The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

23 August 2003

The new Home Sweatshop kit

The predicted high temperature for today is 101 degrees Fahrenheit, about what it was yesterday when my ancient air-conditioning unit gave up the ghost. The tech was actually fairly sympathetic: "It's probably a good thing. Replacing the entire unit will cost only slightly more than replacing the bad parts." The current definition of "slightly" seems to be in the $50 range, which is slight enough, I suppose.

The problem, of course, was that this was discovered at 5:15 pm Friday, which means that I have to hope that a new unit can be located and installed this morning, or I'm up the Ganges without an antiperspirant until some time Monday. Should the latter be the case, I'm making tentative plans for a daytrip out of town.

Posted at 7:55 AM to General Disinterest


Well, Charles, if you have to buy a new one, at least there's a bright side to it. The new ones are only about as expensive as they were twenty years ago -- and in current dollars, not constant ones. Alongside that, they're far quieter, considerably more powerful, smaller, and consume much less electricity.

The Better Half prevailed upon me (a gentle description of a painful process) to get a new air conditioner for our bedroom, just two weeks ago. For $399, I got a Frigidaire unit that:

  • fits in a 12" high, 18" wide window;
  • is light enough for me to lift from the floor to eye height unassisted -- I'm 5'7", 150 lb -- without tearing anything or releasing any of my "reserved" vocabulary;
  • pumps out 10,000 BTU of cooling, enough for our 16' by 22' bedroom all by itself;
  • has a 10.5 efficiency rating;
  • can be allowed to run all night, because it's so quiet it doesn't keep us awake.

I was stunned to discover how much progress had been made in what I thought was a "mature" industry. Truly, these are the good old days.

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto at 8:04 AM on 23 August 2003

The cost of the new unit will be picked up by the property owner — I'm just a tenant — but the fact that they're framing the discussion in these terms suggests that they're seeing it the same way, and the improved efficiency will be reflected in lower electric bills, which drain my pocket more directly.

Posted by: CGHill at 8:13 AM on 23 August 2003

Lower electric bills is good. If the greenies are right about global warming, someday we may all be obliged to keep our doors open and air-condition the entire planet.

Posted by: McGehee at 5:35 AM on 24 August 2003

Aw, c'mon, Kevin! Second Law Of Thermodynamics, remember? Unless we build lots and lots of 400,000 foot tall radiator fins to dissipate the heat generated by the air conditioners themselves into interplanetary space.

Man, what a jobs program that would be!

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto at 7:48 AM on 24 August 2003

My mother always thought we were trying to cool off the entire planet; she'd complain if you left the door to the fridge open longer than she thought necessary.

Posted by: CGHill at 9:44 AM on 24 August 2003