Get My AC Into This Terrible Small Window
May 26, 2016 7:15 PM   Subscribe

Our bedroom has a very old window. How on earth can we get a window AC in it?

Each "side" is only about 15" wide, which is too small for our unit. I assume other people on earth have figured out a way to deal with this problem- pop out the panes? Replace the window with another type of window that better accommodates a window unit (it's terribly thin and needs to be replaced any way)? Help me, AskMeta. I'd rather not buy a portable unit, as Consumer Reports does not seem impressed with their performance.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
If you don't need the window during heating season you could just permanently install a window unit and frame it in. Use covers during the winter.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:58 PM on May 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

I think 'casement ac unit' is the magical phrase to find fitting units.
posted by asockpuppet at 7:59 PM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Portable ACs are expensive and loud, but they *do* work, and they are the same price as most casement units (there are not very many casement units). It's not at all the same value for money, though the flexibility is not a terrible thing to have.

But if you own the place, it's probably worth window for see what you can get that might be more accommodating. Also, again if you own the place, you might consider a wall unit or a mini-split unit (these are very expensive compared to either window or portable, but are more efficient and way better resale than a temporary solution) instead.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:19 PM on May 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yes, you need either a casement window AC or a portable AC. I have a portable AC and it works okay, but I would not be too optimistic about its efficacy in a high humidity environment.
posted by Automocar at 9:11 PM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Those appear to be the same aluminum slider frame windows I've got in my house but smaller. The windows pop right out (move them to the centre of the casement and then lift up until the bottom clears the track, pull towards you). The track will accommodate a 3/8" plywood. I cut a piece of plywood the same size as one of the windows with a hole to allow for the A/C unit. The plywood installs the same as the glass. Easy Peasy.

First step is to remove if installed on the A/C the accordion expansion pleats.

Your setup will be a bit more complicated as you'll need two pieces. One the height of the window to fill the gap beside A/C placed in a lower corner. The second cut to fit the gap above the A/C unit. Place the first vertical piece in the outside track and the second piece in the inside track. When you cut the second piece make it about an inch wider than the opening. That way where the two pieces over lap you can screw them together.

For best results paint or otherwise finish the outside of the plywood before installing. Because my window faces south and no one can see it I used a spray adhesive to adhere a layer of heavy duty aluminum foil to the outside to reflect away some of the solar insolation.

I use a strip of gaffer tape to seal the unit to the wood. I also drilled to holes in the top flange so I could screw the unit right to the wood.
posted by Mitheral at 1:12 AM on May 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

My small window is a different shape,but in summer I remove the glass, hold the a/c in with wood, and fill the rest of the space with Plexiglass so I don't lose all the light.
posted by metasarah at 4:09 AM on May 27, 2016

The big question is whether you own the house. If you do not, then you probably shouldn't make any modifications to the window.

If you do own the house you could look into cutting a hole in the wall (and properly framing, trimming it, etc.) for the ac unit or you can modify or replace the window.
posted by mareli at 5:23 AM on May 27, 2016

I live in an area that has lots of nineteenth-century homes with original windows (casement windows; really narrow windows...), and the owners generally opt for portable A/C units.

If you do own the house you could look into cutting a hole in the wall

I did that in the master bedroom in my first house. While more convenient than window A/C in several respects, my current tenant wanted me to take out the unit and fill in the hole, and...the price quote to do that started at $2K because it would be necessary to replace all the gable siding. So, small price outlay to cut and frame the hole, possibly large price outlay to repair it later if you change your mind.
posted by thomas j wise at 6:37 AM on May 27, 2016

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