Putting It In

All room air conditioners come with installation instructions for mounting in a window. Before buying any air conditioner, measure the width and opening height of the window it will go in. Then check the product literature to see which size windows the unit will fit. And plan on working with a helper — units above 8,000 Btu can weigh more than 60 lbs. Air conditioners with a slide-out chassis make installation easier. All you do is slide them in place after attaching their metal frame to the window. A slide-out chassis is essential for through-the-wall installations — a necessity if your windows are an unusual configuration, or if you don't want to lose the use of an available window or its view. While window installations are relatively simple, through-the-wall mounting requires some knowledge and skill.

Most appliance stores can arrange through-the-wall installation for you. The installer will cut a hole in the wall, tack the air conditioner sleeve to the framing and then slide the unit in. Be sure the installer caulks both the inside and outside edges of the opening to block drafts and moisture. You can expect to pay $175 to $250 for the installation.

Room air conditioners are a great way to cool off where and when you need to. By following the advice given here, you'll spend less staying cool this season and for many more years to come.
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