Window air conditioning and dorms...

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  #1  
Old 05-06-09, 06:02 PM
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Question Window air conditioning and dorms...

Hey all,
new to the forum. I'm a student at CSULB living in the dorms (Been there for a while). I've been looking for some air conditioning for the dorms but I don't want to spend $400+ on a portable air conditioner. I went on craigslist to see some window units, they're incredibly cheap, I'd say about $20-$40 and that I can afford.

Well here's the thing. My dorm is made up of a solid brick wall and one large window. I can't put the air conditioner through the window and let 80% hang outside because there's a metal screen that cannot be removed or modified at all (housing rule).

So I was thinking, I have a good engineering and science background, maybe I could just rig something up...

what I was thinking is placing the back of the air conditioner to the window screen and let it rest on some sort of small table or stand of equal length to the wall with a catch bucket or something like that on the bottom for water runoff.

I wouldn't mind spending the extra cash for a tiny stand and bucket, but a $200 - $400 portable air conditioner just doesn't do the job and they're really not that portable. I used to have one. Had to lug the entire thing around just to drain it =(

If you guys want a diagram of it, just tell me, I can make one in a paint program...

So what do you guys think, would this be a good idea or bad? If its a bad idea, are there any suggestions to make it better? or links of some kind. Any sort of direction or inspiration to make this setup work would be nice.

However if it absolutely CANNOT work, please just say so and why.

Remember, I have an engineering background so I can make and modify just about anything as long as its not the wall directly or window/screen.

Thank you so much guys! I really need the help!
 
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Old 05-06-09, 06:47 PM
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Hi RET and welcome to the board. Just placing the unit in front of the screen will not be real effective for blowing the waste heat out. However, and perhaps this is what you planned, building a frame that holds the ac unit inside the room and seals up against the entire window opening so that the inside and outside air are isolated, well that might just work. Think of a rack mounted air conditioner that you can position in front of the window when needed, with a full enclosure around it sealed to the frame.

Good Luck,
Bud
 
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Old 05-06-09, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Bud9051 View Post
Hi RET and welcome to the board. Just placing the unit in front of the screen will not be real effective for blowing the waste heat out. However, and perhaps this is what you planned, building a frame that holds the ac unit inside the room and seals up against the entire window opening so that the inside and outside air are isolated, well that might just work. Think of a rack mounted air conditioner that you can position in front of the window when needed, with a full enclosure around it sealed to the frame.

Good Luck,
Bud
Thank you! and Thanks for the reply Bud,
Yes, I was thinking about insulating the entire frame of the window for the exception of a gap where the air conditioner would slip in and press against the shield.

Here's an image of what I'm planning to do...
www.csulb.edu/~flima/DIAGRAM/diagram.JPG


You wouldn't happen to have a physical example with image or diagram that you were mentioning?
 
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Old 05-07-09, 03:07 AM
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No example of all inside as you need. You will have to consider where the air is drawn into the outside heat exchanger, as it normally uses outside air to cool the outside air. You wouldn.t want to use inside air for that.

Bud
 
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Old 05-07-09, 04:42 AM
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you might be in luck if
a... the a/c you buy actually still cools. Test it first?
b... you can buy a small stepladder in place of the table, that would work
AFAIK the hard parts:
side vents on the AC might also expel hot air additionally to the usual.
getting it flush enough against the screen. tilting the above stepladder with
several 2x4 as support from lower steps? I imagine tilting hazards.
 
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Old 05-07-09, 06:14 AM
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Welcome aboard.

I don't want to break the party here, but does the dorm allow you to plug in an A/C?

Reason I ask this is that when I was in the dorm, they said "No A/C allowed due to the outlets are not heavy enough to support the amp draw of the A/C units"

My dorm was built in '68, so we had to use fans. Now I'm jelous, they now have central air in the dorm!
 
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Old 05-07-09, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Jay11J View Post
Welcome aboard.

I don't want to break the party here, but does the dorm allow you to plug in an A/C?

Reason I ask this is that when I was in the dorm, they said "No A/C allowed due to the outlets are not heavy enough to support the amp draw of the A/C units"

My dorm was built in '68, so we had to use fans. Now I'm jelous, they now have central air in the dorm!
In the rules, there are is no mention about air conditioners, so everything is fair game as long as it doesn't hang out of the window.

I didn't think about the side vents for the air conditioners, that could cause some problems for heat being pushed into the room. I wonder if there was a way to just funnel that to the screen?

I was thinking about making a plexiglass shield that funnels open on both sides like wings and seals the outside? is that too much?
 
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Old 05-07-09, 10:41 AM
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How old is the dorm? Have you asked the hall director?
 
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Old 05-07-09, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Jay11J View Post
How old is the dorm? Have you asked the hall director?
30 years or so, and no need to. We have a book that is given to us at the beginning of the year that states every rule in detail and the mentioning of air conditioners is completely ok as long as it doesnt hang out of the window.
 
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Old 05-07-09, 01:40 PM
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I hear what Jay is saying, 40 dorm rooms times 15 amps each would be 600 amps all by itself. Maybe they are hoping the screens will prevent the use of air conditioners LOL, or perhaps the dorm won't be occupied during the really hot summer months. Strange they would leave that option open. Do they allow heat plates, coffee pots and such?

Might be best to ask them before you invest too much effort as it certainly would be a pain to build something and then not be able to use it. They do rule no matter what.

Bud
 

Last edited by Bud9051; 05-07-09 at 01:42 PM. Reason: addition
  #11  
Old 05-07-09, 02:01 PM
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Coffee pots yes, heat plates, no. Heat plates are more of a fire hazard than coffee machines. Our fire alarm system here is very particular, even burnt popcorn will set it off like crazy.

As for air conditioners, I've even seen people lug in those heavy 'portable' air conditioners. Heck, like I said, I even had one a while ago. I'm just not looking for something like that in the dorms, its too big and needs to be lugged around to drain, so it doesn't seem like its a problem at all in regards to the air conditioners being in the dorms.

What it boils down to is cost and room (also room to move in and out from the semesters, when I had my portable, it was so large I couldn't stick it inside my camper, without tipping it, which is bad).

Originally Posted by Bud9051 View Post
I hear what Jay is saying, 40 dorm rooms times 15 amps each would be 600 amps all by itself. Maybe they are hoping the screens will prevent the use of air conditioners LOL, or perhaps the dorm won't be occupied during the really hot summer months. Strange they would leave that option open. Do they allow heat plates, coffee pots and such?

Might be best to ask them before you invest too much effort as it certainly would be a pain to build something and then not be able to use it. They do rule no matter what.

Bud
 
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