How to Wear Out Your Window Air Conditioner


By Kim Hillegass, Sears PartsDirect

Warm weather is quickly approaching, shortening the time you have left to fit into your summer wardrobe. A quick way to drop those pounds is to sweat them off, and you can do that by ignoring the routine maintenance of your window air conditioner, ensuring that your house is like a steam bath.

To improve the odds of success with this weight-loss program, skip the tips and advice found in our How to Maintain Your Window Air Conditioner article and prepare yourself to really sweat out the hot weather ahead.


Don’t Change the Window Air Conditioner Air Filter

The air filter in the air conditioner traps dust and pollen from the air flowing through the unit. By not cleaning or replacing the filter monthly like the manufacturer recommends, you reduce the airflow to the evaporator, which exchanges the warm air for cool air.

With that barrier of dust in the way, your room air conditioner runs harder and kicks on more frequently in a vain attempt to cool the air. Ice may even accumulate on the coils, placing even further strain on the air conditioner. The room becomes warmer and more humid, and you're now well on your way to fulfilling your inch-shrinking mission.

Don’t Clean the Air Conditioner Fins and Coils

The fins and coils in a window air conditioner absorb the heat and humidity from the air inside your home, replacing hot, humid air with cool, drier air. Letting dust and dirt collect on the coils decreases the amount of heat the coils can absorb. This accumulation makes the room air conditioner work harder, diminishing its cooling capabilities.

Ignore the manual’s advice to clean the coils and fins, and you increase the odds that the air conditioner completely fails, making it that much easier to sweat off the extra pounds.

Push the Room Air Conditioner Beyond Its Limits

Here are more ideas for shortening the life of your window air conditioner: 

  • Place the window air conditioner in a room larger than its cooling capacity. In the short term, this placement ensures that the room doesn’t cool well, so you sweat more; in the long term, it shortens the AC units' life by making it work harder than it should.
  • Leave doors and windows open to allow fresh air in the room. That way, warm air constantly replaces the cooled air, so the AC unit can never keep up. Instead, it runs constantly, adding to the strain on the room air conditioner as it struggles to cool your space.
  • Put the unit in a window that receives direct sunlight. This way, you'll make it harder for the warm air removed by the evaporator inside the room to dissipate through the condenser that’s cooking in the sun outside.
  • Block the airflow to the unit. Use furniture inside the room to limit the amount of warm air flowing over the evaporator, and let shrubs outside grow close to the condenser coils to restrict the release of warm air that may have been removed by the evaporator. 

A quick and total demise of the window air conditioner is a sure thing if you neglect maintenance and push the air conditioner, putting a hot body well within your reach.