This is a window air conditioner, safely mounted, with the window open above it.
You may not have known that this was possible. I sure didn’t — I just assumed that a window either had an air conditioner in it, or it could be opened, but not both. And this was very important as I tried to figure out how to cool my office, which only has one window.
I looked into “portable” air conditioners, which are enclosed in cases and sit on the floor inside, just venting outside with a big plastic hose. I even bought a top-rated one from the internet and immediately returned it (which, given its size, wasn’t easy). They have three main problems:
- They’re incredibly expensive, at about $500 for one with the capacity to cool a small room.
- They’re huge. If you’re actually considering one of these, go to a store and see one in person first. The photos online are misleading because they hide much of their mass in large protruding butts that they rarely show in photos. This would have taken up a big portion of the room.
- They don’t work very well. They’re far less energy-efficient, cool much less effectively, and generally produce a lot more noise than traditional window units that cost half as much.
It was clear, after trying the ridiculous “portable” unit, that my office needed a real window unit. I had accepted that I’d probably need to just give up the only window in the room.
But it ends up that if you get professional installers*, and the air conditioner is reasonably small (this one’s 6,000 BTU), they can brace it against a bar that they install across the window frame instead of the window itself. My installers claimed that this is perfectly safe and just as sturdy as a window mount when done professionally.
The total cost, with installation, was only about $400, and this is one of the highest-quality, best-performing air conditioners of this size: the Friedrich CP06E10. (Ignore the homemade cardstock deflector that I’ve taped to the front. It turns out that it’s a bit too cold when it’s blowing directly on you constantly.)
* I used Expert Applicance Center in Brooklyn to install this, and a giant 14,700 BTU monster in the living room installed the usual way, since they were highly recommended by online reviews.