How to keep your loft bed cool when it's above your window A/C unit?
May 29, 2012 11:44 AM   Subscribe

It's the classic New York summer conundrum. How do I keep my loft bed cool when it lies ABOVE my window unit air conditioner?

I tried pointing the A/C slats upward, but they still hit below the bed.

Has anyone tried putting a powerful fan right under the unit to push the cold air up? It'd have to reach up a good 4' to 5'.

(PS: I had to loft my bed b/c my room's only 6' X 8'. Damn you, New York rental prices! Oh--and ps, since I'm a renter, buying and installing a ceiling fan isn't exactly a cost-effective option.)
posted by manzanita to Home & Garden (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'd find something firm and light and inexpensive (for some reason those poster-sized $8 Ikea picture frames with the almost-weightless acrylic "glass" strike me as perfect), and hang/prop it on an angle in front of the AC to "ramp" the air up towards the ceiling.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:47 AM on May 29, 2012

Can you move your loft a few inches away from the wall and then use something like this (or rig up your own version of it that will fit your AC unit)?
posted by Rock Steady at 11:48 AM on May 29, 2012

Oh--and ps, since I'm a renter, buying and installing a ceiling fan isn't exactly a cost-effective option.)

For what it's worth, you can buy a ceiling fan for $27 at Home Depot. I did this once, in a rental (I actually ended up with a fan that cost maybe $40 or $50). They are super cheap, super-easy to install, and when you leave, you just take it down and dab some spackle over the holes. If you install it where a ceiling light fixture is/was you can just swap it out and no one will be the wiser. It takes like, twenty minutes and makes a huge difference.

Alternatively, I had a roommate once that bought a bunch of dryer duct, undid the last wrap or two, worked that onto the vent of a window A/C and sealed it up with a combination of foamboard insulation, foam rubber weatherstripping, and tape, and then ducted the output of that A/C through a wall into another room where there were no windows but he was sleeping. This is an ugly, hacky solution, but it's pretty cheap and easy (you can use flexible heating duct if you can't find dryer duct, it comes in a big box that will have way more than you need, but it's not expensive), and it will definitely allow you to get that A/C to blow right on you.
posted by jeb at 11:59 AM on May 29, 2012 [5 favorites]

I know a lot of people that put a fan straight up like that to cool their two story lofts. It seems to work pretty darn well. And a fan is cheap.
posted by Vaike at 12:00 PM on May 29, 2012

Years ago, in Oregon, I used to use a squirrel cage fan and vinyl dryer duct to bring cold air into the bedroom of a townhouse I lived in, from an air-conditioned room. It made an inoffensive quiet hum. It was only really, really hot for a few weeks.

For your purpose, in inline booster might do. You could try a 4" version. You can use a short length on the intake side to position it right under the A/C vents, angled down into it. Position the output a few feet above where you sleep, so it can disperse.

There are cheaper options, but for something like this I'd probably try:

Inline Fan TT100 4" 115CFM 2 Speed

Dundas Jafine FD420ZW Flexible White Vinyl Duct, 4-Inches by 20-Feet

Sounds comical, but it worked well for me.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:02 PM on May 29, 2012

A cheap box fan aimed upward should do it. Here was my MacGuyvered AC-plus-fan setup in a similar loft situation a few years back. (Note the twine tied to the window latch, allowing the extreme angle without toppling. Classy!)
posted by D.Billy at 12:06 PM on May 29, 2012

I wouldn't push the cold air "up" - i'd try rigging a box fan horizontally on the opposite side or end of the bed from the air conditioner, so it will push the warmer air out and downish, "sucking" cooler air up to you in a constant stream.

