Air Conditioners

Most Columbia Residential units do not come with air conditioners, but residents are welcome to purchase one and have it professionally installed in their unit. Air conditioners must be installed safely and per manufacturer's instructions.

Air conditioners that are installed improperly are safety hazards and are considered a violation by the New York City Department of Buildings. University buildings are inspected regularly by building staff and engineers to identify unsafe conditions, and air conditioners are frequently found to be installed incorrectly. 

For safety reasons, all window and portable air conditioners must be professionally installed and uninstalled. Building staff may not assist with AC installation. For assistance with installation, residents are welcome to contact Clinton Supply Co. (1256 Amsterdam Avenue, (212) 222-8245) to arrange installation services for a fee. Other local hardware stores may also provide these services.

Please keep the following in mind:

  • Select a unit that is properly sized for the space to be cooled.
  • Select an energy-efficient unit identified with an Energy Star label. This will reduce electric costs and save energy.
  • The unit should be fastened securely from the inside with angles or by otherwise fastening it to the interior window frame.
  • Any unit supported from underneath on the exterior should be supported using metal brackets that are properly secured. Loose objects such as wood blocks or bricks are considered safety hazards and cannot be used.
  • The air conditioner should be slightly tilted to provide adequate water drainage and prevent leaking into the apartment or other apartments.
  • Do not block fire escapes or any other exit with an air conditioner unit. Window AC's cannot be installed on any window that faces a fire escape. Portable AC's may be installed in such windows, but residents should contact their superintendent to confirm the proper unit before installation.
  • Change the air conditioner filter at least once every couple of months during the cooling season. A dirty air conditioner filter will increase electric costs and waste energy.
  • For more information on proper sizing and energy efficient air conditioners, please visit or
  • Upon move-out, AC's must be uninstalled and removed from the apartment. Residents who leave behind an AC will be charged for its removal.

For more window air conditioner installation information tips, please visit NYC Buildings.