Can you use a window air conditioner without a window? In this article, you will learn 3 methods to set up your window AC when you only have a room without regular windows at hand, through a regular or a sliding door.
Window units are designed specifically to be mounted on a window. The warm air and water produced during the cooling process escape to the outdoors through the window. But if you don’t have a suitable window in that room, you can improvise another way to remove those by-products without a window.
Quick answer: Yes, you can use a window air conditioner without a window. You have to build a venting system to lead heat out of the room through a regular or sliding door. Ensure you properly insulate the vent setup to improve efficiency.
How Can You Use a Window AC without a Window?
Installing a window AC in a windowless room is possible with some creativity. The modifications can be tricky and hard, but they are doable if you are handy.
Lead Heat to another Room
A window AC has two components – one part stays inside the house to cool while the others hangs outside the window to expel heat and moisture.
Without a window, you can take advantage of another room you aren’t using. This will mean that all the warm air and water coming from the AC’s rear will go into that other room.
But to achieve this, you have to make a hole in the wall that separates those two rooms and then seal around it to ensure the heat doesn’t sneak back. If there’s an adjoining door to both rooms, you can use that instead of a wall.
Set up AC Vent through a Sliding Door
If you are lucky enough to have a sliding door in the room, this would be the best option. Most sliding doors lead outdoors, either to a balcony or the porch.
All you have to do is slide open the door just enough to fit the AC and then use window treatment (curtains or blinds) to close the upper part. Let the AC run for at least 6 hours, which will be enough to lower the thermal temperature of your room to a stable level.
If you do this for, let’s say, 6 hours before closing the door and going to bed at 9 pm, the room should be cool and comfortable until the wee hours of the morning when it starts to get chilly.
Set up an AC vent using a crafted ducting system
Now, this method requires a little more ingenuity and some tools. That’s because you will effectively transform a window AC into a portable unit, which comes with an inbuilt vent and hose to take the heat and moisture outdoors.
To pull this off, you will need
- Duct tape
- Storage bin or cardboards
- Flexible duct (click here to view it on amazon)
The idea is to have the window AC deposit its heat into the trash bin connected to a duct leading somewhere else. Make sure the storage bin/cardboard box you make perfectly fits the AC rear side without blocking the side panels.
- Carefully drill two small holes at the bottom of your window unit. This is where condensation will drain out during the cooling process.
- Before you attach the bin to the AC, cut a hole or two at the bottom of the bin, where you will attach the flexible duct using tape. Again, this hole has to perfectly fit the duct because you don’t want any heat to escape.
- Now, join the bin to the AC and seal them together with tape and then attach the duct to the bottom of the bin.
- Guide the flexible duct to where you want the heat to go. Ideally, this should be outside through the door, kitchen hood, or window.
- Place a container below the AC where you drilled those holes to collect the condensation. For this to happen, you must tilt the AC somehow or place it on a raised surface like a stool.
And with that, you have transformed a simple window unit into an indoor AC.
To get the flexible duct through the door, you must cut a hole in it and then seal the cut around the hose/duct with tape.
Here are the full video instructions:
Why You Shouldn’t Use a Window AC without a Window
While the above three strategies are doable, they are not exactly foolproof.
For example, using another room to expel the heat exposes the other room to damage. Everything in that room, starting with the walls, will inhale all the heat and moisture and weaken. This damage may not be contained in that one room alone and can also move to other walls.
The self-built insulation setup or ducting system isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. You must be very precise when joining those parts and even then, it cannot be able to hold hot air for long without developing some issues.
In short, these should be temporary solutions until you get something more feasible.
Best Affordable Solution
I get it, installing whole house air conditioning is not cheap or necessary sometimes. That’s why a window AC comes in handy. But if you don’t have a proper window, the best solution is a portable air conditioner.
Besides being portable (you can move it from room to room), a portable AC comes with proper venting already built-in, so all you have to do is find a small space on your window or door to fit the hose that goes outside. You can place the AC unit anywhere in the room, provided the vent hose has outdoor access.
I recommend this SereneLife SLPAC8 Portable Air Conditioner (click here to view it on amazon) because it’s compact, quiet, and already prebuilt with a dehumidifier and fan. You also get a remote control and a window kit with it to make installation easier for you.
That said, a window air conditioner is usually more efficient than a portable AC. This is because the entire backside of a window AC is used to expel heat, compared to only a small circle on a portable AC.
In other words, you must run a portable AC longer and use more power in the long run. But other than that, it’s the perfect alternative when you don’t have a window.
Using a window AC without a window is possible but tricky. You must be prepared to damage something in your house, such as a door or even an entire room. Even then, the solution may not serve you long term and you have to keep worrying about something going wrong.
This is why I recommend getting a portable AC instead. It’s easier to install and use and has additional benefits, such as a dehumidifier and several operation modes.