Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ghetto Central AC

Okay so you can take the boy outta the ghetto but ya can't take the ghetto outta the boy I guess....
Even though its been freakishly cold here in July I knew that it was only a matter of time until we were sweltering in 100 deg heat. With the babies being here for the nanny share I didn't like the idea of them overheating in this poorly insulated old house, so I came up with this idea for...

Ghetto Central AC

Bought a highly rated, by Consumer Reports, Kenmore window unit at my local Sears. Have to admit I was impressed, they had it in stock and it was waiting for me on the loading dock when I drove down there.

I purchased a 12,000BTU model which is slightly bigger than I needed to cool the two front rooms of the house...My plan was to push the cold air to other areas of the house to attempt to get this one window unit to cool like 800 sq ft.




Just an example of the ghetto-tastic-ness of the install. I didn't want to screw in the metal sash locks so I just tapped a couple of shims in between the sashes instead. Just with this, I can tell you, that AC isn't going anywhere unless someone tries to hang on it from the outside or something...





Went to home despot to buy some fans and they had this knock-off of the 'Voranado' fan for under $20, I bought two. This one is clamped to the book shelf and pushes the cold air from the TV room (where the AC is mounted) to the front room or the babies room. It's mounted high enough that the kids can't get their fingers inside the guard. These little knock-offs do push a decent amount of air. With just this fan pushing the cold air into the front room the temperatures between the two rooms are pretty equal.





Next is this big fan we got from our friend Big D. This fan stands in the door way and pushes the cold air out of the TV room and down the hallway and into the bathroom and the bedroom. This fan pushes a lot of air and you can definitely feel the cool air flowing into the bedroom. It doesn't end up super chilling the bedroom or anything but it does seem to keep it cooler.




But, how to get the cool air into the kitchen? Which is the hottest room in the house because of all the east facing windows? This is the super ghetto part....

When I was at Home Despot buying the fans I also bought this box of 10" insulated ducting. Now if you're doing a real heat-ac job you should never, ever use this flex duct... Flex duct is only used by lazy, low quality heating contractors.





My thought was to thread this ducting through our chimney chase and into the TV room. One thing I didn't picture correctly in my head was how dang big the stuff is...





I was able to wrestle it down into the chase without damaging it.





Here's a shot of me cutting it...



And this is what it looks like right now...GHETTO!! I've got to figure out a way to put a grill on it and maybe cut the fabric around the ducting... Most likely scenario is that our cat Henrietta will climb inside here and get stuck...





At the other end of the ducting I pulled it out and taped it to the other 'voranado' fan. The fan sits on the floor of the TV room and pushes the cool air up the ducting and into the hot kitchen. It works surprisingly well! With more cool air exiting the kitchen duct than I thought. The kitchen end of the duct sorta points at the hot windows which is probably not the best way to go. But, standing at the sink (all the way across the room) you can feel the cool air...it won't exactly blow off your toupee but you can feel it.





Our bedroom has the same problem as the kitchen, lots of west facing window that really heats the room up in the afternoon. While at Home Despot I noticed that they had these window fans for ~$25 bucks... I installed one in the double hung window of our bedroom and put the screen on top.
One great thing about living on the island is that pretty much no matter how hot it is during the day it always drops into the 60's at night. With this setup I turn on both fans and they push a lot of cool outside air into the room and the hot interior air is exhausted through the screen. This really cools the room down quickly and allows me to sleep cause I can't sleep when its hot. If you've got a hot room and double hung windows I reccomend this highly.





I've ran the 'central AC' for a couple of hot days and it really seems to work. The kitchen is still the hottest room in the house but where it would be in the mid-80's now its in the high 70's-that's with the AC set at 72.

The first day I tired this I had the ceiling fan running in the TV room and I was not impressed with the results. Next day I kept the fan off and much more cooler air was pushed to the different parts of the house. I guess with the fan not mixing the air, the air was stratifying and the fans where able to push cooler air out.

Anywho, now the babies, and sitter and us don't have to bake indoors anymore.

1 comment:

Mark said...

You must be a card-carrying member of the Red Green club. Thanks for another great post.