Window Air Conditioner Security
How to secure a window AC unit…
Window AC security is important. When the weather warms up, it’s time to install your window air conditioners. But this could also expose a security risk too. A burglar could get into your home through a window after pushing in the air conditioner on the 1st-floor. Or the burglar might steal the AC unit!
Here’s what you can do about securing your window AC unit. I’m going to list a number of tips and product suggestions. The things you can do to help with window air conditioner security.
- Window AC Security and Stability Pack (AC unit support rail bracket secures with window sash)
- Window Locks (sliding, vinyl, metal)
- Window Stopper Wedge
- Window Lock Bars
Read on for several up-to-date suggestions!
Screw the Window AC unit Top Support Rail into the Sash
This works for wood windows (see below for vinyl or metal), and other options.
Most window air conditioners are installed and simply held in place by gravity. It’s tucked behind the window sash which keeps it from falling out. Maybe there’s a small screw holding the top, and one or two on each end of the accordion side-panels.
Some people don’t even install a single support screw into the AC unit top support rail. Since the window air conditioner is held in place by gravity and its downward force against the window sash, that’s good enough, right? No, not so much..
So, what can you do to better secure your window air conditioner AC unit?
At least install a screw through the air-conditioner’s top mounting rail into the window sash. Most window air conditioners include a pre-drilled hole in the top center to accommodate this.
Consider drilling additional holes through the AC’s top support rail to accommodate more screws into the lower window sash (see illustration below).
UPDATE: If you cannot, or prefer not to screw into the window, there are several alternate ways to secure the air conditioner unit, some of which I’ve listed below. One method is this clever little bracket that will keep the AC unit from being pushed out:
To install the security bracket, the AC was positioned properly in the window and the small u-shaped end of the bracket was placed over the upper flange (rail support bar) of the air conditioner.
The window was then closed over the large u-shaped end of the bracket.
Thin weather stripping was placed between the window sash and the upper flange of the air conditioner to seal the small gap (due to the thickness of the bracket).
The bracket was secured to the flange of the air conditioner by tightening the provided bolt through the bottom hole. The bolt wasn’t overly tightened since it essentially prevents the bracket from sliding too much forward and back.
(I didn’t use the bolt in the top hole since the air conditioner flange was too high.)
Although the bracket looks to be a bit loose, it can’t be removed and the air conditioner can’t be pushed out of the window unless the bottom sash is raised.
The provided window locks didn’t work for my windows, so I used the Windobully Window Lock to prevent the sashes from being raised or lowered.~ from a product review
Install Security Window Lock for your Portable Air Conditioner
A convenient window lock for air conditioner security: (Sliding Window Lock, Window Stop, Window Restrict)
A window lock will prevent or deter the burglar from pushing and forcing up the window.
The AC unit may be screwed to the sash, but if the window itself isn’t locked it’s still possible to force open and reach in and shove the air conditioner. Install window frame locks to prevent this.
AC Window Lock – Vinyl & Aluminum
For Vinyl Windows – you might consider this popular window lock as shown below:
Window Security Wedge
Another clever idea is a window wedge. Here’s one from a ‘Made in the USA’ company…
Bonus: This also works on many double hung windows. What I mean is.. windows where the upper window can also slide down. Because there’s Velcro attached to the upper window (for attaching the wedge in a chosen position), both the upper and lower window panes are essentially locked in place. You can see the Velcro in the picture below if you look closely.
Note that you need an approximate 1/8″ gap or recess to work with (upper pane sash frame recessed from the lower pane sash frame) – so the window won’t rub or get hung up on the Velcro under normal up/down operation. Check your window first.
>> Window Stopper
(view on amzn)
Window Air Conditioner Security Bars
An adjustable window security bar. It’s designed to fit between the top/inside window frame and the upper sash (which is partially open due to the window AC unit). Perfect for when a portable AC unit is installed.
The window security bar fits into the gap (example shown below). Measure the gap with the AC unit installed to determine which security bar will fit, even though they’re adjustable.
>> Sturdy Steel, Extends from 10″ to 17 1/2″
(Jacent storefront on amzn)
‘Do It Yourself’ Window Security Bar:
While the air conditioner is mounted in the window, measure the distance from the upper window sash to the very top of the double-hung frame itself (with AC installed). Cut a wooden dowel to snugly fit – which can be wedged to prohibit the window from opening further…
Window Air Conditioner Bracket
It’s also a good idea to get a window air conditioner bracket. It makes it harder for the burglar to get the air conditioner out from the outside. You could also secure the portable AC unit to the bracket in various ways.
Window Air Conditioner Security Tips
Ultimately, you are not going to stop a determined burglar. But you will probably stop the majority of amateur burglars who are looking for quick and easy entry.
Consider removing any 1st-floor window air-conditioners when going on an extended vacation. A few minutes effort may be worth it…
If a burglar happens to pick your home because they see a window air-conditioner hanging out of a 1st-floor window, when given a hard push and it doesn’t budge, they will probably move on.
If the burglar pulls or pushes on the air conditioner while attempting to lift the window sash, it will not readily come if you’ve taken the precautions mentioned above.
For additional protection, consider window alarms and/or a house alarm system.
You could also plant thorny bushes… rose bushes, blackberry bushes etc. just below your windows for deterrence…
A wire cage or bars to cover the outside of the AC unit without restricting its operation. Though I have not personally found a ready-made product for this. It would involve securing directly into the home’s siding, and would obviously be unsightly to an extent.
My Preferred Brand of Window AC Unit
Window air conditioners don’t last forever. I’ve gone through a number of randomly purchased brands over the years. Lately, having done some research and checking reviews, I determined that the Midea brand was best for me. I now have two of their 10,000 BTU units and a 5,000 BTU window AC unit. They’ve been excellent. (just my 2 cents)
You could even have one shipped right to your door:
>> 6000 BTU (and other options)
(Midea on amzn)
More security-related articles: