Way Cool?

I remember my many years with window A.C. units, and remember the fall struggles to get them out (easier, though, than the spring struggles to get them in). But is there a joke here? None of the family members ever found my request for help with this task funny.

Could this also be a geezer alert? I think current units are better conditioned for winter, so they are commonly left in all year. But maybe I’m wrong about that.


  1. Sorry, nothing on the concept in general. But it took me quite a while before I was comfortable with the scene being a window with some branches visible.

    At first it looked like they were trees and the window was rotated from landscape to portrait. That added a new level of confusion to the situation.

    Is the big dark shelf it’s sitting on (and projecting well into the room) significant? Or the lack of panes above the unit?

  2. The comical twist is that she is treating her request for A/C help as equivalent to a commitment for life: the pose she has taken is the “bended knee” traditionally used by gentlemen for marriage proposals.

    P.S. I agree with Darren that the branches seen through the window are drawn very strangely, but I don’t think the windowsill is significant. Modern window A/C units might not be the open leaks that they once were, but there’s no way that the accordian seals on their sides could ever insulate as well as a pane of glass (or two).

  3. I think the joke is, you look at the picture and think the person on the right is proposing. Then you look down at the caption and see that they are asking for something else.

  4. @ Carl – That’s partially amusing and only a little bit unsettling. It would appear that you may be using the wordpress app (since the replacement occurred before you submitted the comment, which doesn’t happen in a normal browser). I did have that WP-ID once, but that was so long ago that I no longer have the address to which it was attached. The associated “mentions” URL produces only this post, probably because this the only time anyone has ever activated that feature. When I “corrected” the URL (to remove the “M”), that produced a 404 “not found”, which turned out to have a very useful “monthly archive” selector.

  5. Nope, using Firefox on Linux. It’s actually pretty standard for other comment systems (e. g. Disqus), but I hadn’t seen it in WordPress before.

  6. Many years ago, I took the one window AC unit and mounted it permanently to my daughter’s bedroom window, because my own window faced the front of the house, and hers faced the back of the house. It was rarely used, because NW Oregon generally doesn’t have punishing summer heat. On days that do get really hot, eventually the sun goes down, and everything starts to cool. So what you do is you open two windows, at opposite ends of the house, and you put a big box fan in both… one drawing cool outside air in, and one exhausting hot air. This gets you cool enough to sleep comfortably in about an hour. So I don’t have any memories of taking the AC out. YMMV.

  7. Ah yes, the box fan and open windows routine. The attic of my parents’ house had been completely renovated into a bedroom ‘suite’ for me, and I remember my Mom spent a LOT of effort opening windows, putting the fan on exhaust, then changing to the window at the other side of the house (house was in east/west position); repeat as needed. I think she finally insisted on installation of all-house air-conditioning, which was a great relief to us both. Living within a few blocks of Lake Michigan certainly added to the humidity.

  8. A few years ago, fearing having a window unit topple out and do untold damage, I ditched window units for another kind of solution. These have all the machinery inside a case that sits on the floor inside the room. They may have small rollers on the bottom, so sometimes called portable A/C units. There is a pretty wide tube going from the unit to the window, where it has the same general sort of accordion wing seals and foam stuffed in the gaps as the wall units required. And the window seal is as leaky as it would be with wall unit a/c’s, so it remains something to set up and take out twice a year. I plan to disconnect them in the next couple days.

    For the air tube to be sort of straight, the unit sits a couple feet in from the wall. After disconnecting, the unit can in theory be easily rolled to a storage area. In fact I am just going to roll them square up against the wall by the window, so not as much in the way but still a bit intrusive. That’s okay.

  9. Sawmill town in the Florida panhandle, sitting on the front porch in summer waiting for the DDT spray truck to come by and bath us.
    A.C. meant “all clear”, go play. OG alert!

  10. @ Whitey – That reminded me of a camping vacation decades ago. The mosquitos were so thick that they sent a fogger truck on periodic trips all around the campground. I have no idea what they were spraying, but as kids we were idiots and didn’t care: the area right behind the truck was the only “mosquito-free” zone.

  11. have no idea what they were spraying

    It’s insecticide. If this was long enough back, it would have likely been DDT. That was banned in 1972.

  12. The spraying I remember in the Sixties in Miami, or rather in unincorporated Dade County, was against fruit flies. It was somewhat scheduled, and you were supposed to stay inside and avoid getting sprayed. If your car was parked outside and left uncovered, it would be covered with little dots on about an inch spatter, that were believed to damage auto paint if not rinsed off fairly soon, so the cleanup became an occasion for toxic exposure by the kids.

