How to Hide Portable Air Conditioner Window Kits
You are very happy with your portable air conditioner but you are not happy with how unsightly it is once installed.
Window air conditioners can be a major negative to the curb appeal of your home and to the fashions inside the room where it is installed. How can you hide those ugly hoses and exhaust systems?
Types of Window Venting Kits
There are a variety of air conditioner installation kits on the market and we will look at a few of those here.
Some air conditioner models have a window installation kit enclosed that may or may not be the best choice for a clean look.
Some models have dual exhaust and dual hose and the window kit installation must accommodate this.
- Horizontal Kits are for window air conditioners that fit the recess in a horizontal window This is probably the type of kit that fits most AC units. You can buy this type of kit just about anywhere - your local hardware store, big box home improvement stores, online or through the distributor of your AC unit.A horizontal kit includes weather stripping. You can anchor the AC unit to the window and make sure it is secure before connecting to the power supply. Use the weather stripping to seal out air. If you put the unit in at a slight angle you will be able to avoid any problems with condensation.
- Venting Kits allow you to put a vent into an already existing window. It can allow outside air to circulate inside and cool the room. The air from outside makes the fan blades spin and makes electricity unnecessary. Some of these kits include the ability to connect to a light so that when the light is on the AC unit is working or vice versa.
- Vertical Kits are used when you have a narrow window in which to fit the portable air conditioning unit. These are much the same as the horizontal kit and work the same way, but they have a different shape. There are different models and they fit in different ways but all are designed to work with a narrow window opening.
- Circular kits allow the AC unit to be installed without sacrificing the entire window. In fact, they are best used for wall installation. You can cut a hole in the wall and install your circular kit so that you can enjoy your window view as well as cool air circulation.
- Multi-purpose kits can be used for both heating and cooling functions. These can be fitted into the window in the same way as any other standard AC unit. These units cost more and use more energy than the one function types.
- Sliding kit for side to side sliding windows. These are one of the most difficult types of windows to install an AC in. It is 90' off from most windows which makes it even more difficult to install.
The size of the units in terms of BTUs and physical size can also be a determining factor in the type of kit that is used.
The important thing is matching the right kit to the size and shape of your window and the size of your AC unit.
No matter what the size or appearance of the AC unit it is important to have a good fit and to completely seal out the hotter outside air.
Hide Your Air Conditioner Inside and Out
Window air conditioners are the hardest type to hide as you must do so from both the inside and the outside of the window. The whole home AC unit has an outside compressor that must be hidden but nothing inside. The through-the-wall AC unit does not have to be hidden from the outside. So it is only the window air conditioner that needs to be hidden inside and out.
So you have to be creative in hiding the window air from the outside. You can use a trellises or other type of flowers or flower boxes around the outside unit. There is no kit that will help with the outside of a window AC unit.
It does not usually work to mix and match kits but if you are creative and you buy the type of kits that allow you to cut out and customize your own pieces. This may in fact be the best option for creating the most attractive installation.
You can also get a metal shop to make an attractive skin to have fitted over the sides of the kit and even the face of the AC unit.
Ways to hide the units despite the kits:
- Use your AC unit as a work of art. This is where the metal skins mentioned previously can come into play. Or you can use plastic covered in your favorite fabric or one that matches the room d??cor.
- Frame in the unit. Make it look like the rest of the d??cor in your room. Have a custom cabinet built around the unit. Make sure there are slats created for venting.
- Half curtains or caf?? curtains won't block the light or the air flow while adding to the attraction and d??cor of your room. Make sure your curtains are made of a light weight fabric so that airflow is still adequate to cool your room.
- Hide it behind a folding screen that matches the d??cor of your room. You can choose a screen that blends into your wall color or one that directly contrasts it. The screen should be placed so there are several feet of space from the screen to the AC unit so that there is free air flow.
Dual Exhaust Systems
It is difficult enough to disguise window kit hoses but it is an even greater challenge to disguise dual exhaust hoses from portable air conditioners.
So what is the advantage of a dual exhaust system?
- The dual exhaust portable air conditioner has two separate hoses.
- The first hose brings the outside air in.
- The second hose takes the warm inside air and excess moisture out.
In this manner the cool air cannot be expelled from the room as it might be with a single exhaust system. The single exhaust has to work too hard to keep the room cool because instead of lowering the air temperature in the room the single hose unit is constantly lowering the new air coming into the room.
This means that the dual exhaust system will in the long run be less expensive and have a longer life span. Let's look in more detail at the benefits of the two systems.
Single exhaust units cost substantially less upfront than the dual exhaust systems and they use less energy than the dual system. The dual system has to run two fans and two motors. If money is a major consideration for you than the single exhaust might be beneficial for you.
- Cost substantially more upfront than the single exhaust systems and they use more energy because they have more moving parts requiring more power to operate them.
- They cool the room quicker than the single unit because they do not have to work as hard.
- The dual system uses one of the hoses to force fresh air in and the second to take stale air out. The quality of the air is therefore better with a dual system.
- The dual unit also helps with humidity as the air is vented out and the moisture with it.
The major negative with the dual system is how unsightly it is in your home or apartment. You will want to create some type of cabinetry or closet to encase the unit and hide the hoses.
Hiding the ugliness of portable and window air conditioner units is a major challenge.
Especially when using aftermarket installation kits some modification is often needed to make the unit presentable. This is often true no matter what type of kit is used.
- Portable air conditioners can come with one or two hose exhaust systems. Though the better choice in terms of efficiency and long term costs is the two hose system, it is also much harder to hide the hoses and the unit.
- It takes more creativity and customization to hide a two hose system or make it presentable and fit into the d??cor of your room.
- No matter whether it is a window or portable unit, a one or two hose unit, there really is no aftermarket AC install kit that will make your unit attractive. It is up to the individual to make their unit fit into the d??cor of the room.
- No matter what unit you decide to buy, make sure it is large enough with enough BTUs to adequately cool the space involved. After all this is why you buy an air conditioning unit to begin with.