9 Steps to Remove A Window AC Cover Without Breaking It

There’s no debate that your Window AC is your lifeblood during summer.  That means giving it proper care through cleaning and routine maintenance to improve its efficiency. But let’s be honest. 

Window Air conditioners aren’t fun to work with.  Many of them are well over fifty pounds, and they feel heavier than that because they are big and awkward. Removing the top cover or getting their parts off isn’t an attractive proposition for most of us. Fortunately, you don’t need to be a professional HVAC guy to remove some parts of your AC.

window type air conditioner
Removing your AC’s cover for cleaning? Read on.

Your window AC comes with two covers to protect the internal parts. The front cover protects the front air conditioner and the filters, and it’s the part you see in the room. The outside cover protects all the interaction mechanisms of the air conditioner. Generally, the front cover may not have screws, but it’s critical to confirm with your manual.

In this guide, I will show you how you can remove an AC window cover without breaking it (or should I say breaking someone?). I will also answer a few questions many of you often ask, including few best practices to keep your air conditioner running smoothly with excellent performance.

For this task, I recommend that you get someone to help you, especially if you have a history of back, shoulder, knee, or any physical injuries. All the steps I will share here work better with two people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it alone. It’s no biggie, I have done it a couple of times alone, and I haven’t broken any limbs or harmed anyone yet. 

With that said, I will be sharing my technique with you today so you can do this like a pro!. The process is quite simple and involves a few steps as we will only be undoing several screws on the front.

Ready to unleash your HVAC technical prowess? Let’s do this!

Materials Needed

  • Screw gun/ screwdriver
  • Gloves 
  • Big old towel or polythene bag
  • Some boots to give you a good grip
  • and, of course, a strong arm


When it comes to dealing with AC, you don’t just wake up one day and decide to open it up. You need to take your time to prepare what you need depending on what you want to do (In most cases, it’s cleaning), such as gathering cleaning materials.

It’s prudent to choose one of the driest days to open your AC. When it rains, your bulky box may fill up with water which can get a lot messier. I’d also suggest grabbing your instruction manual to guide you where to spot the screws and other instructions. Consult your manual where necessary. If you don’t have a manual, you can always research your AC unit model to get the manual online.

It’s also essential to take all the necessary safety precautions depending on where you live. If your window is too high, let your neighbors know about it and keep off the area below to avoid accidents.

Just to remind you that if you drop this thing on a kid, you might kill them, and no matter how accidental it is, that’s a life gone, and you will have a long talk with the police. We don’t want that, so exercise caution and prepare well in advance, and don’t forget about your safety!

Once you’ve thought about safety, gathered the tools, manual and picked a day, it’s time for you to get started.

How to Remove a Window AC Cover Without Breaking It: Step by Step

You’ve taken your time to check this up on the internet. I can imagine how badly you really need to get that cover off and get done with whatever you want to do with it. So let’s do this together!

But before you get started, prepare yourself and create space for the cover and the entire AC unit if you want to remove the whole box. Wear your boots and gloves and dive into the first step.

Step 1: Turn Off Your Air Conditioner

Eliminate any chances of fire hazards by switching off the air conditioner and disconnecting it from the outlet. I’d also like to remind you that window ACs are quite risky. They can cause electrical shock if not unplugged during maintenance.

Step 2: Using Your Fingers, Remove the AC’s Control Knob

Next, dismantle the control knob and locate the screws around it. Your gloves should shield you from any injuries when unscrewing. 

Make sure to look out a place or a container where you’re going to put the screws!

Now, if your front panel doesn’t have screws, you can simply hold it firmly and slowly unhook it out. Remember, we don’t want to break things, so don’t pull it with all your might.

Step 3: Lay Your Towel or Polythene Bag

Put your towel or polythene bag on the floor where you want to put the cover and the unit or any other part you intend to remove. Make sure there is enough room for the entire AC.  I know you might be asking, ‘why put something on the floor?  Based on my experience, your air conditioner may still be holding some nasty slippery water in there, just waiting to slosh out on you or your precious floor. To avoid such annoying and messy experiences, sacrifice an old piece of cloth, towel, rug, polythene bag, or any other material you prefer.

Step 4: Secure the Cord

Take your screwdriver, pull the cord attached to the AC and step on it firmly. If you have a helping hand, let them hold the cord firmly. It will even be wiser to attach the cord to something more robust if it’s long enough. Why?

