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A falling air conditioner surprising a passerby on the street below may make for an easy laugh in a sitcom scene, but in real life it is no laughing matter and can even be deadly. Window air conditioners may be lighter than they were decades ago, but, at 32 feet per second squared, the deadly force of a renegade air conditioner can mount up very fast when falling from an apartment window. The quality and strength of the bracket is not just important, but a bracket is only as good as the material in which it is being mounted.
Tip 1 — First Check the Framework of the Window and the Stud
Before installing an air conditioner, the most important decision to make — beyond the choosing of the air conditioning unit and the mounting bracket — is which window will be used for the installation. Of course, it needs to be in a strategic area for air flow in the room, but also consider what is happening with the framework of the window area. Are there signs of mold build up? Is the window frame solid?
If you do see significant mold build up, that issue will need to be addressed regardless of whether it gets chosen as the home of the air conditioner. Mold build up indicates poor air flow. You want the air conditioner to be in an area of good air flow. Moisture can build up around the outside part of the air conditioner. You don't want that to lead to a build up of mold which can rot your frame, ledge and other supporting wood. If there is a tree or bushes by the window, some trimming can help outside airflow.
If the window candidate you choose has rotting or weakening wood, then you will want to either reinforce the wood or replace the framework. If you are not experienced at rough carpentry, you should hire a carpenter to assess and fix the situation for you.
Tip 2 — Check the Existing Air Conditioner Bracket and Hardware Very Closely
If it is a used air conditioner being reinstalled, what is the shape of the old bracket? Is it rusty? Has it retained its shape? Does any of the metal seem to be stressed? How do the welds or joints look? Any rusty or worn hardware should be replaced. Go to your local hardware or home store if you have any doubts. Brackets, screws, nuts, washers, and bolts are at the heart of the core purpose of a hardware store; and hardware people are usually willing to spend a lot of time problem solving your bracket and fastening needs in relation to the relatively small price of the products.
If it is a cheaper air conditioner, check to see how sturdy the bracket is that came with the unit. A hardware or home store can help with this issue, also. There is also a number of sites on the Internet which supply a variety of quality durable brackets, which explain the differences between brackets well.
Tip 3 — Make sure the Air Conditioner can be easily Removed for Periodic Maintenance
Make sure you follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully when installing the brackets, and that you understand how the air conditioner can be removed once installed.
Tip 4 — Stay Level Headed
The air conditioner needs to be level at the end of the installation, so use a level to check the levelness of the bottom of the window. If the mounting area is not level, you will need to install shims to level the mounting surface. Make sure any reinforcing wood does not interrupt the flow of air, and that it is securely in place. This project is a true test of the theory that a system is only as good as its weakest link.
Check out the HandyAmerican.com website for a full list of professionals and contractors for your air conditioner installing needs.