What is the proper way to store a window air conditioner?

When cooler weather arrives, most homeowners with window air conditioners face the question of how to properly store the unit during the off-season. Improper storage can lead to damage and premature failure of your air conditioner, costing you time and money down the road. Follow these guidelines to safely store your window unit and ensure it’s ready to keep you cool next summer.

Why Proper Storage Matters

There are a few key reasons why properly storing your window air conditioner is important:

  • Protects internal components from damage – Things like the compressor, valves, coils and electronics can be damaged if exposed to moisture or improper handling.
  • Prevents growth of mold and mildew – Warm, moist environments allow mold and mildew to grow, which can foul the inner workings of your AC.
  • Avoids damage from pests – Rodents and insects can nest inside the unit or chew through wiring if it’s left accessible.
  • Saves energy next season – Units preserved properly will run more efficiently when you reinstall them.
  • Extends the AC’s lifespan – Proper care will maximize the working life of your air conditioning investment.

The bottom line is that taking the time to store your window AC correctly will save you money and headaches when warm weather returns.

How to Store a Window AC Unit

Follow these steps to properly store a window air conditioner for the winter:

  1. Clean the filters – Remove the filter and wash or replace it if needed so it’s fresh for next year.
  2. Clean the unit – Wipe down the casing, vents and controls with a soft cloth to remove dirt and dust.
  3. Remove and drain condensed water – Empty the drain tray and evaporator coil of any moisture to prevent mold growth.
  4. Cover the exterior – Seal the outlet vents with plastic bags and tape to keep pests out.
  5. Check components – Inspect the cords, control panel and other parts for damage or wear.
  6. Remove braces – Take out window brackets and sashes so they don’t get bent or warped.
  7. Lift and support unit – Carefully remove from window and place in upright position to avoid strain on internal parts.
  8. Cover with plastic – Wrap unit in a plastic bag or sheeting to create a waterproof, dust-free seal.
  9. Store in cool, dry place – Place in a temperature-controlled area away from windows, moisture and direct sunlight.
  10. Avoid stacking – Don’t pile other objects on top that could bend panels or crush components.

Be sure to refer to your owner’s manual for any model-specific steps when preparing it for storage. With proper yearly maintenance, your window AC can provide many years of reliable cooling.

Where to Store a Window Air Conditioner

Choosing the right location to store your window unit is key to protecting it in the off-season. Here are some good options to consider:

Garage or Shed

An unheated garage or garden shed is often ideal, as long as the space stays dry and temperatures remain moderate. Place the unit up off the floor on shelves or blocks to avoid water damage or corrosion.


An unfinished basement area works well if it’s clean and dry. Avoid spaces with frequent moisture or humidity. Make sure the unit won’t get bumped or damaged.


A properly insulated attic maintains cooler temperatures in summer and winter. Just be sure to place the AC unit carefully to prevent tipping or dropping through the ceiling.

Spare Room

An unused bedroom, den or closet will protect the air conditioner from the elements. Just don’t pile other items on top of it.

Self-Storage Unit

Renting a small storage unit can provide secure, climate controlled protection if you don’t have other options. Use heavy plastic covering to keep off dust.

Where Not to Store a Window AC

Here are some locations you’ll want to avoid when storing a window unit to prevent damage:

  • Outside – Exposure to rain, snow and sun will speed deterioration of seals, plastic and metal parts.
  • Crawl space – Too much exposure to moisture and temperature extremes.
  • Moving vehicle – Vibration and jostling during transport can harm internal components.
  • Sunny windows – Prolonged direct sunlight can degrade housing materials and fabrics.
  • Damp basement – High humidity promotes mold growth which can clog coils and drains.
  • Near furnace – Heat from the furnace can damage plastic and distort coils.

Window AC Storage Tips

Keep these tips in mind to make storing your window-mounted AC safe, effective and hassle-free:

  • Record model info – Note down brand name, model number, BTUs, features, etc. This helps with buying filters or parts later.
  • Photograph setup – Take pictures of the installation area and brackets to simplify re-installation next year.
  • Check cord condition – Look for cracked insulation and loose plugs that make shocks or fires more likely.
  • Lubricate parts – Put a few drops of electric motor oil on fan spindle to prevent sticking.
  • Avoid extension cords – Connect directly into wall outlet to reduce fire hazards.
  • Save manual – Keep instructions handy for maintenance tips and troubleshooting.
  • Share reminders – Leave yourself calendar notes to retrieve AC next spring.


Taking proper care to clean, cover and store your window air conditioner in a safe, dry place saves money and hassle down the road. Avoid moisture, pests and extreme temperatures for best results. With some yearly maintenance and TLC, your window AC will provide many years of cool relief when summer heats up again.

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