Our house doesn’t have central air conditioning, but the previous owners had left behind two window air conditioner units — a small one, which we’d been using in the tandem room to cool the bedrooms, and a larger one, which we’d been putting in the dining room to cool the rest of the house. With our house being on the small side, this worked out pretty well for the past three summers for keeping the place reasonably comfortable and cool — we would just install them when it started getting hot out, and put them away when fall arrived.
But then last year at the end of the summer, when we were taking in the big one from the dining room, we had a bit of a mishap and dropped it out the window. And due to our house’s first floor actually being a half story up, this resulted in it falling about eight feet onto a concrete sidewalk. Sadly, the old air conditioner did not survive.
But thankfully no one was hurt, and it didn’t damage anything else on the way down (though it came very close to clipping the faucet for our garden hose) and overall was just an expensive lesson in being more careful when installing or removing window air conditioners.
A few weeks ago, when the weather around here finally started getting warm, we went shopping for a replacement, and ended up choosing a 14,000 BTU model by GE — this seemed to be about the biggest one we could get before needing a special 220 volt electrical outlet. And for installing it, we also picked up a pair of heavy duty support brackets, which we hadn’t been using with the old one.
The above photo shows what the new air conditioner looks like fully installed with two support brackets — specifically A/C Safe AC-160 Universal Heavy Duty Window Air Conditioner Supports (← Amazon affiliate link, though we picked ours up at Home Depot). Technically just one balanced in the middle should have been sufficient to support our air conditioner, but we decided to double down for added strength, stability, and ease of installation (since having two basically created a handy shelf to slide the air conditioner out onto).
These brackets have the benefit of not needing any kind of drilling or fastening on the outside wall; they just screw in to the bottom of the windowsill, and then have grippy rubbery legs to hold them in place on the outside. One drawback, though, was that we found them to be fairly difficult to install — more so than we expected, and almost to the point of considering returning them to the store. Below is the installation diagram from the back of the box:
We had an unexpectedly hard time with the last step, connecting the upper (horizontal) piece with the lower (angled) piece using the bolt. But we did eventually figure it out, and for anyone who may be reading this and experiencing similar difficulties, here are a few tips that may be helpful:
- If it seems like the bolt doesn’t fit through or line up correctly, this is probably because the lower piece is slightly crooked — it was hard to tell that this was the case at first, but we were able to get it right by having Joe hold it straight and steady from the outside while I secured the bolt from the inside. (I imagine this would have been more difficult if we were up higher and having one person hold it from the outside wasn’t an option.)
- The bolt will slide in on one side, but must be threaded out on the other side — this was a little confusing since I was expecting to be able to slide it all the way through and then tighten the nut, so when that didn’t happen it seemed like it must not be lining up right or something.
The new air conditioner actually came with its own set of installation instructions, which involved disassembling the case and screwing into the window frame in several places, along with a pair of dinky support brackets that looked like miniature toys compared to the two we ended up using. After giving it some thought, we ended up disregarding those instructions completely, sliding the air conditioner out onto our brackets, and then lowering the window (and bracing it with a board) to hold everything in place.
That was two weekends ago, and so far so good — although if our support brackets fail, or if our brazen disregard for following instructions comes back to bite us, or we figure out some other way to destroy a second air conditioner, I will be sure to post an update. In the meantime, I’m just really happy to have a working air conditioner installed and ready as we approach the hottest part of summer — especially considering that I’ll be entering the third trimester of this pregnancy in just a few short weeks!
Have you ever used support brackets when installing a window air conditioner? Or dropped an air conditioner out a window for that matter? Feel free to share your thoughts and stories in the comments!