Will a Window Air Conditioner Work on the Floor

Can I Put a Window Air Conditioner Work on the Floor? Why Not?

Will a window air conditioner work on the floor?

Technically, a window air conditioner can turn on and run while sitting on the floor. However, the way a window AC unit expels heat, drains condensation, and exchanges air can make using it on the floor less than ideal. These units are designed to be mounted in a window or through a wall to ensure proper ventilation, efficient cooling, and effective moisture drainage. Placing a window AC on the floor may lead to reduced efficiency, potential damage to the unit, and inadequate cooling performance.


It’s not uncommon to find yourself in need of an air conditioner while being confined to an area where installing one isn’t exactly straightforward.

Various circumstances might lead you to occupy a room without windows, or perhaps you’re in a garage, workshop, or another type of space not originally designed to accommodate a window air conditioner.
In such situations, it’s tempting to consider using a spare window air conditioning unit you might have on hand. The question arises: Can this device simply be brought inside and placed on the floor or a table to cool the room?

Unfortunately, the design of window air conditioners doesn’t support effective cooling when the unit is not properly installed in a window.

These devices are specifically engineered to operate within a window frame, ensuring optimal air exchange, efficient cooling, and proper moisture drainage.

When placed in an unintended location, such as on the floor, their performance is significantly compromised, leading to inefficiency and potentially even damage to the unit.

In this article, we aim to elucidate the critical role of placement in maximizing the effectiveness of a window air conditioner. The concept of placing such a unit on the floor serves as an illustrative example to highlight how positioning impacts its functionality.

How does the placement of a window air conditioner effects how it will cool a room.

Heat Expulsion

Window air conditioners are designed to expel heat from their rear. If you’ve ever passed behind one, you’ve likely felt the warm air being emitted. Placing a window AC on the floor would result in it discharging cool air from the front but simultaneously releasing hot air from the back, effectively negating the cooling effect. The design intention behind these units is for them to be mounted in a window, allowing them to expel heat outside, not into the room.


These units also work by extracting moisture from the air, condensing it, and then draining it through a hole at the bottom. This design is another reason why window ACs are intended for window installation, ensuring that the condensation exits the unit outside the house, preventing indoor water accumulation.

Hot Air Circulation

Considering that hot air rises and the coolest air in a room is near the floor, a window AC placed too low may recycle this cool air instead of drawing in and cooling the warmer air above. This could result in inefficient cooling, especially in the areas of the room where it’s most needed.

Noise Levels

The design of a window air conditioner also takes into account noise reduction, with the noisier components like the compressor and motor positioned to be outside the house when installed in a window. Placing the unit indoors would lead to increased noise levels, making the environment less comfortable.

Emergency Use

In emergency situations where no other cooling options are available, a window AC can technically be run on the floor. Direct exposure to the cool air can provide relief, albeit in a limited area. However, it’s important to manage the drainage by placing a pan underneath to collect water, and be prepared for increased indoor noise and potentially uneven cooling.

Ultimately, while a window air conditioner can function on the floor in specific scenarios, such placement is far from ideal and undermines the unit’s efficiency, design purpose, and overall effectiveness in cooling a room.

Can you put a window air conditioner on a table?

Placing a window air conditioner on a table does offer a slight improvement over having it on the floor, primarily because it would be positioned to draw in warmer air from the room rather than the cooler air found at floor level.

Even when elevated on a table, the air conditioner would still expel hot air from its rear. This expelled heat could warm other areas of the room, counteracting the cooling effect generated at the front of the unit. In a typical window installation, this heat is directed outside, away from the interior space.

Also the problem of condensation drainage persists. Window air conditioners are designed to allow condensation to drip outside when mounted in a window. When placed on a table, there would need to be an alternative method to collect or direct this water away, preventing damage to the table surface and avoiding water accumulation on the floor.

The operating noise, particularly from the compressor and motor, would be more pronounced when the unit is used inside the room instead of being partially outside a window.

DIY Engineering Solutions

Some people have creatively addressed these challenges by employing DIY methods, such as attaching ductwork to the rear of the unit to channel the expelled heat into an attic, closet, or another area where it won’t raise the room’s temperature. While this can be an effective workaround for the heat expulsion issue, it requires a certain level of technical skill and understanding of air conditioning systems to implement safely and effectively.


