Well, regrettably, we are coming up on that time of year when we begin to remove window air conditioners. Throughout my career, I have installed and removed hundreds of window air conditioners. Yet, I can only recall a handful of times when a homeowner has asked me to inspect the window and surrounding area for any collateral damage that may have been caused by the usage of the window air conditioner.
While window air conditioners provide us with comfort and seem to be relatively maintenance free, the reality is that you need to check for wear and tear of the unit and surrounding area of your house with each removal.
As for the air conditioner, you want to check the filter and insure it is clean. Also check to make sure there is no built up water in the unit. If you have built up water, check the braces to insure the air condition is angled the proper way. Water should not back up in your unit or window if the unit is pitched properly. Clean the entire exterior of your unit before storing away, as this will help prevent discoloration and rusting. Also, check the power cord for any cracks or breaks in the outside wrapping. Check the sliding accordion sides for cracks and tears.
Once the unit has been inspected and repaired, it is time to inspect the window and surrounding area for wear and substantial damage.
Check window sill and trim for wetness and/or cracking and peeling of paint. Use an awl to probe for soft areas if you notice a severely wet area in the wood. If you have an older home, check the cords attached to the window weights for dry rot.
Inspect your wall directly under the window where air conditioner has been used. Often times when water runs back towards the wind, it finds its way down into your walls. You will also want to check exterior wall for wetness too. Finally, check directly under window to make sure your air conditioner has not been dripping all summer onto something below that can be damaged by water constantly running over it.