Spam (madbodger) wrote,
Spam
madbodger

Air conditioner

Back when I was living in the house on 21st street, I bought a window air conditioner. It was not expensive or fancy, but it did the job.

Then, when I moved into the house on 28th street, I brought it with me. Since I'd rewired the house with a handy 20 amp dedicated circuit right under the window, it had good power for a change. Suddenly the wheezing old unit was both quiet and powerful! It happily ran for years in that spot. We hung a sheet in the doorway to keep the cool air in without blocking the cats from coming and going as they pleased. Eventually it started to run less well and leak water, so fizzygeek and I took it apart to clean it. It was full of algae and assorted muck and gunk. A nasty, filthy job. She said she never wanted to do that again, if it ever needed cleaning, I could do it myself or we could buy a new air conditioner.

Eventually it broke down, which turned out to be the thermostat. I tried to get it to work again, but they're fiddly things and it just didn't want to. I priced a new one, but at $60, it was tempting to just buy a new unit. I decided to wait and see if someone threw out an air conditioner from which I could salvage a thermostat. In the meantime, I had seen a big one at a friend's house sitting on the floor. He explained that his office window was too small for it. I offered to buy him a new unit that would fit his window if I could have the big one. He cheerfully agreed, and we hauled the monster home. It did a great job, and could cool the whole house if we let it.

Eventually, I made good on my promise to let fizzygeek have her own room. Since I basically occupied the rest of the house, I let her have the large room we'd been sharing. But that left my room with no air conditioner, and we spent a fair amount of time in there. One day, I saw an air conditioner out in the neighbor's trash. I gleefully went over and extracted the thermostat. It turns out that the screw locations matched, and the old knob fit too. The sensor probe was a little different size, but I lashed it into position with a twist-tie, and it worked fine!

Unfortunately, the window in the other room was a different type, and didn't have a channel for the air conditioner to sit in. I tried using a heavy-duty shelf bracket, but it was too narrow. I tried a piece of Unistrut, but that didn't fit either. I needed something to keep the bottom in place so the heavy back didn't come down, pushing the unit crooked (or worse). I realized that since the force was from one direction, an L bracket would be sufficient. But where to find one?

I had some old Steel City shelf brackets that had been abused when I still used cheap screws to hold things to walls. The screws had all lost their heads at once, causing a huge shelf unit carrying hundreds of pounds of stuff to come crashing down. The Steel City brackets are strong, but not that strong. The prongs that hold them into the standards were nearly torn off. I grabbed some big pliers and tried to work them the rest of the way off, but even that little abused piece of metal left was strong enough I couldn't budge it.

So I drilled the brackets, aligned them with the edge of the sash, and screwed them into the window frame.

That held the air conditioner just fine. However, when I got the new plasma screen, it would occasionally pop a breaker when I ran them at the same time. This room also had a dedicated 20 amp feed, but it wasn't under the window. I wanted a 12 gauge extension cord with a 90-degree plug I could fit behind the bookcases where the outlet was, but the best available was 9 feet long, and going around the bed would be around twice that. I could daisy-chain the extension cords, but I'm chary of doing that with high-current loads. So I made my own. I bought a 25 foot 12 gauge cord with a straight plug, whacked off the plug and a few feet of cord, and attached a 90 degree plug in its place.

That ran the air conditioner just fine. However, the cold weather has come, and it's time to close the window. So I took out the air conditioner and bracket. And, to my surprise, fizzygeek even suggested we take it apart and clean it before we hang it in the new house. However, this time, we're going to do that dirty job outside.

Tags: projects
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