & buy with confidence. Learn more about the team here.

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