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DIY Project: How to Install a Portable Air Conditioner in Casement or Crank Windows

Casement Window Portable Air Conditioner

In the sweltering heat of summer, there's nothing more frustrating than trying to install a portable air conditioner in a casement or crank window.

The window kit that comes with most portable air conditioners is designed to be installed with a traditional sliding window, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the clean look of a crank window and the cool comfort your new portable air conditioner provides.

The easiest way to vent your portable air conditioner with a casing or crank windows is to fabricate an insert to fit into the window. This way you can keep the cool air in and keep the hot summer air out.

What You'll Need to Do the Job:

  • Plexiglas, Styrofoam, or another type of material for providing a good barrier to keep cold air in and hot air out
  • A latch, bungee cord or similar material to hold your casing window open, while keeping it secured
  • Twist clamps or retainer clips to keep the Plexiglas attached to the window frame
  • Caulking or self-adhesive weather stripping to help seal the insert and make it reasonably weatherproof
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Step 1: Fabricate the Insert

  1. Measure the window to determine how large your insert should be.
  2. Then, grab your vent hose and visit your local glass or hardware store. Ask them to cut a piece of Plexiglas or Styrofoam according to the measurements you took down.
  3. Also, have them cut a hole that's the same size as your air conditioner's vent hose.
  4. Be sure to bring the vent hose with you, so you can avoid any mistakes that may be made while they're cutting the hole.

Things to Keep in Mind:

Be sure to plan out the details for cutting or drilling before you get to the hardware store. Many portable air conditioner manufacturer's recommend that the air conditioning unit be placed as close as possible to the installation site, so that the venting hose doesn't need to be extended.

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This is especially important to think about before you drill a hole in the Plexiglas or Styrofoam. An inch one way or the other may impact whether or not the hose can reach the hole that's been drilled.

Step 2: Installing Your New Insert

Now that you've brought your new insert home, it's time to install it in your window. To do this, open your crank window and hold it in place with a latch. By attaching the latch to the widow and window frame, you're helping prevent possible damage to the open window. Make sure the widow is reasonably secure and won't get damaged if there is a breeze or light wind.

Next, you need to secure the insert to the window frame. There are several ways to do this. One idea is to use twist clamps to secure the insert. If you know you're going to use Plexiglas, another idea is to use retainer clips (like on the back of a picture frame) to hold the Styrofoam or Plexiglas in place.

Step 3: Weatherproofing Your Insert

Since your insert is the only thing that divides your home from the outdoors, it's important to seal it and make sure that it's reasonably weatherproof. To do this you can caulk where the window frame and casing meets.

Another option is to use self-adhesive weather stripping. You should be able to find these tools at your local hardware store or at larger home improvement stores.

AC-installation

If you're going to use self-adhesive weather stripping, you may want to attach it to the insert before you secure the insert to the window frame. One thing you'll want to keep in mind is that the weather stripping should fit tightly between the window frame and the insert so that it forms an effective seal.

The weather stripping should have enough pressure on it so that it compresses and is about half of its normal thickness where the window frame and insert meet. Making sure the weather stripping fits snugly is key to weatherproofing your insert.

Another weatherproofing option is to simply run the weatherproof stripping along the area where the window frame and insert meet. To make extra sure the window is as weatherproof as possible, you can fit the weather proof stripping between the wall and insert and also run it over the area where they meet. If you use this method, you can help ensure that your insert is as weather proof as you can possibly make it.

Step 4: Finishing Up Your ProjectPortable Air Conditioners

Now that you've fabricated your insert, installed it and made sure it's weatherproof, it's time to set up your portable air conditioner.

The last step is attaching the hose to your insert. 

Step 5: Relax and Enjoy

Congratulations, now you can relax and enjoy your portable air conditioner. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for operating your new portable air conditioner, and look forward to a comfortably cool summer!

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