You know it’s officially winter when you finally turn off your AC. If you’ve been using a window AC unit to keep your home cool all summer, the prospect of storing it can be daunting. After all, it’s a heavy item perched in a pretty precarious spot.
Not storing your window AC unit, however, can make your winter a lot less comfortable. If you leave it installed, heat will escape through the cracks between the AC unit and the window, making your home less warm and your heating bill much higher. The harsh winter weather may also cause water to freeze inside your AC unit, which may make it unusable when summer rolls around again.
Fortunately, with the right know-how and the right storage unit, storing your window AC unit is doable. Follow these 10 steps—and enlist the help of a friend or a professional if you’re unable to lift 50 pounds on your own—and you can complete this task in a few hours.
1. Make sure there is no one standing below the window. For obvious reasons, this step is crucial.
2. Turn off the window AC unit’s power.
3. Lay a towel down to protect your floor, preferably one that you don’t mind getting dirty.
4. Peel off the tape, taking care to not remove paint from your wall. To ensure this, you can run a blade underneath the tape and then peel it back slowly against itself.
5. Unplug the window AC unit from the wall.
6. Unscrew the screws on one side of the AC unit and push it to the side that is still screwed in. Wrap one arm around the AC unit so that you have a good grip on the back. Do not let go with this arm for the duration of this step. Hold the window AC unit in place and unscrew the other side. Open the window with this same arm, bracing it from falling with the arm that is wrapped around it. Grab it with both hands and carefully lower it onto the towel. As previously mentioned, do not attempt this step alone if you are not capable of lifting 50 pounds. Call an HVAC professional or a friend.
7. Use compressed air to remove dust and debris from the coils and the clean the AC unit with a damp sponge. Air-dry.
8. Optional: Replace the filter.
9. Rent a climate controlled storage unit. Your window AC unit needs to be stored in a cool, dry place. Climate controlled storage will keep your AC unit at a safe temperature and a safe humidity level all winter long.
10. Store your window AC unit in an upright position, preferably in the same box it came in. If you no longer have the box, talk to your storage facility’s staff about moving supplies, as many storage facilities sell these on-site.
There you have it. 10 steps to storing your window AC unit. When it’s time to take it out of storage, give it a good wipe down at home, taking care to wash the filter in a mixture of warm water, bleach and mild detergent. If you’ve cared for and stored your window AC unit correctly, it should be in top shape to keep your cool again.