Much cheaper than a ceiling fan.
posted by Miko at 12:08 PM on May 29, 2012

Response by poster: you guys are rock stars. such good suggestions. Miko, I'm trying to picture what you mean about the box fan. so you're saying put it at the level of the bed, on the opposite side of the A/C, blowing......straight down?
posted by manzanita at 3:31 PM on May 29, 2012

We use a small Vornado fan to push our window unit AC air all over. they rock, are small, not too loud and push more air than any other fan I have ever owned.
posted by SuzySmith at 3:43 PM on May 29, 2012

All correct except not straight down. In fact, SuzySmith mentioned a Vornado - that would be perfect, because you can angle it slightly down. The purpose would be to pull hot air away from the ceiling and the space above your bed, getting it moving downward so the cool air from the AC would flow up and over your bed to replace it. It's worth a try.

It's really hard to figure out how I would do it without seeing the setup of your loft, but I used to have a loft which had the end of a tall dresser at one end and the fan was placed there. It doesn't have to point entirely down, just down enough - or far enough from the nearest wall - that you aren't just creating a hot-air vortex above the bed. YOu want to be pulling warm air away from the space above the bed, encouraging the cool air to follow in its wake.
posted by Miko at 3:46 PM on May 29, 2012

Ceiling fans or a Vornado-type circulator are great options. (I've always felt that a fan running air horizontally is worse than useless, as I just end up feeling clammy. But nobody I run into seems to get this these days.)

You might get what you need with a vent deflector, though. Here's a longer one.
posted by dhartung at 8:37 PM on May 29, 2012

Response by poster: Wow, you guys are good. For some reason I missed the last answers on here. snuffleupagus, if you're still around (or anyone else knows), what would I do with the inline fan? I wouldn't just attach the vinyl duct to the output area of the AC and put the other end up by my bed?

(The output of the A/C is a 4"X 8" rectangle, btw. The bed is maybe a foot away horizontally, and maybe 4 feet up vertically).

Also, if anyone knows...where would I put the vornado? From what I gather, it would go best on the OPPOSITE side of the bed from the A/C, pointing AWAY from the bed (into the room) and slightly downward?

So like this:

I'm so bad at these kinds of things.
posted by manzanita at 1:11 PM on June 23, 2012

Response by poster: Oops, let me see if that "diagram" works again:


Ha, no idea if this gets top-posted when I add a message of if it's still buried away...
posted by manzanita at 3:56 PM on June 23, 2012

The last diagram looks right to me. Just imagine airflow coming out of your AC, and being PULLED by the fan which is sucking air from the AC and pushing it out in the opposite direction. You lie on the bed between these two things, which means the fan is continually sucking cool air from the AC over your body.
posted by Miko at 9:01 PM on June 23, 2012

Response by poster: Ok, worth a try! Thanks again!
posted by manzanita at 4:22 PM on June 24, 2012

Wow, you guys are good. For some reason I missed the last answers on here. snuffleupagus, if you're still around (or anyone else knows), what would I do with the inline fan? I wouldn't just attach the vinyl duct to the output area of the AC and put the other end up by my bed?

So, the way I did this was to duct-and-foil tape a shoebox to the front of the A/C and mounted the dryer duct to that. The fan for this application should be near the end of the duct run I'd think--mounted at the top of the vertical rise, and with the end of the output duct ending slightly below the fan. But you can play around with where you put the fan to get the best airflow before you permanently affix everything. It's a good idea to buy a longer duct than you need so you can sacrifice a few feet to experimentation.
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:13 AM on June 25, 2012

Terrible diagram:

                   //              \\
                  ||         __________| 
                  ||         #        #

posted by snuffleupagus at 10:25 AM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

And if you want to use the A/C normally during the day, include some slack on the dryer vent to be able to open the shoebox and let the air from the vent flow into the lower room area normally. (Bottom of shoebox cutout to match AC vent, duct attached to cutout shoebox lid which flips down. I puched little holes for a shoelaces on either side to hold it closed at night. Hey, I said it looked comical.)
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:38 AM on June 25, 2012

slack on the duct, that is.
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:39 AM on June 25, 2012

Response by poster: Whoa. You're MacGyver! Thanks...I think I'll have to read this over one more time before it sinks in, but it sounds promising.
posted by manzanita at 7:35 PM on June 26, 2012

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