Guerilla air conditioning

I'm looking to make the best of a bad situation and was hoping to hear advice from creative experts.
Here is the situation.
I live in a two room apartment on the fifth floor of a twelve story 1905 brick building.
My front room has two large five foot high windows that slide open horizontally.
They open out onto what is essentially a cauldron-like chimney tube about 20 x 20 wide.
Who knows? Perhaps in the old days they burned logs down below and it helped heat the apartments?
Anyway, it's intolerable in the summer here and even though there is a forty pound air conditioner in each room that vents out, they really only bring the temperature down from about 98 degrees to maybe 94 degree-and at a significant cost.
Are there other ways to cool the apartment?
Since I notice in the winter that I can feel cold air coming in from around the window area, that there is significant airflow even with the windows shut.
Should I try to line the windows with tin foil? Would that help?
Perhaps I should station a de-humidifier somewhere in the unit as well?
Thanks,
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mar 2, 10:14 pm, ART Vanderlay <itscritter[at]yahoo[dot]com> wrote:

pound air conditioner in each room that vents out, they really only bring the temperature down from about 98 degrees to maybe 94 degree-and at a significant cost.

There are other ways, but if you don't own the apartment, they probably don't make sense. Also, part of the problem is probably the lack of insulation in your place. Also, 40 lbs as a "rating' for an air conditioner doesn't make much sense. How many Btu's are they?
Finally, you haven't said how big your apartment is. If it is a 2,000 sf 2 Br, you probably are expecting too much out of your window units. If it is 500 sf, it is a different story.
Where does one buy "tin foil" these days, and why wouldn't you get a "window film" kit instead, so you can see through it?
JK
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Art,
The're called air shafts and they provide ventilation. You don't tell us how big your apartment is, how high it's ceilings are, or how big your window units are. You do mention that the windows have considerable air leak. So fix the leaks or get the landlord to deal with them. This probably will involve buying a tube of caulk. When you reinstall the AC units next Summer pay close attention to sealing and insulatins around the units. A lousy install is a guaranteed leak. If you have high ceilings consider getting a ceiling fan (with your landlord's permission).
Dave M.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
X-No-Archive:
You may want to call the city to see if the landlord is in compliance with codes, or if there are no codes, see if there are any incentives available to you or the landlord for dealing with efficient cooling.
In general, you will want good shades over any south-facing and east- facing windows. Keep the number of open windows to a minimum, have one with a fan that blows out (on the south or east side) and one with a fan that blows in (on the north or west side). Then you will at least have a current of the coolest possible air. It's not really a solution, but it may help some.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thank you for tackling the puzzle with me.
The air conditioners are 9300 BTU and although the apartment is only 530 sf, these two units do very little to cool things even when I had one replaced.
They don't overhang as they are encased in interior hinged housings that are 2 feet high, 2 feet deep and four feet across.
I've found that if they run for more than four hours, that ice forms and then that eventually drips onto my floors.
The landlord won't allow ceiling fans even though the ceilings are a shade underneath ten feet tall.
Perhaps I should get a powerful fan and blast it toward the center of the room. Would a dehumidifier be practical as well?
The windows all face on way and since they basically open up into the shaft of a 20 foot by 20 foot chimney, there's nothing to look out at and no current of air to speak of.
I will definitely investigate window film kits.
The two windows are 6 feet high and 4 feet across.
There also appears to be some sort of underfloor leak as we had to replace the floorboards last summer when they rose and broke apart even though the landlord insisted that it was incidental and from a kitchen leak.
Being that the windows are single paned, I don't know what I can do to better insulate. Upon looking into the air conditioning unit housings, I don't see any daylight or sense any direct temperature input from outside, but is there perhaps a way for me to better insulate that?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mar 3, 12:59 pm, ART Vanderlay <itscritter[at]yahoo[dot]com> wrote:

a 20 foot by 20 foot chimney, there's nothing to look out at and no current of air to speak of.

floorboards last summer when they rose and broke apart even though the landlord insisted that it was incidental and from a kitchen leak.

insulate. Upon looking into the air conditioning unit housings, I don't see any daylight or sense any direct temperature input from outside, but is there perhaps a way for me to better insulate that?
A dehumidifier will raise the temperature in the room.
It sounds as though the AC units are not functioning properly due to insufficient airflow. Could you describe better the mounting boxes, and the provision for inside and outside airflow in the boxes?
Dave
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"ART Vanderlay" <itscritter[at]yahoo[dot]com> wrote in message

Ice formation is a strong indication of improper operation of the air conditioners. It might seem otherwise but an air conditioner which makes ice is not doing much cooling of the air. It is most likely caused by either low refrigerant in the units or insufficient air flow. If the filters are not obstructing the airflow because they need cleaning or replacing, you need to have a good serviceman check the units out.
Don Young
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
X-No-Archive:
Do you have exterior walls that do not have windows, or is the wall with the windows the only exterior wall in the place? In some places, code requires all exterior walls to have at least one window, so I would call whatever housing authority there is and see if anything can be done.
I heard of a guy who lived in the desert without air conditioning. He kept his freezer full of ice blocks. Every night he would set an ice block in a pan in front of a fan pointed at him, and that kept him cool enough to get a good night's sleep.
As the other posters said, your air conditioners are malfunctioning, and a dehumidifier will heat up the room even more.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 4 Mar 2008 12:47:43 -0800 (PST), G Francis

His building is from 1908. It's been grandfathered in. Government doesn't make owners put new windows in 5th floor apartments, let alone 12th floor apartments.
I know a lot of cities where there is no such rule to begin with, and his building sounds like a city building to me.

