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Window Air Conditioners
Old 23rd July 2005
  #1
Gear Nut
 
Matt Pneumatic's Avatar
 

Window Air Conditioners

So I'm looking for everyone's input on window air condtioners. I actually live in an apartment in New York City and unfortunately don't have the option of central air or to remote a compressor in a "split cooling system".

Is anyone in a similar situation using a window AC unit that is particulary quiet for studio applications??

Tell us about your experiences.
Old 23rd July 2005
  #2
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Screws's Avatar
 

Try looking at another alternative - portable a/c units.

http://www.compactappliance.com/xq/J...nditioners.htm

They have a unit by Sharp that's particularly quiet.
Old 23rd July 2005
  #3
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Do these units have to have an exhaust pipe sticking out the window or are they 100% portable, plug in to the room and they do their thing?

Steve
www.bangrecording.com
www.blacklinerock.com
Old 23rd July 2005
  #4
That would be physically impossible. Energy comes in in the form of electrical power. That energy is converted to heat which is used to move a coolant around and cool air drawn through the cooling matrix. But all the heat has to go somewhere -- there must be an exhaust.


For more than a decade I lived in a c.r. -- a bedroom in my old house) with a window air conditioner and it was always a bargain with the devil. The good thing about a portable window unit is that you can remove it in the winter. (Air conditioners are not necessarily sound barriers. While the noise of mine covered street noise coming through [along with cymbals, vocal nuances, etc, etc]... when it was off it was pretty much worse than having a single pane of glass there. And then, because the pull out 'wings' were so flimsy, I had to have a craftsman friend build me a wooden frame for it to help seal it into the window. Which made the semi-annual task of breaking down the AC and putting it in storage about a 45 minute job, including time to rearrange sound absorbers, etc.

OTOH, trying to cut a vocal -- or asking a paying client to -- when your tongue is hanging out and your face is dripping so much sweat the lyric sheet ink is running in your hands is a bummer.

On the noise front, I set up a solo booth in the hallway outside the room (and IT could get plenty hot, too, completely closed off. And -- since mixing with the AC on was highly problematic I got into the habit of turning it on and off as I worked. (A habit I picked up at one of the first studios I ever worked in, a sweaty but good-sounding little garage live room with a tiny and even sweatier C.R.)

[One important note. When you're done with your AC and turning it off for the night -- always run it with just the fan on for at least five minutes or so -- you can turn the thermo all the way to the warmer side to make sure the condensor doesn't come on. Doing this will help dry out the unit and cut down on mold, mildew, bacteria, etc, growing in the residual moisture. You may recall that this is how Legionnaire's Disease and some other disease pathogens grow and spread.]

ONE NOTE ON FORCED AIR AC/HEAT -- if you have such a system installed in your studio or home/studio -- make damn sure that you use a contractor who knows how to do ducting for quiet use appliations.

The typical forced air system can be hugely noisy. Many contractors have no training or understanding of how to keep their installations from being noisy. Many commercial and dwelling still use inefficient -- and stupidly noisy -- ducting with right angle corners [produces turbulence which not only makes the force air system work harder but creates, you guessed it -- lot of noice] as well as mounting ACs and blowers in such a way that sound is transmitted through the frame of the house.

If you're going to pop for a professional installation -- make damn sure it's professional. You may find that using a contractor who has worked in critical use conditions will be well worth the extra money.
Old 23rd July 2005
  #5
PPS... working around that AC and various fans tended to induce (or perhaps aggravate) ringing in my ears.

When I sold my house and moved into a flat by the beach,* I didn't even bring any fans, I'd grown to hate them so much. I had to finally relent yesterday in the middle of a heatwave that sent temperatures and humidity close to 100. And, sure enough, the ringing is back, bigtime. I turn off the fan and there's about a 2K ring. I have to manipulate my ear passage ways and the tabs over my earholes in order to get it to subside. (It seems to act much like feedback... seeming to sustain itself until I intervene. I suspect much work remains to be done on the causes of tinnitis...)