  13. In the late fifties, my dad installed a mosquito fogger on his lawnmower. You filled a reservoir with a liquid of some sort, and when you mowed the lawn the heat of the engine vaporized the liquid and fogged at the same time. Of course, the person pushing the mower was in the fog all the time. And I used to walk in the fog with him around the yard. Maybe that explains a few things about me…

  14. The toxicity of DDT wasn’t widely understood and children were allowed to play in the clouds of spray.

  15. If you’re using those portable A/Cs, I hope it’s just for very occasional use. They have much lower efficiencies than a modern window unit. I had one in my old house, but we only had to turn it on twice a year.

  16. Thanks for that, Powers!

    I’ve all along been puzzled by how they can be single tube, and at first seeing that figured it must be divided down the middle somehow, and function as a dual tube in effect. But no! Very revelatory.

    However, even though my windows are not as impossible as the one he shows for mounting a window unit, still the seasonal terror of worrying which neighbor would be injured by a falling machine. … I guess it could be the folks whose gigantic livingroom window AC is positioned to drip condensate right where you stand to open the ground floor front door.

  17. The other problem with the “portable” A/Cs is that instead of dripping out the window, they have a tank which needs to be emptied regularly. The one my mom had for a while would overflow onto the floor instead of shutting off if you didn’t, too.

  18. @Dave, indeed my portable unit needs to be drained ; but not too often. My LG model has a “feature” of a re-evaporation cycle, where it acts as a humidifier, and delays the need for a draining.

    But dripping outside from window units is not problem-free either!

  19. When we bought our house – used – there were wall air conditioners in the two smaller bedrooms and in the “family room” behind the kitchen (for us it is our main studio) and a window a/c in the master bedroom.

    We added a window a/c in the rear of the living room as we did not want it sticking out the side of the house over the sofa and there was no place install a permanent one. We were younger and stronger then and could do so alone.

    We have had to replace the master bedroom unit twice and had the new one (and the one which replaced the new one) through the wall – only place for same is at the top of the wall (though house has eaves all around so ceiling at this point is about 6.5 ft – and with our latest one (purchased first year of pandemic) there is a remote. When we had the window unit we found out about “bird mites” bugs that almost rival bed bugs in the mess of getting rid of them (having had both at different times I can make the comparison) And we thought the little birdies singing outside our window was so nice…

    The a/c in the living room died some years ago. We bought instead one of the portable a/c’s as it was fairly soon after the bedbugs and we did not want anyone in our house (still don’t want anyone in as much as possible due to same). It spent most of it’s time unused in the back corner of the living room – but when used went in the front window or the front dining room window as the window unit remains in place to this day.

    When the bedroom a/c died in the middle of the summer 2020 and we were trying avoid having anyone come in – both due to Covid and bed bug fears we tried alternatives. I have become the little old lady who is always cold, so it was mostly for Robert. I had him bring up a standing fan from the basement, froze a block of ice, put in the ice in a bowl and the fan behind – just like the early “air cooling” used in movie theaters. Ice melted too fast. So I had the brilliant idea of bringing up the portable a/c (sleeping in the spare bedroom with him in the bed and me on the floor was rejected by him as we would “die from the dust in there”). Neither of us is even average strong any more – so we carried it upstairs together – one step at a time. We installed it in the front window – screwed everything in place. Turned it on – it no longer worked! Uninstalled it, moved it to the “teddys room” (aka the spare bedroom which is why that room is so dusty) and left it there.

    We gave up and bought a new unit and had it installed – with everything moved as far from where they would be working as possible and me hiding in the back of the living room as I was so upset at them being in the house – especially the bedroom. We hate the new unit, but it almost cools the room – turns on and off too quickly and often.

  20. @ Meryl – Does that house have radiators, or central air heating? If the latter, you could add central A/C to it. Expensive, yes, but perhaps not that much more so than all of those window units.

    P.S. The reason that private homes in German almost never have central A/C is that nobody uses forced air for heating. Radiators are standard, but some newer houses have floor heating, which is very nice.

  21. Kilby – Yes, it does have air vents for the heat. Problem is they are bottom of wall vents and a/c needs vents nearer the ceiling as cold air falls (while hot air rises, hence the low vents). Living room vents are under the sofa (and no place to move same) so the a/c would really be blocked there. It seems to be the original furnace from the 1949 when the house was built. We have been in the house 31 years and these have been the only a/c replacements. We generally only turn on the a/c in the room(s) we are in at any one time.

    Living room vents are under the sofa (and no place to move same) so the a/c would really be blocked there.

  22. If the furnace is in fact from 1949, a new one would probably pay for itself pretty rapidly.

    Not that this is relevant, just sayin’.

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