A Sure Sign of Summer

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.

16 Comments on “A Sure Sign of Summer”

  1. shaunduke – Shaun Duke is a podcaster, a reviewer, a blogger, and a writer. He is a host on the Hugo-nominated Skiffy and Fanty Show, a blogger at The World in the Satin Bag, a freelance editor at The Duke of Editing, and a co-owner of Young Writers Online. He also co-hosts Totally Pretentious, a movie discussion podcast, with David Annandale. Outside of fandom activities, he is a PhD candidate in English at the University of Florida, where he studies science fiction, postcolonialism, and Caribbean literature.
    SMD

    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.

  2. SMD:

    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.

  3. 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.)

  4. SMD, TMI:

    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

  5. shaunduke – Shaun Duke is a podcaster, a reviewer, a blogger, and a writer. He is a host on the Hugo-nominated Skiffy and Fanty Show, a blogger at The World in the Satin Bag, a freelance editor at The Duke of Editing, and a co-owner of Young Writers Online. He also co-hosts Totally Pretentious, a movie discussion podcast, with David Annandale. Outside of fandom activities, he is a PhD candidate in English at the University of Florida, where he studies science fiction, postcolonialism, and Caribbean literature.
    SMD

    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.

  6. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang, cranky.

    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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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…

    Dave…

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

    JJB

  12. 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.

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