Window Air Conditioner Security: How To Stay Safe – 2021 Guide

| Last Updated: June 12, 2021

Home safety for most is constantly compromised by the lack of window air conditioner security. 

Burglars look specifically for any weak points in homes. They often take advantage of unsecured window air conditioners.

In the article below, we explain various ways to use your air conditioner without compromising your safety. 

Photo credit: windowachub.com

Do Window Air Conditioners Compromise the Security of Your Home?

There are many common faults in air conditioner installations that are easy for criminals to take advantage of. These are often small flaws that homeowners do not consider to be problematic at all. 

Risk factors include neglecting to add a window lock, improper air conditioner installation, buying an air conditioner that is smaller than the window it will be installed in, and failing to install a window cage.

Most window air conditioners are installed behind the window sash to keep them from falling out. Sometimes small screws are used to hold the main rail and accordion side-panels in place.

In other cases, people do not use any screws at all because the downward force of gravity against the window sash holds the air conditioner in place. This becomes an easy target spot for burglars. Without adequate obstruction, they can either steal your air conditioner or use the space to gain entry into your home.

How Do You Burglar-Proof a Window Air Conditioner?

You can burglar-proof your window air conditioner in different ways according to what is suitable and necessary for your air conditioner. Some security measures are highly effective, while others cost less and are good alternatives for those who can’t afford to spend too much money.

Securely Mount the Window Unit

Depending on the window sash and gravity to keep your air conditioning unit in place and neglecting to reinforce it with screws are big mistakes. Always mount the unit in all the places it needs to be mounted, from the upper panel to the accordion side panels. It’s also important to get an air conditioner window bracket, making it more difficult to remove the unit from the outside.

Photo credit: oliverheatcool.com

Consider the Placement of the Air Conditioner

If you have the option, you might want to avoid placing the window unit on the first floor of your home or apartment since it is easily reachable.

However, if you have no choice, keeping the window unit over the summer and removing it in the winter is also another option. Consider using it seasonally and remove it when not needed.

Extend the Accordion Panels

Most air conditioners include accordion panels on each side. Extend the panels as wide as possible to help eliminate any opportunities for a burglar to leverage the unit out of the window.

Brackets and Braces

Brackets and braces are extra supports that you may use when installing your unit. These tools serve two purposes: they keep the air conditioner securely in place and also prevent it from falling out of the window frame. They are easy to install and difficult to remove without making noise.

Add a Window Lock

A common misconception is that you can’t lock a window holding an air conditioner. Two sliding window locks can be added directly to the window frame. Burglars will not be able to slide the window up any further to dislodge the air conditioner. You can also use other options like a security window stop, window restrictor, and a security window wedge. 

Install a Security Cage

Installing a security cage is the perfect option if you have an exterior standing on a cement foundation. The cage is bolted to the ground around the air conditioner so that it cannot be stolen easily.

Install a Security Window Alarm

Window alarms instantly sound an alarm if there is any tampering with the window.  Vibration sensors can be tuned to heavy rain and wind don’t trigger false alarms. The window alarms are easy to install and they come with a power button for your convenience.

Install a Security Camera

The ideal camera for the outdoors should be weather-resistant. Security cameras usually deter criminals from breaking in because they know that some now have motion sensors that can report to your phone and alert you to their presence. They are also useful for keeping tabs on what is happening around the house at any moment.

Air Conditioner Window Guards

Photo credit: kshb.com

To reach your air conditioner a burglar would have to first remove the cage, but that would take a lot of time and energy, in addition to producing noise. This makes cages the most secure option. On top of providing extra security against theft, an air conditioning unit cage will prevent injuring someone should the appliance fall out. A cage is also suitable for terrible weather or for reinforcing a crumbling wall that can no longer support the unit. 

Security Bars

An adjustable window security bar is designed to fit between the window and the top frame to prevent it from opening when a portable air conditioner is installed. This is suitable for air conditioners that leave a gap when installed. 

Pros of Window Air Conditioner Security Measures 

Installing window air conditioner security measures benefits our safety. It makes life a bit easier and we can enjoy the comfort of our own home knowing it is safe.

Privacy

With visible security measures such as cameras and window alarms, criminals will be afraid to be caught trespassing or tampering with your property.

They serve as a warning to all would-be intruders that you will not be caught unaware.

