How to prepare your window AC for winter storage

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Many people make the mistake of leaving their window air conditioner in place during the winter or not taking the time to properly prepare the AC unit for storage. This can cause premature wear and broken components.

Take an hour or so to prepare your window AC unit for storage to prevent damage and ensure that it runs well when the new cooling season begins.

When should you get your air conditioner ready for storage?

Once outside temperatures drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, it may negatively affect the performance of the air conditioner. For many parts of the U.S. and Canada, now’s the ideal time to remove your window air conditioner and prep it for storage.

Here are seven simple steps to prepare your window air conditioner for the off season:  

1.       Read the unit’s owner’s manual for care, de-installation and storage instructions.

2.       Remove the unit from the window with care.

Never attempt removal of a window air conditioner without the assistance of another person.

3.       Inspect the unit for damage.

Repair broken components. Enter your air conditioner’s model number here for model-specific troubleshooting and how-to repair help for air conditioners.

RepairClinic has replacement parts for air conditioners including knobs, remote controls, curtains, fan blades, blower wheels and many others.

How to find your air conditioner’s model number


4.       Replace or clean the air filter.

On most models, the air conditioner’s air filter should be cleaned or replaced once monthly during the cooling season. Get it ready for next season by cleaning or replacing it now.


5.       Clean the condenser coils and water pan.

An air conditioner’s condenser coils will accumulate layers of dust and dirt over the course of a cooling season, which may cause the air conditioner to work harder to remove heat. Follow the owner’s manual instructions to remove the outer cabinet so that you can access the coils. The easiest way to clean the coils is by blowing compressed air or using a soft bristle brush. Don’t use a pressure washer, as the high pressure may bend the condenser coils’ delicate fins.

Use warm water, dish detergent or white vinegar to remove dust, lint and dirt from the condensation pan at the base of the unit.  Make sure the pan is thoroughly dry before storing.


6.       Use touch-up paint to cover scrapes and scratches on the unit’s exterior.

RepairClinic has biscuit, white and black-colored touch-up paint for air conditioners.


7.       Find a good storage location.

It’s best to store window air conditioners during the winter. Leaving window air conditioners in place can cause drafts and lead to increased energy consumption.

Air conditioners are best stored in an attic, basement or utility room. Garages are not a wise place because small animals and insects are more likely to seek shelter inside of AC units in those locations. Mice and other rodents are known to chew on wiring and cause expensive damage.

If you must keep the unit mounted in the window during the off season, be sure to use an air conditioner cover that’s specifically designed to protect AC units from weather damage.


Related info

How to determine what size window air conditioner you need

Six simple ways to get your window or through-the-wall air conditioner ready for summer

Air Conditioner Repair Help

Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips

Shop for Air Conditioner Parts and Accessories

How an air conditioner works

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