01 of 07
Casement A/C Unit Installation Made Easier
When you are hot and lacking central air and the proud owner of slider or casement windows, you have an interesting trifecta of cooling issues. You probably already know that most window-unit A/Cs were made for windows that open up and down, such as double-hung windows. Only a few A/C units are vertically structured to accommodate sliders and casements, and these models are all expensive.
To make matters even more challenging, after you spend the money on this expensive machine, you now have to... figure out how to install it. While these instructions use a very standard unit as its model (Frigidaire Casement/Slider Room Air Conditioner, ranging from 8000 to 12000 BTUs), it can--in general--pertain to most other casement or slider style A/C units. The only difference would be the horizontal measurements mentioned later and how they correlate to the window frame.
Q: Is it really complicated to install?
No. Once you understand the product's broad concepts, you've got it. Looking at the instruction sheet may be daunting, but in the end, this is very simple.
Q: Does the unit install from inside the house or outside?
You can install the unit itself completely from inside your house. However, you do need to drive one screw into the side of your house, approximately one foot below the level of your window sill. You will need to do this from the outside. Leaning over the window, while inside, is not only dangerous, but you will not be able to place the hole precisely.
Q: What holds the air conditioning unit in place?
It is a redundant support system. The back (outside) is held up by the metal brace called a platform assembly that you install on the house siding. The front is held up by a wood support base that you create with your own materials and place on the window sill. The unit should then clear the lower edge of your window, but only barely. The greater the clearance, the more space you need to fill in or accept as an open-air gap.
Q: How do you fill the air gap above the unit?
Some units may come with a thin plastic board to fill in that area. If not, inexpensive plastic sheeting is available at your local home improvement store.
Q: How do you lift such a heavy unit?
You need a partner to lift it. While these units are not all that heavy, they are unwieldy, and you can really hurt yourself trying to pick them up. Some hints, if you decide to lift it yourself:
Continue to 2 of 7 below.
- Hold the unit on opposite corners. So, looking at the unit from the front, your left hand is on the upper left back corner and right hand on the lower front right corner.
- Don't lift straight to the window. Have an intermediate "landing pad," such as an old table.
02 of 07
Install Support Base and Platform on Window Sill
These instructions assume that the unit will be installed in the right side of the window.
You will begin by installing a wooden support base of your own making on the window sill, and then the metal manufacturer-supplied platform assembly on top of that support base.
The reason for this user-created wooden support is so that the window unit is not resting all of its weight on the thin edge of the window frame, which is not structurally supportive.
Width: Cut wood boards the width of... the unit, plus another couple of inches to account for the window frame on the right side. This would make it about 17". Functionally, it doesn't matter if you cut a little too long. But from an aesthetic standpoint, you want it to be roughly the width of your window unit A/C.
Height: Board height should be as tall as height of your window's bottom track. The idea is to avoid having the window track support the unit.
Hook the platform assembly over the front edge of your support base, with the long end protruding outside. Drive a screw into the center hole of the platform assembly, sinking it firmly into your support base.Continue to 3 of 7 below.
03 of 07
Measure from Window Leading Edge to Determine Center Point
This is the single most important point of this installation: determining the center point of the eventual window opening.
Start by finding the leading edge on the right side of the window. The official instructions might call it the "window jamb," but it isn't clear what window jamb means. Stating it as "leading edge" makes a little more sense. In other words, you need to find the left-most point of the window frame. Your frame may have several edges, but it will have only... one edge that will butt up against the side of the A/C unit.
It helps immensely to hold a square or drywall T-square against that leading edge so that you can see where the line falls across your support base.
From this line, measure leftward 8 11/16" and mark that point. This is where you sink the platform assembly screw mentioned in the previous step.Continue to 4 of 7 below.
04 of 07
Install and Adjust Platform Assembly
Go outside. Put the platform assembly together per manufacturer instructions. Drive a screw into your siding, provided you have a solid base. If you don't, you'll have to first secure a support board with exterior grade plywood or similar material.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
Position A/C Unit in the Window
Go back in the house. Open up the window to the width of the A/C, plus another four or five inches.
Lift the A/C and slowly push it through the window opening and onto the platform assembly. Be very careful, as the A/C is prone to slipping off at this point.
Close the window sash against the left side of the A/C. Make sure the sash is behind the metal bracket that is attached to the side of the unit. It is this metal bracket pressing against the sash that holds the A/C in place.Continue to 6 of 7 below.
06 of 07
Make Sure A/C Tilts Downward Slightly in Back
All air conditioners, including your casement/slider unit, extract moisture from the air, process it in the machine, then expel it. When you have a full-sized permanent, central unit, water discharge happens without you even knowing about it.
With window units, water is collected and discharged. But with these units, the water drained out of the back.
You want the unit to tip slightly downwards toward the back (outside). Many manufacturers recommend a one-quarter inch drop from front to back. Keep... in mind, too, that after you have that quarter-inch drop set up with your platform assembly, the drop will increase when you place the heavy unit on top of the assembly.Continue to 7 of 7 below.
07 of 07
Fill in A/C Window Unit Top Gap with Acrylic or Other Sheeting
Before removing the panel frame, measure for height.
Pull the panel frame up and off completely. This panel frame needs to be filled in. Otherwise, your house will be open to the outside.
One solution is to purchase a clear acrylic sheet, which you can find at Home Depot, Lowe's, or another home improvement store. If you don't want clear acrylic, any type of sheeting that is light enough will work.
For the Frigidaire Casement units:
- Width: Using a plastic cutting tool (usually found in the... Plexiglas and acrylic section), cut a window that is 15" wide. You only have a 1/4" to 1/2" tolerance, so be exact about this.
- Height: Measure the height of the opening. Then add 1/4" plus another 1/4" to account for the panel frame grooves in which the acrylic will rest. So, if your window opening is 16" tall, you need to add 1/4" and another 1/4" for a total of 16 1/2".