Window air conditioners do not function as they were intended to when the temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, unless your unit has a built-in heating setting.
Window air conditioning units are one of the most popular kinds of air conditioners because they are easy to install and inexpensive.
However, using a window air conditioner in winter, when it is not on the heating setting, can damage your unit and it may be safer to remove or insulate it instead, in this case.
Why do people install window air conditioners?
Air conditioning units have become commonplace features in homes, offices, and other buildings and there are several kinds of air conditioning units available, but one of the most common types is the window air conditioner.
Window air conditioners are quite common because they are relatively easy to install, and they have one singular unit that contains all of the necessary elements and fits neatly inside a window-sized space in your wall. Window air conditioners vary in size and capacity and are a fairly inexpensive option.
Do window air conditioners work in the winter?
Although window air conditioners can provide solace from the outside heat in the warmer months, it may be difficult to know what to do with your air conditioner in the colder, winter months.
In some cases, like with this Friedrich Chill Premier Smart Air Conditioner Window Unit where an electric strip allows the air conditioner to exchange cool air for warm air in colder months, and vice versa in the warmer months, air conditioners are designed to provide heat during winter.
This means that you can use the heating setting on your window air conditioner to heat up your space during the winter, but using the cooling setting will hold some risks.
However, if your window air conditioner is not designed to be reversible, as this LG Mounted Wi-Fi 10,000 BTU Smart Window Air Conditioner is, you could damage your air conditioner if you use it or if you do not protect it well enough during the winter.
Therefore, it is not advisable that you use your window air conditioner in the winter in this case.
It is also imperative that you protect your window air conditioning unit in the winter months to avoid any possible damage that may occur when the elements are exposed to temperatures below 65 degrees Fahrenheit (°F).
The risks involved in operating your window air conditioner in winter
There are two main causes for damage to window air conditioners that have been used on the cooling setting in colder weather, namely thick lubricant oil and compressor or coil damage.
The compressor of your window air conditioner uses heavy-grade lubricant oil to function properly in the hotter, summer months. However, when the unit is exposed to lower temperatures in winter, this oil can become thick, and this will prevent your air conditioner from operating properly.
Lower temperatures can also cause the compressor to have to work harder to heat up in the cold weather, which places too much strain on the system and could cause your window air conditioning unit to wear out more quickly than it should or ideally would.
What temperature is too low to operate a window air conditioning unit in?
In general, air conditioners should not be used when it is colder than 65 °F outside. This is also the lowest possible temperature on the thermostats of most air conditioning units.
This means that if it is colder than 65 °F outside, your air conditioning unit will most likely not be able to cool air more than it already is, and in this case, it would make more sense to let the colder outside air in through a window, instead of using the cooling setting on the air conditioning unit.
Air conditioners with heating settings likely have a different range of thresholds and it is best to check with your manufacturer in this case.
How to protect your window air conditioner if it is not reversible
If you do not have an air conditioning unit with a heating setting, and the temperatures have dipped below 65°F, there are some methods you can use to protect your AC unit from damage during the winter.
The best course of action is to remove your air conditioning unit from your window, clean it, and store it in an upright position in a warm space, where it will be protected.
Alternatively, you can add a speciality cover, like these Aozzy Air Conditioner Covers that come in a variety of sizes and protect your unit from the cold, even if you cannot remove it from your window.