If you’re in a situation without window access but have a window AC unit, exploring such DIY solutions might seem appealing. However, it’s crucial to address the drainage issue by finding a way to capture or direct the condensation effectively. Additionally, the increased noise level from having the unit operate entirely indoors is an important factor to consider for your comfort and the comfort of others in the space.

How Do You Cool a Room with No Windows?

Method Description Best For
Portable Air Conditioners Versatile units that require venting through ceiling, dryer vent, or wall. Need drainage for condensation. Flexible cooling, temporary setups
Evaporative Coolers Best for dry climates, use water evaporation to cool air. Add moisture, no external venting needed. Dry, low-humidity areas
Split Ductless Air Conditioners Consist of outdoor and indoor units, require professional installation. Quiet and efficient. Permanent, efficient cooling solution
Fans and Air Circulation Improve air movement without lowering temperature. Makes the room feel cooler by circulating air. Immediate airflow improvement
Thermal Curtains and Insulation Prevent heat from entering by using insulating materials on doors or adding wall insulation. Reducing heat gain from outside
Dehumidifiers Remove moisture from the air, making the room feel cooler in humid climates. Humid climates
Cool Roofing or Reflective Materials Use materials that reflect sunlight to reduce heat absorption in rooms at the top of buildings. Top-floor or attic rooms
Heat-Generating Appliance Management Reduce use of appliances that generate heat, especially during hot parts of the day. All areas, especially small, enclosed spaces
Creative Venting Solutions Use vents to circulate cool air from adjacent rooms or expel warm air to the outside. Rooms adjacent to cooled or ventilated spaces

Cooling a room without windows presents a unique challenge, as traditional window air conditioners are not an option. However, there are several alternative methods to cool such a space effectively:

1. Portable Air Conditioners

Portable air conditioners are a versatile solution. They don’t require window access for installation but do need a way to vent hot air outside. This can be achieved through a drop ceiling, dryer vent, or a hole in the wall. Ensure the unit has an appropriate drainage system for condensation.

2. Evaporative Coolers (Swamp Coolers)

Evaporative coolers are best suited for dry climates. They use the evaporation of water to cool the air, which can be an efficient method in areas with low humidity. No external venting is required, but they do add moisture to the air, which might be a consideration depending on the climate.

3. Split Ductless Air Conditioners (Mini-Split Systems)

Mini-split systems are an efficient way to cool rooms without windows. They consist of an outdoor compressor/condenser unit and one or more indoor air handling units, connected by a small conduit. Installation requires a professional but offers a permanent, quiet, and efficient cooling solution.

4. Fans and Air Circulation

Enhancing air circulation can also help cool a room. Ceiling fans or oscillating fans don’t lower the room temperature but can make it feel cooler by moving air around. Strategically placed fans can help circulate cool air from other parts of the building into the windowless room.

5. Thermal Curtains and Insulation

Improving the room’s insulation can prevent heat from entering. Using thermal curtains or blackout curtains on any doors leading to brighter, hotter areas can help keep the room cooler. Insulating any ductwork or adding insulation to walls can also reduce heat gain.

6. Dehumidifiers

In humid climates, a dehumidifier can make a room feel cooler by removing moisture from the air, even though it doesn’t lower the temperature. Less humidity means sweat evaporates more quickly, which naturally cools the body.

7. Cool Roofing or Reflective Materials

If the room is at the top of a building, using cool roofing materials or reflective paint can reduce heat absorption from the sun, keeping the space cooler.

8. Heat-Generating Appliance Management

Minimize the use of heat-generating appliances within the room during the hottest parts of the day. This includes computers, printers, and especially kitchen appliances if the space includes a cooking area.

9. Creative Venting Solutions

If there’s access to an adjacent room with windows or external walls, you can create a venting solution through the adjoining wall to help circulate cool air into the windowless space or expel warm air.

When choosing a cooling method, consider the room’s size, your budget, and the climate in your area. Some solutions may require professional installation, but they can provide a comfortable and sustainable environment in windowless rooms.


Published by

Dennis Reed

Dennis Reed Owner and Author @ BreatheBetterAir.org