___________

* I do kind of miss my soundproofing though. I'd never realized how noisy it can be near the beach, between aviation (banner tow planes up and down all weekend long and weekdays during the summer), the police chopper -- and the one that really slays me, since there must be about 100 square yards of lawn total in this community of 10,000 or so, leaf blowers. I mean, this is concrete-ville... tiny yards almost all paved or decked. You almost never hear a lawnmower for more than two minutes at a time... but the LEAF FREAKIN BLOWERS!!! Yeah... there's a couple trees and a handful of potted plants but man, those leaf blowers go like crazy, just blowing beach dust back and forth [and that fine siltish sand is, indeed, plentiful -- and omnipresent -- you blow it into the neighbor's yard and it's back in your yard in 90 seconds.]

Anyhow... once again I've totally, completely gone off on a ridiculous tangent...

I guess the bottom line is... there are going to be some issues and compromises no matter what direction you go...
Old 23rd July 2005
  #6
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Scinx's Avatar
 

It is workable to have the A/C on to get the room cool and then shut it off to do tracking? I have a room I record in where it has an A/C unit and thats what I do. Perhaps its not an optimum solution as its a slight annoyance to keep turning on and off...but the room keeps at a reasonable temp for a decent while giving enough time to lay tracks. Just a thought
Old 23rd July 2005
  #7
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Screws's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bang
Do these units have to have an exhaust pipe sticking out the window or are they 100% portable, plug in to the room and they do their thing?

Steve
www.bangrecording.com
www.blacklinerock.com
Reprinted from the Sharp manual, available at the website I gave you.

• This air conditioner blows the warm air generated by the unit outside the room via
the exhaust hose while in cool mode.

All a/c is an exchange concept - exchanging hot air for cool air. When you have central air the exchanger is outside the building. All window or portable units must have a way to blow the warm air out of the room, either through a window or a hose through a window or wall, door, etc.
Old 23rd July 2005
  #8
Gear Guru
 

I got a window AC unit that was considerably more than the room needed. I crank it up before a session and really "ghost" the room. Then I might hit it between takes if it starts to warm up again.

During takes I lower the Board Of Silence- a piece of counter top material with hooks on it that completely covers the whole window. One of these days I will put a door in in it, but for now it hooks on a chain and goes up and down on multiple eyelets. Its quite heavy, so gradual movement is preferred.

With the B.O.S. in place, the window is no longer the weak link in the soundproofing.
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Old 23rd July 2005
  #9
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max cooper's Avatar
 

A roommate of mine bought one of those DeLonghi A/C units with the exchange that went out a flexible duct. It never cooled worth a dang. To me it was obvious why; the cross-sectional area was too small to get any appreciable volume of air moving.

I bought a lower priced standard unit that same year and my room was a refrigerator (granted a mild LA summer, not like NYC.)

Another year, I bought a Sharp 'quiet' window unit. I went for more than double the BTU's that were recommended and it didn't cool worth a dang either. Best I had was a standard Kenmore, but it was noisy as hell.

Just thought I'd throw that out.

Oh, I used to shut down the AC when I was doing a take. Ya gotta let 'em sit for three minutes between shutdowns, so it wasn't too cool. Literally.

I wish you luck in this endeavor. I totally get it.
Old 23rd July 2005
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq
I got a window AC unit that was considerably more than the room needed. I crank it up before a session and really "ghost" the room. Then I might hit it between takes if it starts to warm up again.

During takes I lower the Board Of Silence- a piece of counter top material with hooks on it that completely covers the whole window. One of these days I will put a door in in it, but for now it hooks on a chain and goes up and down on multiple eyelets. Its quite heavy, so gradual movement is preferred.

With the B.O.S. in place, the window is no longer the weak link in the soundproofing.
That's a great idea!
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