Can You Leave an AC in the Window During Winter?

You can do things to your preference when dealing with the AC system in your home. However, leaving your AC in the window during winter can potentially cause issues down the line. 

Before you decide to leave or remove your AC window unit in winter, you must first find out what winter’s effects will have on their conditioner. Besides, learning the anatomy of an AC is helpful.

Thankfully, consulting experts at Autumn Air Heating and Cooling can help you come up with the best solutions for what to do with your AC window unit this winter. 

This article provides a detailed answer on whether or not you can leave an AC in the window during winter. The bottom line is that you want your window AC to be safe.

What To Do When Leaving Your AC In the Window During Winter

Technically, leaving your AC unit in the window in winter is a terrible idea. The unit’s position guarantees that cold air will make it into your space. Also, winter weather can be destructive and will likely cause the system to freeze. 

Manufacturers do consider that you may leave your AC unit in the window during winter. You can find a list of instructions on the unit about what to do with it during winter. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure no damage comes to the AC unit.

Get all the tools you need to secure it, such as a ladder, a harness, and other safety equipment. If need be, have an assistant on standby to hand you whatever you might forget. 

Here is what you might find in the manufacturer’s manual.

  • Unplug and Dry the Unit 

Ensure you unplug your AC from its power source before touching it. Then, run the “Fan Only”  mode for a few hours to dry the unit. Do this when the weather seems friendly. 

Drying the AC is a crucial step in eliminating moisture from the unit. Otherwise, excess water in the air conditioner creates the perfect environment for mold and mildew. 

  • Cover the Unit 

Most manufacturers suggest covering the outside of the AC while ensuring you don’t trap water. Otherwise, you’ll have to deal with mold, a troublesome air contaminant that can potentially spread around through our systems when you want to use the AC.

Use a fabric cover or sheet that fits the AC to cover it. The cover will keep rainwater and debris out of the unit. If the manufacturer recommends leaving the unit’s exterior uncovered, do so. 

  • Seal Gaps where the Unit and Extension Panel Meet the Interior Frame 

The next thing is to put sealants in the gaps formed at the meeting points where the unit and extension panels join with the interior frame and window sash—the best sealant to use, in this case, is weather stripping. Check the inside grill for draft also and cover it if need be.

  • Remove the Chassis or Mounting Sleeve 

If the window air conditioner got mounted on the wall at some point, then it’s likely it has a slide-out chassis or mounting sleeve. Remove it and store it above the unit. 

If it’s a mounting sleeve instead of a chassis, ensure you seal the part where you removed it with insulation, plywood, and weather stripping.

Why Should You Remove Your AC From The Window During Winter?

Now that you know what you might have to do if you leave your air conditioner on the window, it’s best to learn why it’s a bad idea—knowing why it’s a bad idea allows you to prepare for the outcome of your decisions.

It might involve simple repairs or even entire system replacement. Uninstalling a window air conditioner is less challenging than covering it while it’s still mounted. 

An expert can do it for you and save you the hassle. Here are reasons why you should consider removing your AC from the window during winter 

Leaving the AC on the Window Will Cause Energy Inefficiency 

An air conditioner left on the window will allow drafts into your home, affecting heating efficiency. The heating system will struggle to overwork to heat your space sufficiently.

The issue is that you can’t insulate it since manufacturers design window AC unjustly to let air flow through them. So not only will cold air leak into your home, but warm air will also escape.

You can try insulating the unit, but it won’t work entirely. Insulation will only reduce energy inefficiency. The ultimate solution is to remove the unit from the window altogether.

Winter Weather Will Damage It 

Manufacturers do all they can to improve the designs of window air conditioners to ensure they can withstand the elements to a point. However, leaving an AC unit on the wall for the entire winter season will ultimately result in damage. 

The damage will occur from the snow, causing some parts to bend and warp. Also, the repeated freezing and thawing process eventually weakens some of the delicate intercessor components of an AC unit.

Covering the unit with breathable sheets may help, although it has problems. For instance, the cover might trap moisture and create an environment suitable for mold to thrive. 

What to Use When Covering a Window AC

When covering a window AC unit, whether you leave it on the window or store it, it’s vital to use a suitable material. The proper material is a fabric cover designed to fit a window air conditioner. Its design allows it to provide the outside position of a unit and protect it from the elements.

Final Words

You can leave an AC in the window during winter if you are close enough to incur repairs and replacement costs later. However, that’s not what you want. It is best to seek expert advice and hire a reliable expert to help remove your AC from the window during winter.