How can I install an air conditioner in a 5' wide window?
May 17, 2014 6:09 AM   Subscribe

My bedroom window is 5' wide, which seems to be too wide for the traditional air conditioner side accordion flaps to cover. The previous owners mounted a steel bar horizontally at the height of the air conditioner, installed the air conditioner all the way over on the right, and then hot-glued a piece of plexiglass to cover the leftmost 60% of the window. It looked crappy, leaked air, and let in more street noise than I'd like. Is there a better way to do it?

Keep in mind I live in New York, in a co-op where punching through the wall to put in a sleeve-mounted unit is not an option.

Options I've considered are a portable unit with a tube going to the window, or working with a handyman to make a second portable window with a screen that we would snap into the rectangular gap between the steel bar, window frame, and air conditioner.
posted by paul_smatatoes to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
second portable window with a screen

If you have someone who can do that, that's your best bet. Perhaps it could be set up as an easily interchanged window and screen. The problem with noise through the plexiglass is going to be the same, unless you make the inserted window double-pane and seal up all the cracks around it. But even then, some noise is going to come through the AC unit itself, relative to a completely closed window. Also regarding noise, when the window is partly open, even if you have a completely soundproof filler in the opening, sound will come through the gap between the two sections at the top of the lower sash. So cut a piece of foam rubber to fit into that gap to block that noise, as well as the air flow and bugs that will come through there.
posted by beagle at 6:42 AM on May 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you want to keep it open to light. Frame it in and install a lite of glass or a glass insulated unit. Otherwise check out "panel 15" at a glass shop.
posted by ok at 7:51 AM on May 17, 2014

My energy conscious friends cut a piece of rigid insulation to close the gap and painted it to match the wall. It's also a great sound damper.
posted by advicepig at 8:06 AM on May 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

Can anyone recommend a handyman/contractor in NYC who could do good work on this?
posted by paul_smatatoes at 9:35 AM on May 17, 2014

Ask around in the condo for a good handyman. Some of your neighbors have probably had someone work on this exact same problem.
posted by beagle at 11:35 AM on May 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Get a sheet of rigid foamboard insulation. Get the cheapest you can find. The price is going to vary by thickness. Cut it so it fits snugly in the space between the lower sash and the sill, and between the AC unit and the opposite side of the window. A whole sheet of foamboard is going to be more than you need and pretty cheap, so you can cut it wrong the first time and just redo it.

You can double (or triple) up the foamboard. This will help with sound insulation. (This stuff is used for sound insulation as well as thermal insulation, e.g. for sound insulation between bathrooms and adjacent rooms in a house. Thicker is better.)

Cover it with something that looks good on the inside. Or paint it, like advicepig said.
posted by nangar at 2:31 PM on May 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you're going to live there for a reasonably long time, consider a minisplit (usually Japanese brands, Mitsubishi, Daikin, etc.). More expensive, but you'd only need to make a small hole for the refrigerant lines and you could get a heat pump that would work for heating in the winter too. Also more power efficient.

I rent, and my solution is a piece of plywood, which is starting to look a bit ratty.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 6:56 PM on May 17, 2014

Not going to mark myself "right answer" but I ended up installing a Whynter ARC-110WD dual exhaust portable air conditioner, whose brackets were juuuust long enough to fit the window with ample insulation on either side.
posted by paul_smatatoes at 7:28 PM on June 16, 2014

« Older Aggressive leashed dog   |   What would happen if the US cut student tuition... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.