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Question DetailsAsked on 4/21/2016

hvac window unit

I need someone to help me purchase and install a small air conditioner in an existing window with an existing outlet. It may require a 14 gauge 4 ft extension cord which I can purchase separate. I would like to choose the window unit but I am open to suggestions. 4000 or 5000 btu unit

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Professionally, a Heating and A/C contractor would be the most expert in this - but his fee may cost as much as the unit. Generally, while no expertin chosing a unit, a Handyman is commonly the person to do the installation assuming this is a "portable" unit with regular 120V plug-in cord that just goes into a wall outlet, as opposed to a larger unit which requires hard-wiring. They make window inserts to go into windows (especially sliders and vertical sash type) for installing these type units that have an opening for the air conditioner but block off the rest of the opening, though commonly it is a good idea to have a small apron roof installed over the unit to limit the exposure to rain. And don't forget, if a window accessible from ground or roof, a positive stop bolt or such for the sash - because almost always you can just raise/slide the window the rest of the way open with this insert type adapter, so you need to lock the window so it cannot be opened up and just pull the air conditioner and adapter plate out to gain entry to the house.

Recommendation on the extension cord - I would upsize the wire sizing one gauge above what they recommend for the amperage it draws, because the losses in the cord are wasted money and also drop the voltage at the unit, making the motor work harder and heat up more, shortening its life. For a probably 6, 9 or 10' cord (12 and 14 ga generally available in 2' splitter and then nothing shorter than 6 or 9/10' lengths though amazon has 5 foot applianxce extension cords) you are talking about $5 or less to upsize - for a total of about $15 for a 9 or 10 footer in 12 gauge. I also recommend, from the relatively heavy starting load, you go with a heavy duty contractor-type extension cord, not an indoor light duty office one, and one with a single outlet end - not a 3 or more outlet head office type. Those tend to be light duty build - go with one like you would plug a large power tool into.

And if large pets/children in the house, have the extension cord fastened to the window frame with a cable clamp so if the cord is pulled on the unit cannot be pulled out of the window.

Note also - a 4000-5000 BTU unit is pretty small - only suitable for about a 10x15 foot room max, smaller with sun exposure or very hot outside - most people are happy with only units over about 7000 BTU for a small bedroom, or more like 10,000 or more for a living or sitting room or such. Check manufacturer sizing charts to be sure you are getting appropriate sized one- though if you want to plug into regular wall outlet that will limit your size too. Also - check your breaker capacity and what else you have on that circuit to avoid overloading the circuit.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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