A window air conditioner can be a godsend in hot weather, especially if your home lacks the duct-work necessary to install central air. The problem comes when the hot days of summer give way to the cooler weather of the Fall and Winter. When the days get shorter and the temperatures get cooler, you need to decide what to do with that portable air conditioning unit.
You could simply pull that air conditioner out of the window and store it away, but that can introduce a number of other problems. For one thing, you need to decide where to keep that large window unit, something that can be quite difficult in a small home. In addition, many large window air conditioners can weigh in excess of a hundred pounds, so you may not be able to remove it from the window safely without assistance.
If you have a large and heavy air conditioner that is difficult to move and cumbersome to store, the best solution may be to simply leave it where it is, even after summer has come to an end. But before you simply throw a cover over your window unit, it is a good idea to winterize it first.
You can start the winterization by securely closing all of the air vents. These air vents are designed to let fresh outside air into the room, reducing indoor air pollution and helping the air conditioner to operate more efficiently. But when the weather turns cold, you do not want that cold air blowing into your home. Closing the vents can reduce your heating bills and keep your home more comfortable throughout the colder months.
The end of the season is also the perfect time to change the filters in the unit. You should of course change the filters often throughout the summer to keep the air conditioner running efficiently, but changing them at the end of the season is a smart move as well. Changing the filters at the end of the season also gets you ready for next summer.
After you have changed the filters and closed the vents, the next step is to examine the area around the air conditioner carefully. Look for any gaps or holes between the window frame an the air conditioner, and use foam tape or caulking to seal up those spaces and keep air from getting in. You may want to use a flashlight to look for any tiny cracks that could admit cold air and increase your heating bills. After you have sealed up all those spaces, you can safely leave your air conditioner in the window without wasting energy or feeling a draft each time you move past the unit.