Should You Remove Your Window AC Unit in the Winter?

An air conditioning unit is an excellent help in combating the hot seasons in your home, especially if some household members are susceptible to heat and humidity.  But what should you do when the winter season comes? Do you have to remove the AC unit? And how can you store it safely?

You can remove a window AC unit during the winter to keep it safe. Store the unit upright in a dry location, away from other objects. If you don’t have time to remove the unit from the window, you can insulate it with a blanket or an AC cover. 

There are several things to know about caring for your AC unit during the winter season. Let’s look at how AC units function, how to remove one for winter, and how to insulate one if you decide to leave it in place.

How Do Window AC Units Work?

Open panel adjustment of a small room air conditioner

Window AC units recirculate the air within a room to regulate the temperature. If the room gets too hot, it signals the thermostat to turn on the blower. Thus, the hot air is pulled into the unit, cooled using refrigerant coils, and then released as cold air. 

Does a window AC unit use outside air? The answer to that is no. The AC unit only processes the air within the room.

So what does the other half of the AC mounted outside the window do?

The unit needs to release hot air outside. If the whole box were inside the room, keeping things cool would be pretty hard. Because of this system, window units only work for window mounting. You can’t set one up differently as it will render it useless. 

Should You Remove Window AC Units During the Winter?

The answer to this one depends on your time, storage options, and the help you can get. It’s not required to remove an AC unit, but doing so will help your unit last longer.

This is ideal for those who have the help and time to remove the AC unit. You can store it during the winter and reinstall it once the summer returns.

But there are some ways to protect your AC unit for those who don’t have the possibility to remove and reinstall it. One option, for example, is insulating the window AC to keep it protected from the extreme cold and ice. 

How to Remove and Store Window AC Units 

An Open panel adjustment of a small room air conditioner

Here’s a quick guide to removing and storing your window AC units. 

1. Unplug the AC

This prevents you from getting electrocuted when you move the unit.

2. Place a towel on the floor under the AC

It’s best to have a towel or something similar to catch the excess water from the window AC. There’s likely to be some water spillage if you recently used the unit. Also, having a mop ready is key. This will work as a safety measure for the unit and your floors. 

3. Remove the AC unit from the window 

Take care as you proceed with this step. Make sure you have someone to help you, as this is not a one-person activity. The ideal setup for this part is having two people unmounting the AC from the window from both sides. Then there is one person in front to assist in lowering the AC down to the floor. 

It’s easy to remove the window AC as long as you have all the tools and help within reach. Be very careful when placing the AC down on the floor. Never drop the unit as it could damage the inside mechanical and electrical systems. 

4. Clean the AC unit 

We recommend completing this part outdoors. It’s a good idea to use a fine spray to get rid of any dirt in seconds and avoid damaging any wires. Regular cleaning techniques will do if you don’t have any fine spray. 

5. Clean the filters

The AC filters are the dirtiest part of the unit since they filter the dirt from the air. Make sure to clean them well before storage. You can clean them with soap to remove the dirt easily.

To ensure that even the allergens and bacteria are removed, you can soak the filters in water and vinegar solution. Dry them thoroughly. 

Don’t use a high dryer to speed up the drying time. The heat from the dryer might melt the electrical parts inside the unit. Just let the filter or filter air dry.

6. Clean the coils and water pan

These parts are in the front part of the AC. Once removed, clean like the filters. Dry them thoroughly. 

7. Clean the exterior

Cleaning the exterior part is easy. Use a rag, soap, or even a water-vinegar solution to clean it up. 

8. Store properly 

Ensure that you follow the storage guidelines below to keep your unit safe and secure.

How to Winterize a Window AC Unit 

The best way to winterize your window AC is by removing it and storing it properly. Before storing it, you need to follow the cleaning process mentioned earlier. If you have the original box, that’s a great thing to use for storage. You can also use another similarly sized box.

Keeping the window AC secured in a box will keep it safe from bugs or rodents that might chew up the wiring. Also, it will keep the unit dust-free until you reopen it. 

Keeping the original packaging, including the styrofoam, is always a good idea when buying an AC. It can be helpful for times like these.

When it comes to storing your window AC unit, follow these guidelines:

  • Store the AC unit in an upright position. Never attempt to store an AC unit in any other position. The parts inside might be damaged if you do so. 
  • Keep the AC unit in a cool, dry place. Too much heat may melt the electrical parts of the unit. Moreover, too much moisture will also do damage. 
  • Store the AC unit away from other objects. Other objects might fall on the unit, causing dents or damage. 
  • Place the AC unit in an area with low traffic so that it doesn’t get in the way or get damaged.
  • Protect the AC unit from cold weather. A cover may be necessary.

How to Insulate a Window AC Unit

It can be insulated for those who don’t have the means to remove their window AC unit instead. This way, you will protect the unit from harsh weather conditions, just like keeping them in a box. 

Here’s how to proceed:

Wrap the Window AC

You don’t have to buy expensive coverings to protect your window AC. You can grab a blanket, quilt, or even used boxes to wrap it up. The primary purpose of wrapping it is to keep it from the cold. So think of it as a young child and wrap it nicely. 

If you prefer an official cover, check out the Sunolga AC Cover (on Amazon)

Seal the Edges 

You have to seal the edges to keep the cold from getting inside. Doing so will also keep water out.

Use tape with solid adhesives to seal the edges. It may not look aesthetic, but it will guarantee your unit’s safety.

Tips and Tricks 

Now that you know what to do with your window AC unit during winter, here are some additional tips and tricks:

Reinstalling During Springtime

Reinstalling can be as messy and tiresome as removing. In that case, make sure to have all the help that you need within reach to avoid any mishaps.

In addition, if you’re living in a building or a condominium, you must first check out the city installation rules to prevent your units from falling. This way, it will be safe for everyone involved.

Check the Unit for Any Damage

Before using the unit again, check for any possible damage. This is to avoid any electrical issues when you plug it in. 

As much as a window AC unit is a lifesaver during the summer season, it’s a bit cumbersome during the winter. If you don’t remove it or take the necessary precautions to winterize it, you might not be able to use the unit when summer comes. Thus, it is best to remove, clean, and store the AC unit to extend its life.