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What You Need to Know About Installing Window Air Conditioner in Vinyl Windows

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In mid-summer last year, I finally decided to buy a window air conditioner to fit in our vinyl window situated in the second level of our house. Upon installing the unit, it dropped down the window; fortunately, it fell on the bushes and haven't got severe damages. However, one of the spacers has been broken and apparently without it, the unit won’t fit in precisely onto the window frame.

Although I can buy an individual spacer in the market, it will consume time for me to find the similar specification; That’s why with no hesitation, I take the risk choosing the best air conditioner repair company to help me replace or repair the broken spacer.

This is one of the situations that we don't want to happen. According to WCMA Window & Door it is essential to consider every little detail in the process. In this article, I will share with you this guide on installing window air conditioner in vinyl windows.

Things to Consider


Installing a window unit of the wrong size is the most common issue in window air conditioner installation. Make sure that you measure the size of your room and vinyl window as a reference to BTU capacity and window space before purchasing a unit. This will help you to stay cool while remaining economical.

Drainage Level

As part of the air conditioner’s cooling process, it removes water from the air just like a dehumidifier. This causes condensation to collect inside the unit and drain from a hole in the back. When it is installed, you have to make sure that the air conditioner is level and allow the internal channels to direct the condensation drainage on their own.

Window Air Conditioner

Location and Surrounding

One thing you need for sure to activate your window air conditioner unit is the power supply, make sure there's a nearby outlet in the window. You have to be mindful that there's an adequately rated power supply for your unit. Aside from that, remove obstacles outside so nothing will damage either the window or the unit.

Remember that approximately majority of vinyl windows are built in houses with vinyl sidings that’s why it’s smart to check the condition of the sidings as it is where supporting brackets are often attach to. You don’t want to encounter problems when installing the air conditioner unit so consider the repair of vinyl sidings and window before moving in the initial process.

Weight Distribution 

When installing window air conditioner in vinyl windows, most people estimate the distribution of the unit's portion, forcing the window and the window sash to bear all the weight. Vinyl windows in return can be easily broken. Before installing, take time to attach a strip of wood or L-brackets outside the house just underneath the window. This will help support and distribute the air conditioner’s weight.

You may wonder why this duo is an excellent cooling option than other choices out there. Here's why:

Advantages of Window Air Conditioner in Vinyl Windows

Energy Efficiency 

Aside from the fact that both are low cost, they are also energy efficient. Majority of window ACs have a high energy-efficiency ratio (EER) which gives you the right knowledge of how much they cool and they also come in a variety of BTU capacity to accommodate rooms of all sizes.

BTU determines the cooling capability, getting the right BTU AC can save on electricity. The bigger units with higher BTU require more electricity. For example, the cost to run a 5000 BTU window unit for 8 hours every day ,( if the price per kWh is $0.13) is  $17.92 per month approximately.

The vinyl windows on the other hand are made in PVC which provides a valuable amount of insulation, keeping heat in during winter and out during summer.


Not just that window air conditioner is free from floor space but is also easy to move from one window to another which is perfect for non-permanent residences such as dorms and apartments. Most window air conditioner has a dual function of heating and cooling as well.

While window air conditioner is floor space-free, vinyl windows are maintenance free. They don't age as fast as the other windows because it does not corrode or rust and only requires soap and water to clean off dust and dirt.

Ease in Installation

And yes! That's what our topic is all about. Both window air conditioner and vinyl window are easy to install. Manual of window air conditioner unit provides step-by-step instructions upon purchase and only requires you a family member for assistance. Vinyl window is similar; you’ll only need the right measurement of the window size when installing it since it comes with various and customized sizes in the market.

And now that you've learned you made the right decision of choosing a window air conditioner in vinyl windows; it's time to know the appropriate tools used installing it and the method itself.

You will need:

  1. Drill
  2. Screw Drivers
  3. Level
  4. Manufacturer-provided screws and brackets
  5. The air conditioner unit
  6. Insulating foam side panels

Steps on How to Install Window Air Conditioner in Vinyl Windows

Step 1

Setting up your window air conditioner

Setting up your window air conditioner starts by sliding the adjustable window spacers onto each side of the unit. Using the screwdriver and the screws, secure these extensions to your air conditioner.

Step 2

Fasten the moisture barrier strip to the top and bottom part of your air conditioner unit. Notice if there’s an adhesive backing on it; If it has, pull the backing off the strip and attach the piece onto the unit. 

Step 3

Most vinyl windows have sloped sill which doesn’t create enough space to carry your window AC unit, unlike the common flat ones. If this is your case, merely purchase special brackets that allow the window air conditioner to sit correctly; Although some units already have these brackets when bought, install these mounting brackets based on the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 4

Fasteners are also necessary when installing window air conditioner as they help to keep out bugs from coming in so make sure that they are tightly fixed. Weather stripping foams come with some units while others go along the window sill beneath your unit which you can place during the process. Another foam will be placed atop the unit after the installation.

Step 5

With the help of a second person, carry your unit and fit in the window while opening it as wide as you can. Position the air conditioner in the opening to rest the spacers on the interior edge of the window frame and move out condensation outside by slightly tilting your unit backward. You also have to link the drainage hose outside of your home. 

Step 6

air conditioner window holder

If you’re using brackets, make sure that the unit is securely locked into place on it. You’ll have to slide the window down tight onto your air conditioner and extend the spacers out to close the gaps between your unit and the window frame. 

Step 7

The last procedure is to seal the upper part of the air conditioner with another weather stripping foam as stated in the fourth step. Finally, caulk around the outside perimeter.

Step 8

The installation process is finished however you will still need to test your newly installed window air conditioner. Plug in the unit to check how it works and refer to the instructions given in the manual. Now, you can officially enjoy that cool refreshing ambiance!

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Last update on 2021-08-11 at 03:02 PST - Details

In Summary

Air Conditioner Unit is indeed one of the best solutions to the hot atmosphere summer may bring. But there’s no denying that without knowing the considerations stated above, there’s a tendency that one might be bound to expenses and unexpected consequences. If you want to be practical, it is essential that you learn the basic from purchasing the item to installing it in your home without the need for an expert to set up everything.

It is also significant to consider your family’s size. If you quite have an extended family, a centralized air conditioner unit possibly suits your size, but if you’ll just use the air conditioner unit during summer, it is best to install window air conditioner unit in a vinyl window instead. Read more on air conditioning installation here.

To avoid mistakes in the process and damages in both of your air conditioner unit and window, it would be best if you follow the steps on how to install a window air conditioner in vinyl window we have mentioned above to avoid committing even a single mistake. Proper preparation is always better than relying on good luck.

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