Installing an Air Conditioner in a Fire Escape Window

What You'll Need
Mini Split Air Conditioner
Socket Wrench
Foam Insulation

A fire escape window presents some problems in installing an air conditioner during hot summer months. By law, the fire escape window can not be tampered with or have anything obstructing the ease of egress. An air conditioner unit in the window will obstruct the way out, but this does not mean that you can not install one. It just takes a different kind of air conditioner.

Step 1 - Purchase Mini Split Air Conditioner

If your window leads out to a fire escape, purchase a mini-split air conditioner. One part of this type of unit sits outside the window on the ground or against the wall. The other part rests inside the room along the floor or wall. The two are connected by a small tube. This type of air conditioner will not interfere with the fire escape window.

Step 2 - Install Outside Unit

The outside unit is the condensing unit that takes in the hot air from outside and dehumidifies it. You will need to either secure it to the wall near the window, or under it on the ground. Mount the unit near an outdoor outlet so you can easily plug it in. Mount the unit with a metal bracket that holds it against the wall. Drill pilot holes into the wall where the bracket will go. Mount with anchor bolts.

Step 3 - Install Inside Unit

The part of the split air conditioner that cools the room off, is the part that you will mount on the wall alongside the window. You can also simply place it on a stand if you have one available. You secure this portion of the air conditioner in the same way you did the outdoor unit. Simply mark the location for the pilot holes from the mounting bracket, and drill the holes. Place the bracket on the wall and screw into the studs. Clip the unit on the bracket.

Step 4 - Attach Hose to Both Units

Once the two units are secured in their respective places, you will need to attach the hose that the air will travel through. The outside unit will have an outlet area where you slide the hose over and clamp with a hose clamp. Open the window and slide the hose through resting it on the sill. Attach the other end of the hose to the indoor unit using the same method. Tighten the hose clamps to make sure they do not fall off.

Step 5 - Close Window

Keep the hose close to the side of the window frame while it is resting on the sill. Place a strip of foam insulation on the sill and cover over the hose. Slide the window down until it rests on the insulation. Now there is nothing obstructing your fire escape window, but you have air conditioning to keep you cool.