Need help purchasing new window AC unit

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Old 04-04-05, 09:16 AM
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Need help purchasing new window AC unit

The 7700 BTU/hr, 7.5 A, 115 V Frigidare window unit in the upstairs of my 1940's cape cod runs fine, but there are two things I need to improve:

1) I need a unit with a thermostat (programmable if possible). Like most older cape cods, it gets pretty hot up there, and I'm not interested in running the thing all day long.

2) The window unit sits where an old wooden casement used to be. By "used to be", I mean the unit sits in the 30" by 18" window frame. The AC unit itself is 22 x 12", and the rest of the opening was filled in rather hastily and is not well insulated at all.

What I want to do is replace the unit and have a properly insulated opening. There is a window adjacent to where the unit sits, so nobody will want to put a window in here. I would enclose the opening as tightly as possible with 2x4 framing, insulation, styrofoam sheathing and painted wood siding on the outside.

So, my questions are:

1) Size? The 7700 BTU unit works fine, but most calculators say I should be at 10,000 BTU. Room size is an awkward 40x10' with slanted ceilings. (No, I'm not interested in mounting another unit on the other side of the long room, the existing unit sits on the South side. The north side is shaded and doesn't take much heat).

2) Can I accomplish this with a window unit, or should I seek out a in-wall or through wall unit? The in-walls seem to cost double what the window units do.

3) Any brands to prefer/avoid? I'm looking at GE, Maytag, Whirlpool, and Fridigare.

Thanks in advance, guys.
 
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Old 04-05-05, 05:00 AM
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Sears should have the window shaker you want. What you need to be careful of when framing one in like this is the side vents. You must be sure they are free to pull in air and not be blocked by the framing. What's nice about the wall units is that the a/c will slide in and out of the cabinet for service and cleaning. But if you frame it right you will be able to remove the window shaker just as easy.
 
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Old 04-05-05, 08:33 PM
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If the 7700 BTU unit does the job, then stick with one with around the same BTE, say- 8000.
DON'T oversize the a/c; this will make the unit start & stop more frequently, and it will not dehumidify as well.
Most of the new units have programmable thermostats, by the way. Most brands are at least good. I like LG, GE, Panasonic, and Friedrich, although they are overpriced IMHO.
Good luck,
Andy

Oops,
I forgot--Have you considered a mini-split? They work well and don't use any window space.
 

Last edited by Andrew; 04-05-05 at 08:36 PM. Reason: More info
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Old 04-06-05, 07:38 AM
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Thanks for the help guys. I had a lenghty chat with a friend who framed a window unit in his garage, which helped clarify the need to keep the side vents free.

Andrew,

I haven't considered a mini-split. What do those look like?
 
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Old 04-06-05, 08:37 AM
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Okay, I did a little research on wairmair.net on the mini-split. I think that's a better system overall, but I'm not sure where I'd put the outdoor component (window unit sits over the roof of the attached garage, adjacent to a concrete patio).

Is a mini-split a DIY-friendly install?
 
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Old 04-06-05, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by mrchris
Okay, I did a little research on wairmair.net on the mini-split. I think that's a better system overall, but I'm not sure where I'd put the outdoor component (window unit sits over the roof of the attached garage, adjacent to a concrete patio).

Is a mini-split a DIY-friendly install?
No, it is not a DIY job. The lines between the two units will need to be brazed, pressure checked, & vacuumed. Working with refrigerants requires a certification from EPA.
 
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Old 04-07-05, 12:36 PM
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Wink

Out of the box here. That 7700 btu sound light for the 400sq ft if you use just the old sq ft way. Should be about 9000 btu there.Also instead of looking for one with a programmable tstat on it. Can just think about a timer on it.

ED
 
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Old 04-11-05, 11:05 AM
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Thanks Ed. I'll probably keep the unit I buy around 8000 BTU since the central AC system does provide some cooling to the upstairs, just not enough to do it by itself.

Here's where I'm at for 8000 BTU units. All are around 10-10.8 EER:

Mini-split system: Not happening as my local HVAC company quoted me $2-3k. I'm also not interested in running a new 240v circuit either.

Whirlpool: $158
Goldstar: $165
Kenmore: $230
Kenmore through wall: $380
GE: $249
GE through wall: $589

Is there any reason why I should shy away from Whirlpool or Goldstar?

I also think I'll purchase a window unit instead of a through wall. I sincerely doubt getting less than a perfectly tight seal around the unit will result in an extra $150 to $300 in heating costs over the next decade.
 
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