What Does the Window Air Conditioner’s Vent Open or Closed Mean?

An aperture in the unit where external air may enter the room and indoor air can be evacuated is called a vent on a window air conditioner. When the vent is set to “open,” fresh air from outside can enter the space.

This raises the pressure in the space, which pushes some of the interior air outside. The window air conditioner just circulates and recycles the air in the room when the vent is set to “closed.”

Define Vent.

Older windows and wall-mounted AC units have vents that look like little black knobs in the air inlet grill from which cold air is pushed into the room. These vents are also known as “damper” switches. The vent can be opened by pulling on the damper, and closed by pressing it in. Modern variants only have a “exhaust” button in place of the damper.

It will seem contradictory to open the vent and let the cool air leave if you are using the air conditioner to chill a room. So why did you initially open the vent? One of the many reasons you might want to open the vent is to bring fresh air from outside in to replace stale air from within.

Instead of recycling interior air when the window air conditioner is set to “Fan Only,” you could blow in colder outdoor air. Due to the combined body heat of the residents, the temperature of recycled room air tends to warm up. If the chilly conditioned air becomes too dry, opening the vent will also be a good option because window air conditioners remove moisture from the air.

The Operation of a Window Air Conditioner

These semi-portable cooling devices are mounted on the window, as their name suggests. The majority of models include insulating pads and mounting brackets to facilitate homeowners’ do-it-yourself installations. Window air conditioners are available in a range of cooling capacities to meet diverse cooling (or heating) needs.

Warm inside air is drawn through evaporator (or cooling) coils on the front air intake grill in order for window AC systems to function. The refrigerant in these coils is cycled and kept cold by the AC compressor. By removing both heat and moisture from the warm air, the evaporator on the front intake grill cools it.

While the moisture condenses to form condensate, which drains out via the window air conditioner’s external portion, the cooled air is blown back into the space. The fan in the AC unit cools the hot refrigerant as it passes through coils at the unit’s back. The refrigerant is then forced by the compressor through a tiny coil opening, further reducing its temperature before returning to the coils on the front intake grill for the subsequent cycle of air cooling.

Will More Power Be Used If the Vent Is Opened?

Utility costs wouldn’t be much affected if a window air conditioner’s vent was occasionally opened. The compressor of the air conditioner, which consumes a lot of power, will have to work harder if the vent is kept open for prolonged periods of time. To reduce your electric bill, it is wise to only open the vents when absolutely essential and for brief periods of time.

Do You Need a Certain Size Window Air Conditioner?

Bigger is not always better when it comes to AC units. Take measurements of your window and the area of the room where it will be put before buying a unit. The professionals at the hardware or appliance store will recommend the best brand and size of AC for your room armed with this knowledge.

BTUs, or British Thermal Units, are used to gauge an AC’s cooling capacity. A 7,000–8,000 BTU air conditioner is often advised for rooms with a floor area of 250 square feet. On the other hand, 300 to 425 square foot spaces require 10,000 to 12,000 BTUs of cooling power. Rooms greater than 425 square feet should have air conditioners with a cooling capacity of at least 14,000 BTUs.

Other Elements That May Impact Your Window AC’s Efficiency

You’ll need to tell the appliance store’s professionals about more than just the floor space and window dimensions. These include the location of the AC unit, the room’s ceiling height, the number of doors and windows, and the typical occupancy of the space. This additional information will aid the professionals in choosing the ideal window air conditioner model and size for you.

Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.

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