There are few things worse in the world than a very hot day and some high humidity to go along with it. Before you melt away or break out into a heat-induced rant buy a window air conditioner.
There are a couple of things you should check before you head off to the store. First, select a room and a window in that room as the mooring point for your new air conditioner. Next, measure the width of the window opening. You don’t want to buy an air conditioner that is too wide for the window. Then make certain there is an electrical plug nearby, preferably one that is grounded (three holes in the outlet).
You should also make certain that your electrical system is big enough to handle the extra electric the air conditioner will use. If you are not certain then call an electrician. Finally, if at all possible, try to select a window with a nearby electrical plug. Most air conditioners come with short cords. It is seldom safe to add an extension cord to a large appliance. If you do need to add an extension cord make certain it is a heavy duty one. Oh yes, measure the width and length of the room. You will need those measurements at the store.
Now you are off to the store. Make certain you buy a machine that produces enough cool air to cool your room, but not so much that you are using electricity wastefully and over cooling the room. The salesperson can help you with this when you provide the length and width of your room.
Once the purchase is made, haul the thing home. Watch your back though, these things are heavy. Better yet, the store may deliver it for a small fee. When the appliance is finally in the room open wide the bottom half of your window, screen and storm so there is an unobstructed opening to the outside. Grasp the front of the air conditioner firmly, again watch your back, and place the appliance in the window resting it upon the window sill.
Take a breath and stretch. Now very carefully slide the air conditioner into the window until the front of the appliance is directly over the window’s inner sill, or until the window extensions on the conditioner are in line with the window jamb. The window jamb is wherever the outside edge of the outermost window lies. Try to center the machine in the window’s opening. This will make it easier when you connect the window extensions later.
Many conditioners come with a drain somewhere near the back. Make certain that is beyond the window edge so that any water coming out of the drain goes outside and not into your window sill. Close the entire window on top of the air conditioner. This will very temporarily and precariously hold the machine in place..
Now level the air conditioner in the window. This can be done by placing shims or wood blocks under the machine until it is level Although some manufacturers suggest a slight downward angle toward the outside so any draining water will roll outside rather than onto the window sill or into the room. Place your blocks and shims accordingly.
Extend the window extensions on the edge of the conditioner to meet the window jambs and secure them to the window jamb. This is usually done with a small nail or screw. This is important because it keeps the cool air from escaping and the warm air from infiltrating. If there is still an open area stuff it with some insulation or other water resistant material. Make certain the window that has been lowered down onto the machine is secure. If it remains in place, the machine will not fall out the window. Some people find ways (screws, nails, brackets) to make certain the closed window does not move.
Some machines are rather long and may hang out the window quite a bit. If that is the case manufacturers will often provide a bracket you can attach to the side of the house and your air conditioner to hold the outside end of the conditioner in place. This helps keep the air conditioner from falling out of the window. If there is no bracket a simple one can be created with a saw, nails and two-by-fours.
When you feel certain the air conditioner is securely in place plug the cord into your outlet, turn the machine on and relax.