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Advice for Safe Installation of a Room Air Conditioner – AHAM Consumer Blog



In times of extreme heat, air conditioning can quickly transform from a matter of comfort to a matter of health and safety. Millions rely on room air conditioners (aka “window units”) and portable air conditioners either as their primary means of staying cool or to supplement central air conditioning. 
 

Both room and portable air conditioners are effective options for staying cool in hot weather, and each has its advantages. One obvious difference between the two is that room air conditioners may require a more extensive installation. If you are using a room air conditioner, here are some tips on how to install it safely:  

Select an appropriate window for installation: Room air conditioners should be installed in windows in partially or fully shaded areas. They must be near a three-pronged outlet so the unit can be easily plugged in for proper grounding. Never use an extension cord or power strip with a room AC unit. It creates the risk of overload, which can cause fire.  

Install the air conditioner in an area free of obstructions: Air conditioners rely on the free flow of air. Trees, bushes and anything else that blocks the intake, on the indoor or outdoor sides, can interfere with its function and cooling ability. Clear obstructions away if you do not already have a window that is free of them. 

Have the proper resources available: Installing a room air conditioner can be a two-person job. Make sure you have the proper tools available for installation, as recommended by the manufacturer. Clear the area below the window of anything that could be damaged if the unit falls during installation.  

Check your window: Windows, and any material used to support the room air conditioner, should be in good condition, free of any damage or rotting. Do not install a unit in a damaged window.  

Purchase any necessary support brackets: Depending on the model, the room AC unit may or may not require support brackets. Consult the manufacturer and check local regulations to see if brackets are required or recommended.  

Make sure the AC unit drains properly: Most air conditioners require a way for condensation to drain, which is why room AC units often drip. Follow all manufacturer instructions for setting up drainage. Doing it incorrectly can lead to damaged wood, mold and odors as well as icing of the air conditioner’s coils.   



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