A Sure Sign of Summer
Posted on June 21, 2008 Posted by John Scalzi 16 Comments
Not unlike the swallows returning to Capistrano, the in-window air conditioner returning to my office window heralds the start of summer around these here parts. The room of the house my office is in is both the warmest room in the summer and the coldest in the winter, thanks to poor air circulation and its position in the house (facing northwest, which means it gets a lot of sun in the summer and bears the brunt of arctic wind blasts in the winter), and so in both seasons requires additional cooling and heating. The first day of summer seems like a fine time to drop it in. If last year is any indication, it’ll stay in until October (at which time it will not have been run for a month and will look increasingly silly in the window sill). Welcome, in-window air conditioner! Your cooling presence is appreciated.
Out of curiosity, how much did you pay for one of those and do you recommend them? How big of a window do you need?
The reason I ask is that the place I live doesn’t have A/C in my room. I’m in Santa Cruz, so heat isn’t a horrible problem (I live near the ocean, so it doesn’t get too hot all the time), but it does get just a little too warm for my animals (I have lizards, and yes, they do like heat, but they need a basking area, which is hot, and a cooling area, which is more like room temperature, so the heat just won’t do).
Do you recommend one of those little guys or maybe a little portable one would be fine? (one of those mini swamp coolers on wheels)?
Thanks for answering my questions, if you have time. I appreciate it. I’m lost on the subject :P.
I have no idea how much mine cost (it was a gift), but you can get a window-seated air conditioner suitable for cooling a single room for under $100 at most home improvement stores/big box retailers. Mine’s a Kenmore (i.e., from Sears), and it works pretty well.
My office is on the north side of the house. I finally purchased some window shades from Target that block out a significant amount of light. They keep the room from completely roasting in the afternoon. I’m in North Texas and right now it’s 87F. Be very glad that you’ll be spending much time indoors when you visit Austin. (But you must take your camera and head downtown one evening if you can. There’s some fabulous neon down there, and the State Capitol is beautiful at night.)
As far as window size goes, almost doesn’t matter. ACs come in different sizes based on the size of the space that needs cooled. The range of square footage is on the boxes, or on the sign on the shelf at the store. Most ACs don’t fit perfectly anyway, so they have accordion panels that pull out to fill the gaps. That’s what the “pleats” are in the picture above.
Alternatively, yes, you can get an AC that sits on the floor. They cost about twice as much as window units.
Of course spray bottles with little battery-powered fans cost five bucks, so there’s those, too. XD
Well the reason I asked about the size was because my wind slides horizontally, not vertically, and isn’t a huge window. So if the thing wouldn’t fit that would do me no good.
Actually, mini swamp coolers aren’t too expensive. I just don’t know how well they work. They come with ones meant for a room for around 70-150 bucks.
I have 4 AC’s. Haven’t yet put them in. Very happy about that. We get a very nice sea breeze and so far the summer has been gorgeous but mild. Lucky us!
An alternative is to plant shade. A row of tall growing, straight growing trees. Yes, it would take a while for the trees to grow to the right size. But they provide protection against both sun and wind to some extent.
We have trees directly below the office. They’re not big enough yet.
SMD: Well if it’s not an extremely tall window, couldn’t you put the AC unit in sideways?
The joys of Florida. The A/C is on pretty much year round.
Yeah, I know how hot it gets in Ohio (I lived there long enough!), but at least in Ohio it cools down a lot after the sun goes down. Not here.
It gets cold enough for pants maybe 5 days a year here, and if I wait long enough to go outside, I can still wear shorts.
Here in lovely San Antonio, it’s at least 95 every day (we’re just 60 miles south of Austin, John) from mid-May through late October. It doesn’t get below 90 until about midnight, sometimes later.
We just bought a condo (summer house) in Traverse City, Michigan. See paragraph one and think: EVERY DAY, EVERY YEAR.
Sigh. Looking forward to seeing you at ArmadilloCon in August. Austin is a really nice and interesting place. Katz’s Deli, Daily Grill… oh yum…
It’s a bit of an unusual year over here in Japan. It’s the first time in 4 years that we haven’t needed the AC in May. It’s not that hot where we are, rarely gets above 95, but the humidity is a killer to this Kansas boy.
I would take the 100 degree, 20% humidity Kansas summer over the 85 degree, 95% humidity Japan summer any day.
SMD / NWT: You absolutely can’t mount an AC unit sideways. Well, Ok you could but that will kill it and also it won’t work.
They are a little harder to find, but they do make some window units that are taller and less wide – specifically for purposes like yours.
here’s one at Lowes: http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=165394-70213-FAK104R1V&lpage=none
How lucky you can wait until now to turn on the A/C. I’ve had it on since March, lol! Welcome to Mississippi!
My home-office is on the house’s east side here in Delaware and with the dual-Xeon workstation, I do not need to heat the 9×9 room in the winter.
By the beginning of May, though, the AC needs to be deployed or the computer will begin to thermally degrade, with the analog secondary-graphics port on the GPU card dropping first, so I lose my second LCD display. The digital will hang in there for a few more degrees.
Indian Summer lasts into October but I usually can store the window unit by Halloween.
But, yeah, when the AC returns to Capistrano is the beginning of summer in my house.
I think I have exactly the same model as the one pictured. I also have windows that slide horizontally. My solution to the ‘gap’ that occurs when mounting such an AC in such a window is to plug the gap above the AC with a piece of wallboard cut to fit (there’s a small ridged channel on top of this AC that the board fits into, and the sides are held by by the sliding window and the window frame, no nails required), and use the little waffle pieces that came with the AC to close around the sides of the AC. It’s not perfect, there are still some very small holes where things don’t quite match up, but it works pretty well.