I have a very small window (narrow) Can you install an A/C on it's side and run or will it burn up the compressor? Thanks Jerry

  • 3
    Some can. Some can't. Please ask a more specific question.
    – isherwood
    Jun 19, 2018 at 19:23
  • 2
    As @isherwood says, "it depends". See if you can find a model # that fits (turned on its side) your window, check the manual online (most of the time you can find installation manuals for new equipment online at the manufacturer site) and if that doesn't answer the question then post the model # here. Jun 19, 2018 at 20:05

2 Answers 2


Absolutely not on its side!!! I know of NO compressors that can be installed on there side the lubrication will not stay in the compressor and it will fail in a very short time! This is not a uninformed opinion I have EPA 608 universal license (3) and a 609 license. Laying a unit on its side during shipping is enough to destroy a unit if not left in the correct position for a few hours to 24 hours to allow the oil to return to the compressor.


Not likely. The drip runway would be useless, which could lead to indoor leaking, mold accumulation, or even dangerous condensation pooling in an unexpected and possibly mains-powered section of the guts. I've not seen an AC that was designed to fit either way (thought I've seen specifically-vertical ones).

You can always remove its back hood to visually make sure that water goes somewhere it's supposed to in that orientation, but I doubt any pre-sale info would enable you to establish that; a lot of service manual block/wiring diagrams vary from the product in your hands, and it would be hard to tell how water behaves from a flat drawing.

You might also consider a portable AC that just uses a small window opening or hole to vent instead of hold the entire AC unit.

  • Water is not the problem the problem is the oil in the system will not be in the compressor, no oil in your car the motor may run for 2-3 minutes same with an a.c. unit. I would agree with using a portable though (not on its side LOL)
    – Ed Beal
    Jun 19, 2018 at 21:10
  • you mention another problem, and i've see that warning with mini-fridge compressors (but not ACs for some reason), but i mention water from experience; i had a major problem with one that was simply un-level, not to mention what 90deg off would cause...
    – dandavis
    Jun 20, 2018 at 10:26
  • I did not down vote because water can be a problem if not tilted to the outside. All compressors use mineral oil, pag or Poe oil. If the compressor has no oil it will fail, many compressors are shipped with the proper oil charge because this is import And both the amount and type based on the type of Freon.
    – Ed Beal
    Jun 20, 2018 at 13:29
  • @EdBeal: I agree about the compressor being a more immediate problem, and it sounds like you're an expert on that... I'm saying even if it managed to work for a while, that could meanwhile cause damage to more than the AC as a result of the condensation (mold remediation is expensive) as well as the potential safety hazard; we are worth more than ACs!
    – dandavis
    Jun 20, 2018 at 14:12
  • That is what I thought, just like a refrig. Thanks for the reinforcement of what I thought I knew. Jun 20, 2018 at 16:39

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.