January 29, 2015

Window air conditioner myths busted

By Sears PartsDirect staff
Window air conditioner myths busted.
Window air conditioner myths busted.

Despite the popularity of central air conditioning, not every house needs it. A room air conditioner is perfectly fine in regions with hot weather for just a few weeks each summer and for houses with plenty of shade from trees. If you use room air conditioners, you might be using them in ways that don't do what you think they do. Here are some myths about room air conditioners and the truths that bust those myths.

Cooling the room faster

Myth: If I turn the thermostat to the coldest setting, the room gets colder faster.

Truth: The room air temperature cools when the air circulates through the cooling coils. The air conditioner can only cool as fast as the air cycles through the coils. Setting the thermostat to a low temperature eventually makes the room colder, but it won’t get cold faster. The thermostat is set to cycle the compressor off after the air temperature drops to the temperature set.

Clearing the air

Myth: I can use my window air conditioner to vent stale air from the room

Truth: Models with a venting feature exhaust only a little air to the outside. Room air conditioners circulate the room's air through a set of cooling coils and blow the air back into the room. Cycling the same air from the room over and over through the coils is how the room gets cooler—but it doesn’t get fresher.

Moving cold air around

Myth: I can cool other rooms by using a fan to blow the cold air into into them, or by blowing warm air from other rooms into the room with the air conditioner. 

Truth: A fan can circulate cooled air around the room with the air conditioner. But room air conditioners can only cool a certain amount of space efficiently, and adding more warm air from other rooms decreases the ability to cool efficiently.

Recharging annually

Myth: My window air conditioner needs to be recharged with refrigerant every year.

Truth: Window air conditioners don’t require a yearly recharge. The refrigerant travels through a set of lines that are completely sealed and have no threaded connections that could develop a leak. If your air conditioner is low on refrigerant, a line is leaking. A licensed service professional can repair the sealed lines.

Symptoms for window air conditioners

Choose a symptom to see related window air conditioner repairs.

Main causes: dirty air filter, air conditioner is too small for the room, temperature set too cold, control failure
Main causes: turning the air conditioner off and the back on too quickly, dirty or restricted condenser coil, compressor failure
Main causes: clogged condensate drain, air conditioner not leveled properly, leaky window air seals
Main causes: lack of electrical power, bad electronic control board, wiring failure, bad temperature sensor
Main causes: clogged drain hole, air conditioner not leveled properly
Main causes: bad compressor, lack of refrigerant, bad compressor start relay, electronic control board failure

Repair guides for window air conditioners

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your window air conditioner.

How to replace a window air conditioner user interface control board

Control buttons or lights on the user interface control board can stop working. This repair guide shows how to replace it.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
How to replace a window air conditioner condenser fan

If the condenser fan blade is broken or the condenser fan motor won’t run, you can replace the broken parts yourself by following these instructions.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 90 minutes or less
How to replace a window air conditioner electronic control board

The electronic control board is the brain of your window air conditioner. Here’s how to replace it.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 45 minutes or less

Articles and videos for window air conditioners

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your window air conditioner.

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