Air Conditioning 101: What NYC Renters Need to Know

Brown brick building facade in Midtown, New York, with outside fire escapes and windows with room air conditioners

Malory Wood, with The Missing Ink

As the seasons change and we enter spring, temperatures are on the rise. It is time to put away the heaters and pull out the air conditioners. New York City is famed for its historic buildings, and air conditioning units are the main way NYC tenants stay cool. We’ve devised an air conditioning guide for you to beat the heat this summer in the smartest way… it’s going to be a hot one!


If you are renting an apartment in NYC, you need to know this: unless it explicitly states otherwise in your lease, YOU are responsible for the installation of your wall unit, not your property manager, superintendent, or landlord.

handsome young man electrician cleaning air filter on an indoor unit of air conditioning in a client house

Many units are generally user-friendly, and simple enough to install yourself. However, if you are unsure how to properly install your unit, there are many professionals qualified to come and set it up for you. TaskRabbit and similar apps can bring local handymen to your door, to get your unit set up safely and securely.



NYC has a law that mandates air conditioning units six stories and above to be secured by metal brackets. It is against the law to have a wall unit at tall heights with no mounting rails or brackets. NYC takes the possibility of a window unit falling out very seriously. If this occurs, you are also responsible for the damage.

Some landlords will provide you with brackets, but they will generally ask you to pay for the installation yourself. While this can be a pain, it’s better than the alternative. Nobody wants to deal with the aftermath of a fallen AC unit.



Savings, finances, economy and home budget

If you have a choice of location of your future NYC apartment, you may want to select a mid-building unit. Your energy bill will vastly be reduced and you will reap the benefits from the unit directly above and below you. As the old saying goes: “Heat rises. Cool air sinks.” The best of both worlds.

Choosing a unit that faces north also may be in your best interest to save some bucks. Units facing south tend to be warmer in the city due to delayed sundown. Additionally, apartments with opposite facing windows will create a breeze and keep the unit cooler when open. Think of it as a homemade breezeway.


If you are lucky enough to have ceiling fans in your NYC apartment, congratulations! If not, it is wise to purchase a floor fan to circulate air throughout the unit. A consistent “breeze” is proven to make you feel more comfortable, and will ultimately cut down on your electricity bill, too!


The majority of NYC apartments come with vents in the floor or ceiling. Vents can open and close, and can help you direct air flow. Considering the placement of vents is important when setting up ACs, fans, and other temperature regulation systems.

Digital ThermostatThermostat

Now this is SUPER important! If you have a thermostat in your unit, you need to become best friends with it. If you have manual adjustments, you will save money by customizing a “air conditioning schedule”.

Turn the thermostat on Auto when you are home to your desired temperature. The moment the air within the unit surpasses that temperature, the A.C. will turn on until the air reaches the optimal temperature again.

When you leave for work, errands, etc., place the thermostat several degrees higher than normal so it does not turn on as often when you are not home. Place the thermostat lower the moment you return home. Do not manually turn the thermostat on and off throughout the day… this will totally amp up your electricity bill!


Whether you have an air conditioning unit or central air, cleaning your filters and replacing with new ones are a must! Not only will you be removing toxins and chemicals from the air you breath, you will be removing dust buildup and obstructions to ensure better airflow and air quality.

Two guys with gadgetsRoommates

Every person runs at different core temperatures. When choosing a roommate, definitely consider temperature compatibility in order to avoid conflict down the road. It may not seem that important, but if you’ve ever had a roommate who likes it way hotter or colder than you do, you know it’s a situation that’s best to avoid.

Are you on the hunt for your next apartment in NYC? Do you want the inside scoop? Do you have info to share with other NYC tenants? Check out Go Home NY to view the neighborhood of your choice and read live reviews from people just like you.


Be Heard at Go Home NY

Be heard! Leave your apartment, condo, and coop building reviews at Go Home NY! Know a building's managers are awful? Have the inside line on a perfect building? Anything in between? Express your voice and be heard. Leave a review at Go Home NY.



Be Heard at Go Home NY

Be heard! Leave your apartment, condo, and coop building reviews at Go Home NY! Know a building's managers are awful? Have the inside line on a perfect building? Anything in between? Express your voice and be heard. Leave a review at Go Home NY.

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