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DIY Guide: Window Air Conditioner Installation

In the dog days of summer, sometimes a fan just doesn’t cut it anymore. If you are considering a window air conditioner unit, don’t bother to pay a professional to install it.

It’s easy to do by yourself—and you shouldn’t worry about dropping the unit out the window.

A window air conditioner is removed from its metal housing before installation, and the housing is light and easily maneuvered into place.

Knowing that, you can easily install even the largest window air conditioner yourself, following the guidelines below.

All you need is a screwdriver—ideally, a cordless drill with a screw tip—and if you’re installing a used unit that doesn’t come with a window kit, a few pieces of scrap wood will help, too.

DIY Window Air Conditioner Necessities

  • Window air conditioner unit: Make sure to take your window dimensions and reference them when purchasing a unit so you know it will fit.
  • Window installation kit: It should include a bracket, expanding panels and foam insulation.
  • Scrap wood: If a window installation kit is unavailable, you will need some lumber to fit on your window sill to bring the bottom of the unit flush with the window frame. You will also need to fill the gape between the sides of the air conditioner and the window frame. Plywood is ideal.
  • Cordless drill, screw tip, sheet metal screws
  • Caulk

How to Install the Window Air Conditioner Unit

Remove casing: Once you’ve chose a model to fit your window, remove the front panel according to your model’s directions, and then remove screws on bottom and sides holding the metal casing to the window air conditioner. Pull the rear of the case, and shaking from side to side, slip it off the unit.

Fasten casing to window: Most contemporary window air conditioner units come complete with metal channels that fit into standard window frames. If yours does not, a top and bottom channel should be included in your window installation kit.

Simply place over the pre-drilled holes in the housing and screw together with sheet metal screws. If you don’t have a kit, screw scrap wood to the rear of the window sill to support the air conditioner. Drive screws through the inside of the housing bottom into this support. Measure two pieces of wood to the width of your unit, cut and screw across the top and bottom.

Now lower the window and screw the channel or your DIY wood into the window frame.

Slide air conditioner into casing: Check to see that there is no movement, and then you can lift the air conditioner and slide it into the installed housing. Replace the front panel and attach expandable side panels to cover the open window area.

If you don’t have these, make your own: measure the area to be covered, cut a piece of quarter-inch plywood to fit, and you can use silicone sealant to secure it in place. Install foam insulation around unit, and your window air conditioner installation is complete.

Enjoy the cool!

Updated from an earlier version by Howard Stier.  

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