How to Protect a Window-Mounted Air Conditioner

Window AC unit.

A window-mounted room air conditioner is constructed to be weather-resistant. Made with corrosion-resistant materials and painted with powder-based paint, window air conditioners can withstand the elements for years.

The part of the air conditioner located outside the house can pick up windblown dust, small leaves, seeds, and twigs. The sun can also heat up the mechanical components, forcing the air conditioner to work harder to cool your room. Here are suggestions on how to protect a window-mounted air conditioner.

Place the Air Conditioner in a Window Sheltered from High Winds

For damage prevention, set up the room air conditioner in a window that is not being constantly buffeted by prevailing winds. This will help protect the external finish of the unit from wind-borne grit and dust that will scrape and chip it. The air conditioner will also clog less often from airborne debris.

Keep the Air Conditioner Out of Full Sunlight

Placing the air conditioner in a window located in a partly or fully shaded spot will ensure appliance protection. Because the sun will not overheat the cabinet, the air conditioner's energy will cool the room instead of the air conditioner's own components. If the window you need has no natural shade, install an awning above the window.

Choose one that is large enough to cover the whole cabinet, and mount it high enough that it will not interfere with the operation of the air conditioner. When the air conditioner has its annual service check, ask the technician to lubricate internal parts if the case has been exposed to high levels of sunlight. Over a period of years, ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun will fade the paint. To protect it, coat it every fall with a thin layer of automobile wax.

Sea Breezes and Salt

If you live on the seacoast, it is very important to cover your window air conditioner when it is not in use. Salt will corrode even the galvanized steel that air conditioner housings are made of. The saltwater carried on the breeze will also gradually penetrate the seams of the housing and interfere with the operation of the condenser and compressor, whose blades are made of lightweight aluminum.

Have a customized air conditioner cover made for your particular model. Consult an air conditioner technician for a regular cleaning schedule of the mechanical components of your window air conditioner.

Regular Maintenance

Clean the air filter at least once a week. Open up the face cover, lift the filter out, and gently brush the accumulated lint into the trash. Wash and dry the filter at least once a season during its high-use period in hot weather.

Remove the Air Conditioner from the Window in the Autumn

Once the hot weather season is over, dismount the window air conditioner from the window, and store it in a warm, dry place, to maintain the internal lubricants in their liquid state. Cover it to prevent dust buildup. If you use the window air conditioner year-round, have it inspected by a qualified technician every six months to keep it in optimum working order.