A Guide to Finding an Air Conditioner for Small Window Sizes

Room with Small Window

If you've ever had to find an AC that fits an undersized window then you know just how frustrating it can be. Finding an air conditioner for small windows is especially difficult because there are different types to choose from.

Finding the best solution can mean wading through dozens of choices. This guide to finding a window AC will show you the options available to keep you cool when the weather heats up.

There are three basic types of air conditioning for small spaces. You can use a small window AC unit, a portable room cooler, or find other alternatives to staying cool like evaporative cooling. 

Whatever your choice, each type offers a host of great features that can keep you cool in the summer heat. Review the options below to decide for yourself which works best for finding the right air conditioner for your small window.

Small Window Air Conditioning

There are a host of AC's for small windows that can fit windows as little as 14" wide. This 16" wide Artic King is a good example of a compact window air cooler that fits small window openings and cools up to 150 sq. ft. An undersized window AC is an effective substitute when central air conditioning is not available.

With window air conditioning the operating mechanicals are outside the house. This keeps the heat of the unit's operation outside so that the cooling delivered is not canceled out.

Small window AC's are great if you cannot install a central air conditioning system but want the best cooling performance and are not concerned about using the window that it is installed in. A room cooler for small windows is often the most efficient way to keep a living space cool.

Window air conditioning is also great because it does not take up floor space in the room. Many models only protrude from the window frame a few inches. With these room coolers there is no additional clutter in the room either so you can move freely about without worrying about needing to avoid the air conditioner.

Window coolers for undersized windows often include adjustable louvers that keep the air directed where you need it most. Many also offer automatic timers and thermostats to keep operating costs down too. Some even give you the convenience of a remote control so you don't even need to walk over to the window to adjust the temperature!

Portable Air Conditioners for Small Windows

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Because portable air conditioners do not rely on a window ledge for support or placement they are an ideal option for small window openings. Portable AC's come with ducting that works similarly to a clothes dryer, making them easy to install in just about any window opening.

Portable air conditioning for small windows also comes with a window mounting kit that includes a selection of shrouds and adapters that let you vent the warm air from the unit out of a wide variety of openings.

If you are not able to affix the vent to your window it is possible to vent a portable cooler out of your house using any standard size vent to the outside or by cutting a hole in your wall to vent the hot exhaust. There are many how to guides on the subject that will be able to easily guide you through the process.

By using a portable unit you avoid many of the hassles that are associated with finding an option for small areas. The convenient design lets you move the unit from room to room too. Also, because the unit is not limited by the size constraints of the window, you can use a much more powerful unit to cool the room more effectively.

Another great benefit of using a portable unit for summer cooling is that it is much easier to install or uninstall the shroud from the window than a window air conditioner. With portable air conditioning you can still use your window regularly. Enjoy a great nighttime breeze and effortlessly hook up your AC in the morning!

Air Conditioning Alternatives

While air conditioning is a fantastic way to keep cool on a hot day there are often alternatives that can still leave you feeling refreshingly cool at a fraction the cost of an AC. Instead of trying to fit a room cooler in a small window you might consider evaporative cooling.

Evaporative air coolers use the natural cooling of evaporation to draw heat from the air and keep you cool and comfortable. Many of these air coolers are portable and easy to place in any location. Portable evaporative coolers require no venting and therefore do not need to be placed nearby a window. Simply leaving a window in the room open provides enough fresh air for an it to work effectively.

This kind of air cooler is best used in dry climates like the American southwest because they rely on the addition of humidity in the air to cool. In very dry climates, you can expect 20° F or more of cooling effect!

Evaporative cooling systems use a fraction of the electricity of other air conditioning systems. This is because evaporative coolers simply use a fan and water pump to cool the air instead of the complicated compression of coolant. On average portable coolers cost about 1/4 as much to operate as a portable AC.

Whichever option you choose, you will benefit from the cooling relief of fitting an air conditioner in a small window. Imagine cool, crisp air at your command despite the size limitations!