It’s That Time of Year: Put Window Air Conditioners into Storage

Posted on Sep 29 2010 - 12:50pm by Winnie Hsiu

If you use a window air conditioner, one of the tasks you should undertake every fall is removing the air conditioner and putting it into storage. While most people assume the reason for moving a window air conditioner is to reduce heating costs from drafts through the window, there are also several other compelling reasons to put a window air conditioner into storage or self storage for the winter. Taking the air conditioner out of your window and putting it into storage reduces a family’s or business’ risk of fire, burglary, and an invasion by stink bugs.

Why go through the hassle of uninstalling and moving that window air conditioner?

  • Heat loss around a window air conditioner can be quite significant. While some people like to keep their air conditioners in place all year round to avoid the hassle of moving them, heat loss around a window air conditioner can be quite significant. Moving the air conditioner out of the window can reduce heating bills and cold drafts — especially if you follow up on putting the air conditioner into storage by sealing the window securely shut for the winter.
  • A window air conditioner can provide a burglar with entrance to your home or business. A common technique used by burglars during the day is to remove an air conditioner from outside the home while homeowners or tenants are at work. Once the air conditioner is removed, burglars can enter the home through the window. The same technique is used by burglars to enter small businesses at night. Removing and storing the window air conditioner can provide families and business owners with security from burglars who use this entry technique.
  • Window air conditioners are against fire codes in many communities if they are used in bedrooms that have only one window. Most fire codes require bedrooms to have a second entrance (a window) that can be used to escape the home in case of a fire. While removing an air conditioner from outside can provide a burglar with access to a home, it’s not clear that residents of the home would be able to remove the air conditioner quickly enough to escape a fast-moving fire.
  • Sometimes window air conditioners cause fires. Earlier this month, a Victoria, Texas family lost their home, along with eight five-week old puppies, to a fire that began with an electrical short in a window air conditioner. In that case, the extension cord being used to provide power to the unit was not strong enough to carry the heavy electrical current needed by an air conditioner.
  • In communities that are being invaded by stink bugs, stink bugs can crawl into a home around a window air conditioner. Stink bugs can invade homes through very small openings — to avoid them, it may be necessary to first remove the window air conditioner and then use caulk to seal all tiny cracks around all of the windows that might allow stink bugs entrance.
  • Sometimes window air conditioners fall on people. You may think that window air conditioner is securely installed. But it may not be as secure as you believe. Yesterday morning a window air conditioner fell out of the apartment of a New York man, bouncing off a restaurant awning and injuring, coincidentally, the apartment owner’s friend who was walking his dog nearby.

Sources used:

Harshbarger, Rebecca and Olshan, Jeremy. “Man injured after air conditioner falls from apartment window.” The New York Post. Sept. 28, 2010.

Mace, Nancy. “Stink bugs invade the tri-state area.” The Record Herald. Sept. 25, 2010.

Platenburg, Gheni. “Family loses belongings, puppies in fire.” The Victoria Advocate. Sept. 10, 2010.

“Sept. 29: put air conditioners into storage.” The Battle Creek Enquirer. Sept. 29, 2010.

“Stink bugs are the new critters invading Maryland.” WJZ 13. Sept. 23, 2010.

Walton, Stephanie. “Tuesday’s South Bay police log: Carson and Torrance.” The Daily Breeze (LA). Sept. 20, 2010.

“West Side Neighborhood Watch.” Sept. 29, 2010.

Upchurch, Jenny. “1-window sleeping room can’t have a window AC.” The Tennessean. Sept. 21, 2010.