Heat waves may negatively impact the economy and human life under global warming. The use of air conditioners can reduce the vulnerability of humans to heat wave disasters. However, air conditioner usage has been not clear until now. Traditional registration investigation methods are cumbersome and require expensive labor and time. This study used a Labelme image tagging tool and an available street view images database to firstly establish a monographic dataset to detect external air conditioner unit features and proposed two deep learning algorithms of Mask-RCNN and YOLOv5 to automatically retrieve air conditioners. The training dataset used street view images in the 2nd Ring Road area of downtown Beijing. The model evaluation mAP of Mask-RCNN and YOLOv5 reached 0.99 and 0.9428. In comparison, the performance of YOLOv5 was superior, which is attributed to the YOLOv5 model being better at detecting smaller target entities equipped with a lighter network structure and an enhanced feature extraction network. We demonstrated the feasibility of using street view images to retrieve air conditioners and showed their great potential to detect air conditioners in the future.