If the air conditioner falls, the only thing standing between it and the ground is the cord. We already talked about how dangerous that can be. To avoid tipping it past the point of no return, secure your cord and step on it.  I know stepping on it may not completely prevent an AC from hitting the ground if it tipped, but the extra support can help salvage the situation when it happens.

Step 5: Begin Removing the Screws

Now we’re on the central part of the job. Start unscrewing the screws and begin from one side. Again why?

Doing both sides means weakening all sides at once, which can be dangerous as it can increase the chances of AC falling off. Concentrating on one side means the AC is still attached on the other side, and you’re in control. 

Step 6: Remove Screws From the Other Side

Once you’re done unscrewing the first side, shove the unit over the to the side that is still unscrewed and get your hand to the next side and unscrew it. Be more careful this time as the air conditioner is almost coming off.

Extend your other hand through the gap on the side, and grab the AC to keep it balanced and stable.  Once you have a firm grip, use your other hand to unscrew the remaining screws. For whatever reason, don’t let go of the AC. I mean it, Dont!

Step 7: Now Remove the Front Cover

Once you’re done unscrewing and still tightly holding the AC with the other hand, it’s time to remove the cover. At this point, it’s critical to understand that your hand and your window are the only things holding the box up, and realistically, the window is not reliable anymore. Using the unscrewing hand, place the cover on your waiting towel.

Step 8: Carefully Balance the AC on the Window Not to Drop it

Now, this is the most vital part, especially if your window is way up. Holding on to the back of your AC with one hand, flex the arm a little and give the AC an extra lift. With the other hand, open the window. The AC will look like it wants to topple, but don’t let it. With the help of your free hand, try to adjust it until it is in a balanced position.

Step 9: Bring the AC in and Lay it on a Towel or Polythene Bag

Now go easy on the cord beneath your feet and bend low enough to carry the AC comfortably. Grab the AC firmly and move it to the waiting towel below. Remove any additional hardware that could have been used to hold the AC in place and close the window.

Done! Woohoo. You’re out of trouble, and your AC is open and ready for anything you want to do with it!

Why Do You Need to Remove the Front Cover of your Window Air Conditioner?

As I had already mentioned, most people open the front cover of their AC to clean it. Dirty air conditioners can cause a thousand and one problems which will, in turn, impact the quality of your indoor air as well as the energy consumption.

cleaning of air filter of AC
Removing the cover ensures a more thorough cleaning

While cleaning the air conditioner without removing it is also possible, it may not get the desired results as cleaning some areas might be challenging. You could also end up touching some areas that don’t need water on them.

Removing the cover ensures a more thorough cleaning and removal of particles.  Front cover removal may also be necessary if you want to check the condition of your AC, replace a part, or generally change the entire unit.

If you want to get any replacement part – or see how much one would cost – click to enter your model number in the search bar below. Our partners at AppliancePartsPros stock almost every part with free guides on how to install them.

Best Practices For Your Window Air Conditioner

To get your AC serving long enough, you need to give it proper care. Air conditioners are damn expensive, especially the big boxes, but the good news is that they can last longer than ten years if well-maintained.  Here are some quick tips and tricks that will help you enjoy using an air conditioner for the longest time.

  • After a deep clean, straighten the fins to allow the up and down movement that promotes proper cooling.
  • Focus on cleaning the air filters more often (once a month or as needed) to allow free and clean indoor air circulation.
  • Keep the unit in the shade; if you don’t have one, get a durable cover to prevent the unit from getting damaged by elements. Shade or cover increases the lifespan.
  • Don’t change or remove anything from your AC if you’re not sure how to fix it. Call a professional to do it for you.
  • Don’t overwork your AC, use other natural cooling methods to cool your home. It helps improve the lifespan and lower the chances of AC damage.
  • On the same note, keep the AC on a few hours every day to prevent mold build-up.

Final Thoughts

See. Opening a window AC cover is not as difficult as you thought! Just a couple of screws, and you’re all set.

Just to emphasize safety, so many things can go wrong, and breaking the cover isn’t one of them. Therefore, I’d highly suggest you do a thorough background research about your window AC if you’re opening it for the first time. If the air conditioner is too high, exercise caution to keep it as balanced as possible.

Everything should just work out fine if you follow the steps I’ve shared. I hope you’ve learned a few things about your AC worth putting into practice from this post.

If we’ve answered all your troubleshooting worries, feel free to check out other similar posts below and hopefully benefit from the information therein.

Thanks for reading up to here. Enjoy your day!

I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more