Casement windows look nice from an aesthetic standpoint, but when it comes to weaseling in a window air conditioning unit, they become quite ghastly. Most window A/C units are not designed for the unique structural challenges created by casement windows, and the price of these units sadly reflects that. While a bit of creative thinking can turn any window A/C unit into a casement one, it pays to do it right. And luckily, installation isn’t nearly as difficult as it would seem. Set an afternoon aside, and you’ll have cool air in no time.
How To Install A Casement Window Air Conditioner: What You’ll Need
The HVAC professionals from City Energy Heating & Air Conditioning agree that although you do need to come prepared for this endeavor, the materials and expertise needed are slim. You should be able to avoid paying for installation and air conditioner repairs as long as you install it correctly and have these tools on hand:
- Measuring Tape
- A Ladder
- Drywall T-square
- Plastic Cutter
Besides the actual A/C unit and what comes with it, here are the materials you’ll also want to have on hand:
- Wood boards for the unit’s support base.
- Plastic sheets or particle boards to cover the upper gap.
With those materials and tools handy, you’re almost ready to begin. Hopefully, you’ve looked at the SEER rating of your AC. It’s better to make your home as energy efficient as possible. Before you jump into it, there are a few things you should keep in mind. The first item on the list is your safety. These A/C units aren’t light by any means, especially when it comes time to slide them into an open window.
Make sure you’ve adequately prepared for this portion by having a friend nearby to help. It also pays to take the installation process seriously and go as slow as you need. Though it can be tempting to rush the process in hopes of cold air, a sloppy installation job will have its repercussions down the road. So, take your time, proceed carefully, and try not to hoist the unit up on your own. With that settled, you’re ready to go.
Set Up The Support Base
The precarious nature of casement A/C units means that there would be a lot of weight resting on the thin window sill. The support base is designed to alleviate and distribute this weight, both for the window’s structural integrity and to keep the unit from tipping inside or outside. Without anything to pinch the unit in place, as other models can afford, all support must come from the support base. Installing this part correctly is thus highly important.
Your casement window unit should come with a metal platform. This will hold it and keep it balanced over the top of the windowsill. Before you install this, you’ll want to first install a wooden base of your own. Even with the provided metal platform, there will still be a lot of strain on the windowsill; putting down a homemade wooden platform before the metal one better distributes the weight of the unit, taking the strain off the windowsill.
Find Your Center Point
Finding the precise center point is important for a secure and lasting unit installation. Finding the center point is dependent on the measurements of your unit, which tends to vary based on manufacturers. Take your pencil and mark a line on your wooden base at the center point. Use your t-square to get a more precise line from where you measured to where you should mark.
Install The Platform Assembly
With your wooden base in place, you can install the provided metal platform. One end of the platform will be longer than the other; stick this end outside. Take a screw and drive it in at the center hole in the metal platform, lining it up with the marking you made on your wooden base. Make sure it’s in there good.
Next, go to the outside section of your setup. Climb up your ladder and screw the metal platform into the outer siding, securing the attachment points to your house. You’ll want to again make sure it’s firmly screwed in and that you have a trustworthy base.
Slide Your A/C Unit In Place
Head back inside and flag down your friend. Before you attempt to lift the A/C unit up and onto the platform, make sure you have enough clearance between the windowpane. Push it out an extra four or five inches to give you room for any errors that may arise. With that done, carefully hoist the unit up. Split the load between you and your partner by only grabbing one side–a corner in each palm. Use caution as you nudge it into place, as it is most likely to slip and fall out at this stage of the process.
Ensure that the window sash is behind the unit’s metal bracket, found on its side. This is how the unit stays secure in your window.
Ensure That There’s A Tilt
Though it sounds counterintuitive, you’ll want to make sure that there’s a slight tilt in your platform. Window A/C units don’t have the luxury of integrated water drainage, so the excess water they glean from the air must escape by route of gravity. Without a quarter-inch drop, the water won’t be able to drain from your unit. As you’d imagine, the water shouldn’t be draining inside, so make sure the tilt is pointing down at the outside grass. Keep in mind that even if you don’t have a very pronounced dip at first, the weight of the unit will deepen it.
Cover The Gap Above Your Unit
With your window A/C unit in place, you’ll notice a large gap above it. This is unavoidable with casement windows. You can cover this gap with tough plastic sheets, which can be bought clear or colored. Clear will mimic the look of a regular window. Thin particle board works, too, both of which you can get at a store like Home Depot or Lowes. Other materials like clear acrylic and plexiglass work well too. Use a plastic cutter for this step, making sure to give yourself slight clearance around the window’s measurements.