For many people, central air conditioning provides cool air and comfort when outdoor temperatures rise in the summer. However, if you have a smaller space or central air isn’t an option for you, you might use a window unit to help stay cool. There are plenty of places where a window unit could work, from garages and sunrooms to apartments. Additionally, if your HVAC goes out or you don’t have central air, you might have to use a window unit as your main source of air conditioning.

While there are some challenges to relying on a window unit to cool your space, there are some ways to get the best performance. Let’s look at how to use window air conditioner for optimal cooling.

Avoid placing the unit in the sun.

Depending on the size of the space you are cooling, your window unit may have to work hard to provide enough cool air. One way to set your unit up for success is to avoid placing the unit in the sun. If your machine is directly in the powerful rays of the sun, your machine will have to work even harder to produce cool air. If possible, try to place the AC unit in a north-facing window that will receive minimal sunlight. Shady areas or windows under awnings will also help from overtaxing your unit.

Keep your doors closed.


When trying to optimize your window AC unit, it is important that you keep as much cold air in the space as possible. Keeping your exterior and interior doors closed will help to seal in the cold air. One air conditioner can cool a good amount of space, but it usually can’t cool an entire home with numerous rooms. Closing off doors to isolate specific areas will help to maximize the air conditioner’s cooling capacity. You’ll want to contain the cool air as much as possible to ensure a cool and comfortable area.

Avoid using appliances and electronics.

The majority of newer window units have internal thermostats that help regulate air temperature. Items like TVs, computers, lamps and major appliances produce heat that will force your AC unit to work harder. The internal thermostat in the window unit will sense exaggerated heat readings when these items are near and work longer.

Use fans to circulate cold air.


One of the biggest problems with window units is that they tend to cool the area directly in front of the machine. As a result, it is often cool in the area around the air conditioner and then warmer as you move farther away. Using fans to circulate the cool air around the room is an effective way to combat issues with window units. Fans will create a cool breeze that will be pushed around the room and help to maximize the cooling effects of the air conditioner. A well-positioned fan can be used to direct the cold air coming from the unit.

Cover your windows.


Uncovered windows will work against window units to allow heat in and cool air out. Aside from keeping windows closed, you can help maintain the air temperature in your space by insulating or covering your windows. Windows can account for a good amount of heat gain through the exposed glass. Curtains, drapes, blinds, and other window coverings will help stop heat from coming through the glass and keep cold air in. Additionally, window coverings will block the sunlight and prevent rising temperatures.

If you are using a window AC unit to help keep your home comfortable this summer, you’ll want to take several steps to optimize the cooling potential. Maximizing your window air conditioner can provide relief from the hot summer temperatures.