Window air conditioning units are common in old New England houses where central HVAC can’t be installed, and it’s easy to see them peeking out from the charming Colonial homes that line the streets. Most people assume that putting in a window unit is simple enough with a few tools and a bit of elbow grease.
But there are actually a few problems you might run into that you don’t expect, and we don’t just mean how loud window ACs are. Here’s what to know.
You Don’t Have A Permit To Install A Window AC
Before you install a window air conditioner, you should check with both your local building department and utility company to see if you need any permits or special requirements. Some neighborhoods and towns limit the use of window ACs or require you to purchase units under a certain decibel level.
The last thing you want is to purchase and install a unit, only to later get a notice that you’ll have to take it down until you’re able to get a permit. The process of obtaining a permit usually involves submitting an application along with the necessary fees depending on where you live.
Your Windows Won’t Hold The Unit
The size of the window you’re trying to install a portable AC in has to meet certain criteria for the unit to be safely installed and held securely in place. If your window is too small or too large for the AC unit, or the surrounding frame is too weak, it likely won’t fit properly.
If your window AC isn’t installed properly, there could be gaps between the frame and glass that cause air leaks which can reduce the efficiency and performance of your unit. In addition, improper installation methods could also result in structural damage to both your home and the window itself, potentially leading to costly repairs down the line.
There’s Not Enough Power On The Circuit You Want To Plug The AC Into
The amount of power needed for an air conditioner to run is a major factor when it comes to successfully cooling your home. If you plug a window air conditioner into a circuit that doesn’t have enough power for all of the lights and appliances on that circuit, you can experience a short circuit. This causes your breaker to flip and worst-case-scenario there’s an electrical fire.
Try to put your AC unit in a window where it can be plugged into a dedicated circuit outlet exclusively used by the air conditioner and nothing else. This ensures that no other electronics are being powered by the same electrical circuit, which in most cases is enough to resolve the issue.
Beyond making sure your home has enough power on the circuit you’re plugging your window unit into, it’s also important to check that the wiring and outlets on the circuit are up-to-date and in good condition. Window ACs draw a lot of power, and any exposed wires or faulty outlets could potentially lead to short-circuiting, sparking, and other dangerous problems.
There Are Gaps Between Your Window And The Unit
Proper installation of your window air conditioner is key, and you can’t leave any gaps between your window and the unit for several reasons. First, any space left open between your home and the outside, no matter how small, can reduce your energy efficiency and make it harder to cool your home. If insects or other pests get into these gaps, not only will you have an infestation on your hands but also an added expense for pest control services.
If you suspect that there may be a gap present between your window and AC unit but aren’t sure, one easy way to tell is by feeling along all edges of the frame for drafts. You can also turn off the lights in your home when it’s bright outside or go outside when it’s dark and the lights are on inside to look for light leaks along the edges of your window and the unit.
If there are any gaps where you see light peeking through or feel warm or cool air, these will need to be sealed before you start using the unit.
Is It Time To Upgrade To Ductless Cooling?
Ductless cooling systems, also known as mini-split air conditioning systems, offer several benefits over window AC units including better energy efficiency, quieter operation, and more accurate temperature control in your home.