Installation and Disposal of AC Units

AC unit in NYC Apartment. Image credit: Traci Lawson on

Failure to install or dispose of an air conditioning unit correctly can lead to fines ranging from as little as $100 to $1000. It could be hard to survive the summer heat in New York without an air conditioning unit. There are a few tips New Yorkers should recognize about the installation and disposal of air conditioning units. The Department of Buildings has also provided a set of guidelines on their website for the installation of air conditioning units that could be accessed here.

If living in an apartment where the air conditioning unit was included, the landlord is responsible for maintaining the air conditioning unit in operable condition. If there is no air conditioning unit present, you will likely need to purchase one to endure the summer heat. Most apartments require permission for installation of air conditioning units from building management. Before purchasing or installing an air conditioning unit you have to calculate the size of the room to be cooled so that you buy an air conditioning unit with enough capacity. Air conditioning units require a lot of electricity and should use its own outlet; therefore you must make sure that the electrical service is adequate.

If you are going to put the air conditioning unit in a window, ensure that the window and frame where the unit will be installed are in good condition. Every air conditioning manufacturer has its own installation instructions. It is essential to follow the directions and to make sure the unit is installed securely. To support the unit from underneath, firmly fasten it from the inside with angles using metal brackets, mounting, or rails. Supporting metal brackets, interior angles, etc. should be secured to the building and must be strong enough for the size and weight of the air conditioning unit. Install the air conditioning unit so it remains in place when the window is opened, or affix it so that the window can’t be opened accidentally. It is important to tilt the unit slightly to provide water drainage, but don’t over tilt. Do not use loose objects to support the leveling of the air conditioning unit, do not place anything on top of the air conditioning unit, and do not block fire escape windows or other exits with the air conditioning unit. Periodically check on the position of the air conditioning unit and the condition of the window frame to make sure that the unit remains supported and secure.

There is no work permit requirement or equipment use permit to install a common window air conditioning unit. Only air conditioning units exceeding three tons or 36,000 BTU per hour require a permit. BTU’s measure the quantity of heat a conditioning unit can remove from a room per hours. Any person who shall violate, or refuse, or neglect to comply with any provisions New York State law could be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars, or by imprisonment not exceeding six months, or both. If the violations continue, the offender will be subject to a $250 penalty for each month there is non-compliance.

You may be wondering how one throws out an air conditioning unit. To dispose of an air conditioning unit, you have to make an appointment to have the Department of Sanitation to remove the chlorofluorocarbons because air conditioning units contain Freon or chlorofluorocarbon gas. They will then tag the air conditioning unit and collect it on your next recycling day. You must place the unit with the back facing the street and it must be tagged for pick-up in order to be collected.  Only tagged appliances will be picked up. You may cancel a removal appointment no later than 4 PM the day before the appointment. If the appliance is at the curb, you must bring it back inside before the appointment date. To schedule an appointment to dispose of your air conditioning unit please click here. Failure to follow the regulations for disposing air conditioning units can result in a minimum of a $100 fine.


By: David Mateen (David is a CityLaw Intern and New York Law School Student, Class of 2019.)

2 thoughts on “Installation and Disposal of AC Units

  1. I was able to make an appointment for Wednesday October 14th to get an air conditioner picked up, but it says it must be “tagged”. What does that mean and how do I get it tagged?


  2. I need information on how to dispose of my old air-conditioned units, TV and other electrical appliances. Waiting for your response, Trevor Duncan 85 Riverdale road valley stream N.Y 11581. awaiting response thank you

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