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What You Need To Know About Storing Window AC On Its Side

What You Need To Know About Operating Your Air Conditioner While It's Raining

Storing a window AC unit on its side is not recommended. The unit should always be stored upright because its design and internal components are intended to function in that position. Any deviation from the upright position can result in leaking or damage to the compressor.

Window air conditioners have specific parts that perform crucial functions, and they can be disrupted or damaged if the unit is jostled or repositioned. It is essential to understand the anatomy of your AC unit to properly care for it. Continue reading to learn more about the proper care of window AC units.

What Happens When You Store a Window AC on Its Side?

Window air conditioners contain oils and liquid lines that must be kept upright. Storing the unit on its side jeopardizes its internal system and can cause permanent damage.

What You Need To Know About Storing Window AC On Its Side

When you store the unit at an inclined or awkward angle, its internal components may experience mechanical fatigue, leading to potentially irreparable damage. Therefore, it is best to avoid storing the unit on its side.

Storing a window AC unit is already physically demanding, so going through the effort only to find out that the unit no longer works due to improper storage would be frustrating.

Compressor Damage

The compressor is responsible for keeping the AC unit functional. If it gets damaged, the entire unit becomes useless.

The compressor moves the liquid lines from the evaporator to the condenser coils, which release the cooled air into your space. The compressor contains a motor that requires oil lubrication, and it is housed within the compressor case.

When the unit is placed on its side, the oils inside the compressor case can leak out, leading to compressor burnout over time.

Repairing the compressor is a job for experienced HVAC professionals, and in many cases, they may recommend replacing the compressor or the entire unit.

Water Damage Through Faulty Draining

The condensate line in the AC unit provides an exit route for moisture. The AC unit collects moisture as it dehumidifies the room to create a more comfortable environment.

The coils in the unit remove humidity from the indoor air, and the condensed moisture collects in a pan. When the unit is placed on its side, it becomes uncertain where the condensate lines will drip, potentially causing water damage to your floors or even to the compressor, which could be detrimental to the machine.

Water Damage On Vents

What You Need To Know About Storing Window AC On Its Side

Window AC units have fins or ventilation grates that allow airflow on the warm sides of the unit, preventing overheating. These vents also direct airflow to the central cooling or heating unit from the ventilation system. If the unit is in a sideways orientation, water can run through these vents, causing water damage.

What To Do If You Have Stored Your AC Unit Sideways?

If you must place the unit sideways, it should only be for a short duration, ideally for transportation purposes only.

Once you have unloaded the unit, avoid immediately powering it on. Allow the oils and condensate to settle for approximately 24 hours to prevent damage to the unit.

Although it may cause some inconvenience, waiting before using the air conditioner again is better than risking the need to purchase a new unit altogether.

Should You Remove Your Air Conditioner During Winter?

At the start of fall and winter, it is recommended to unmount your window AC unit. Leaving it in place can allow cold drafts to enter your home through even the smallest cracks on the sides, even if you have caulked them.

Leaving your air conditioner outside during harsh weather conditions can also damage its components, rendering it unusable during the summer season.

What You Need To Know About Storing Window AC On Its Side

While covering the unit from the outside is an option, there is still a risk of the cover getting torn by debris or strong winds during a blizzard. The best way to protect your unit is to store it safely indoors.

How To Properly Store An Air Conditioner

To ensure the protection of your AC unit during the autumn or winter months, follow these steps:

  1. Check the unit for any damage to address issues early and avoid problems when remounting it later.
  2. Seek help when removing the unit, especially if it is heavy. Lifting it alone risks damage to the unit and potential accidents.
  3. Disconnect the power source, remove the front panel, unscrew removable panels on each side, open the window pane, carefully tilt the unit, and remove it from its slot.
  4. Clean the AC unit thoroughly by washing it with water, brushing it with a soap and vinegar solution, and rinsing it before allowing it to dry completely. Replace or clean the filters.
  5. Reassemble the unit and wrap it with plastic to protect it from pests. Store it in a clean, dry place, free from excessive humidity or moisture.
  6. Store the unit upright on an even surface. Alternatively, you can place it inside a box for additional protection.

Can You Store Your AC Unit In The Garage?

Most HVAC professionals advise against storing your AC unit in any location outside your home, including the garage. Storing the unit in the garage can expose it to cold drafts, potentially freezing the liquid lines and damaging the compressor.

It is best to store your unit in an attic, basement, or utility closet.

Final Thoughts

Window AC units are expensive, so it is important to take proper care of them to avoid costly repairs or replacements. Proper maintenance is essential for prolonging the lifespan of any appliance, including AC units.

What You Need To Know About Storing Window AC On Its Side

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