Peace of Mind

Knowing that burglars can easily remove your air conditioner and gain entry to your house can leave you in fear. Once a security measure is installed you gain peace of mind knowing that your home or apartment is safe.

If anyone attempts to break-in, the noise they produce will alert you to their presence, and the security measures you’ve put in place will buy you time enough to take action. 

Safety 

Without a doubt, the main reason for installing window air conditioner security is to ensure the safety of our own homes. 

Cons of Window Air Conditioner Measures

With as many benefits that window air conditioner security has, there are disadvantages to it as well.

Additional Supplies/Costs

Purchasing and installing security for an air conditioner can be out of your price range. You may need to compromise on effectiveness to find an affordable alternative

Maintenance and Repair

Maintaining and repairing items such as cameras and alarms can be costly, as well. Alarms can be tampered with and outside cameras can be stolen. This means you’ll have to purchase a replacement and go through the installation process again.

An air conditioner might also be clocked by shrubbery and vegetation that grows near it, which creates a need for it to be repaired into its proper condition.

Hard to Access 

As hard as it will be for an intruder to gain access to your window air conditioner, it will be the same for you as well.

Increased Noise

Motion detectors and window sensors are prone to giving false alarms at times especially if there are pets around. The unnecessary noise at inopportune hours can become unbearable.

Other Ways to Make Your Window AC Less Accessible 

If you are not ready or financially able to invest in the above security measures on your home air conditioner, you can try less costly alternatives such as:

  • A piece of wood
  • Planting shrubbery
  • Second-story placement
  • Hiding your window air conditioner

A Piece of Wood

This might not be the most high-tech solution but you don’t get any more easy and affordable than this. You will need a piece of wood that is properly sized, or that you can cut to the size necessary.

You can then slide it into place horizontally or vertically. Wedge it in such a way as to secure the air conditioner against the window. It will not be the most effective but it will do.

Planting Shrubbery

Photo credit: huskyair.com

You can try planting shrubbery or another large patch of vegetation directly below or in front of the window in which your air conditioner sits. 

This will make moving around harder for burglars and difficult to assume a stance position by the window. For added protection, you might want to consider planting rose bushes or other bushes with thorns. Keep in mind that you need to monitor that your air conditioner does not get clogged.

Second-story Placement

Placing your air conditioner on the second story, if possible, is great. Unless the burglar hauls around a ladder, chances are they won’t be able to get up there.

Hiding Your AC

If you want to go the extra mile and you enjoy DIY projects, there are several structures you can create to hide your air conditioners, such as a garden structure, a pallet planter, a paver wall, or a pallet box. Your unit will stand a better chance of going unnoticed.

Conclusion

There are many ways to keep your home safe by securing your window air conditioner, from conventional installations to affordable unconventional DIY alternatives. There is no reason to compromise the safety of our homes when there are various solutions to any air conditioning security problem there might be.

People Also Ask

Here are answers to questions you might have.

Are Window Air Conditioners a Security Risk?

Window air conditioners pose a security risk if they are not properly installed or secured.

A poorly installed air conditioner provides easy access to burglars who want to steal your unit or gain entry to your home or apartment. With a secured air conditioner, the risks are reduced and safety is reassured. You know that it will take time for someone to be able to reach your air conditioner and the sound of their struggling will alert you to their presence, giving you enough time to take action.

Are Window Security Measures Also Childproof?

Childproofing your window air conditioner is important because windows are easy to open for children, which could lead to your air conditioner falling out if not installed properly.
It is easy to childproof your window air conditioner by using childproof window restrictors, a childproof window cage, and childproof window guards.

Can a Piece of Wood Be Used to Keep Your Window from Opening Farther?

Yes. A piece of wood with the right length necessary can be wedged in such a way as to secure the air conditioner properly against the window. You can measure it and slide it into place horizontally or vertically.

How Much Does it Cost for Window Air Conditioner Security?

The cost of window air conditioner security varies depending on what type of security measure you prefer. It will cost you less if you install it yourself.





My name is Bob Wells and I am a retired HVAC tech from Washington state. I am currently retired and no longer do much with HVAC, however, I feel like I have a lot of knowledge in the subject and I wanted to create a website where I could talk about what I've learned and help upcoming HVAC techs. Find more info about me and HVAC Training 101.