The chances are minuscule that someone with a 12 story building doesn't have the proper number of windows. If the OP really is concerned, he should talk to the people in his line, the ones above and below him. Older tenants will know if the building ever looked different.
In almost all cases, all the apartments in a line are the same size.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 03 Mar 2008 11:59:00 -0600, ART Vanderlay <itscritter[at]yahoo[dot]com> wrote:

I'm wondering if a fan that blows up might not do more good. I don't think we have discussed this here before, but if it forces colder air up, won't that push the warmer air down. And the fan can sit on the floor. It might even be 6 feet tall.
But I have had my best results with small fans that I position to blow right on me. Even now, when I have central air, I rarely use it and have a fan on the window sill above my bed, another on the file cabinet next to my desk, another on or next to the tv on the kitchen table, and a big one on the tv in the living room. I have each of them controlled with a fan speed control, an external control because I got all these fans out of the trash or at the Goodwill. If you are interested in how to get good fan speed controllers, post back or write me.

a 20 foot by 20 foot chimney, there's nothing to look out at and no current of air to speak of. There is more air than there would be without it. Imagine that the part of the building 20 feet away was 5 feet away instead. Or that it was right up against the windows, and you had no windows. 20 feet is pretty good. As to living on the inside of the building: That's why it was available. The previous tenants found an apartment with a view, so they moved.
When I lived in an apartment in Brooklyn, my first one had a view but not a good one. The next one, a year later, had 4 windows facing east, 2 facing north, and one facing west. I had to have roommates to afford it, but we each had our own room.

floorboards last summer when they rose and broke apart even though the landlord insisted that it was incidental and from a kitchen leak. If he speaks good English, he might have said or meant "incidental to the kitchen leak". Doesn't a kitchen leak meat your standards? I'm sure he's fixed it by now, because you live on the 5th floor and the people downstairs don't have dripping ceilings, do they?

insulate. Upon looking into the air conditioning unit housings, I don't see any daylight or sense any direct temperature input from outside, but is there perhaps a way for me to better insulate that? Well, I think you could light a cigarette and see if the smoke moves in or out, or maybe a candle's flame. Other people know more about this. Of course sometimes the air is calm, even when there is an opening. Even if you can't see daylight, there might be an S curved path.
They sell semi-hard clear plastic windows that might be able to be attached and removed without damaging anything. I just found some of that at the building we've been stripping, prior to its demolition. Of course the plastic was never installed. :) But others know more about wther it can be attached and removed without damage.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

I forgot to include the bathroom windows, one facing each of the 3 directions above.

floorboards last summer when they rose and broke apart even though the landlord insisted that it was incidental and from a kitchen leak.

Oops. "meet".

insulate. Upon looking into the air conditioning unit housings, I don't see any daylight or sense any direct temperature input from outside, but is there perhaps a way for me to better insulate that?

I mean plastic sheets. They aren't windows until one puts them in place.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
AC that freeze over. Not enough air flow. Point a fan towards the AC. And if it all possible, haul the AC out to a service place.
Good luck, sounds like a challenging problem.
--
Christopher A. Young
Learn more about Jesus
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 3 Mar 2008 07:48:27 -0800 (PST), G Francis

This is almost the last thing he should do. Landlords don't like it when a tenant complains to code enforcement, especially if they are in compliance but now they have an inspector on their neck.
What he might want to do is find out what the code requires and decide upon his own inspection if the landlord is providing it, and then deal straight with the landlord to get it. But I didn't see anything that implies the landlord isn't meeting all the codes.
Unless this was an illegal conversion of one large apartment to two small ones. But if that turns out to be the case, the city will insist it be put back to one apartment, and one of the two tenants will have to leave and the other will have to pay for a much bigger apartment. Details depend on the city and other things, but it's generally not in a tenant's interest to make a todo about living in an illegal dwelling. He may well cause himself to have to leave. But I don't think any of this paragraph applies here.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Dehum may help make you more comfortable, dry the air out. I'd be tempted to try to find a place that services "window AC". Haul one of those out, and have it serviced by a pro. Totally cleaned, and after it's clean, check the freon. AC that size surely should cool and dry your apartment.
--
Christopher A. Young
Learn more about Jesus
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.