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Muh big bad mama jama window AC unit

So it’s been pretty friggin hot here in the house. My little window unit in the front bedroom has done well, but I’ve been needing something bigger to cool the whole fist level. I looked around hardware stores and anywhere that sold window AC units, but they were always smaller ones that were intended for just a single room. They go by BTU and square footage to determine the coverage area, and I was needing something for 1,900 square feet.

Since the ceilings here are like 9 or 10 foot high, it would need to be a big bad mama jama, so I was in the market for a 28,000 BTU unit. I found a Frigidaire for $920 on Home Depot’s website and ordered it a few weeks back. It finally came in just last weekend, so I spent the time setting it up. Since it’s just me, I had to get creative in positioning it into the window because it’s so heavy. I built a small ramp up to the window and slid it in. I got the unit in the house by backing up my pickup to the porch and sliding it out onto a Rubbermaid roll cart that came with the place.

And in case you’re wondering, I did follow the instructions that it came with. These larger units are a little more involving than the simpler smaller units. You have to take them apart as a step in the installation, but it’s nothing too difficult besides handling the weight.

Something else the house came with was a large AC window unit support bracket on the outside wall, which fit exactly down to the centimeter! The unit also just barely managed to fit inside the window; I had to forgo the attachable side panels because they wouldn’t fit given how tight of a space remained, so I stuffed some insulating foam pads in between.

You can see the old bracket on the wall of the house here.

Everything seemed to be going pretty well, but then a problem occurred… Unfortunately the Home Depot website’s technical specification on the unit was misleading, stating that it would work on a NEMA 6-20 outlet at 20 amps and 220 volts. I made sure this was exactly what I had in the bedroom so this wouldn’t become an issue. But after installing the unit, I went to hook it up and realized right then that it was physically impossible to plug in. This unit has a NEMA 6-30p power adapter and the box it came in stated that it required 30 amps and 240 volts! Oof…

That was pretty disappointing, but I wasn’t about to let a little electricity stop me from a comfy cool house. No sir! So I looked up the required outlet, receptacle, and wiring gauge then drove back out to the hardware store to buy what I needed to change it all out.

That’s right bros; in addition to being a webdev by virtue of running this site, a tech analyst and system administrator, by the aid of YouTube and Stackexchange (yeah, they have an electrical engineering section) I’m also now an electrician too!

I borrowed my dads multi-meter and a few other tools like a wire stripper with wire gauge holes, and found the 20 amp breaker the old line was connected to. Switched off the master breaker, popped out the old breaker with a flat head screw driver and pulled the line from it. Then I found a 30 amp double pole breaker that wasn’t being used for anything except for a water heater upstairs I think, which I don’t care about right now and pulled both conductors out of it and set it aside.

20 amp on left, 30 amp on right.

Then I pulled out the old 12 gauge romex from beneath the bedroom and fished my new 10 gauge conductor back up and worked my way beneath the house to the other side with the breaker box. I fished the other end up thru the floor where the previous line was and pulled up about what I needed. I left some slack in the line in case I want to move it around later, because the setup is sort of temporary and kind of janky. The whole back bedroom needs to be redone, so I’m not going to bother with finalizing stuff until later; I just need the AC to work for now.

Anyhow, I fitted the wires (both hots and a ground) to their outlet in the bedroom and connected the other ends to the 30 amp breaker and ground, then connected the breaker back onto the bus and flipped it all back on. So far no smoke and fire, so I returned back into the bed room with my multi-meter to make sure the outlet and receptacle weren’t somehow going to shock the snot out of me if I were to touch them, hooked up the AC, and powered her on!

It worked, and I didn’t kms from electrocution in the process, so in all I think it was a job well done. I need to find some long screws so I can mount the receptacle to the wall because it looks really jank just leaning onto the floor like it is; I accidentally bought the wrong size screws, then again bought some longer drywall screws just to later realize that the interior walls are all shiplapped with sheet rock nailed over it. I also need to get some sort of tubing to cover up the romex so it looks a little less trashy. One day in the soon to be future, I intend to redo this bedroom and get a more ornate receptacle that would look decoratively appropriate coming up thru a stained hardwood floor. The brutalist industrial looking stuff that you’re supposed to mount inside of the wall was all they had at the hardware store.

It's about 26" wide.

With the new AC unit working, I went ahead and bought some box fans to set around the house to circulate the air. So far it’s doing a pretty good job of cooling the place, but the kitchen is the last room to receive its cool air and tends to stay warm during the day. It’s not unbearable, like outside being 100F, but it hovers around 84F in the kitchen while the rest of the house gets to around 74F. 72F is really my target temp, and if I can at least keep my bed room at that point then I’m good. I don’t like it too cold, but I also don’t like it too warm either. I might get one more smaller unit for the kitchen.

During my time beneath the house, I finally got a good look at the foundation and the condition of the joists and subflooring. I can see where the previous owner had obviously flooded out their bathroom and kitchen areas because there was repair work done in those spots as well as old rot left behind.

In the back of the house in the utility closet, the whole corner sill beam is completely rotted to nothing. I hadn’t noticed it at first, but you can see the light from outside in the closet where the floor is separating from the wall! So my next plan of action is to clear the washing machines and all of the crap from out of that room that’s just weight on the floor. (There are also actual dumbbell weights on the floor in that room too.) It’s quite apparent that the washing machines had been leaking in this room for a long time. I’m surprised though that the flooring beneath looked just fine; all the water went right into the corner.

I really can’t wait to get to the fun part, which is replacing and repairing the siding on the bad wall as well as fixing the windows. I want people to see what a beautiful house this once was before the blight of vinyl snuffed out its soul. Just have to fix these sill beams first, which is posing to be quite the challenge because none of the foundation companies in the area are interested.

I might just have to become a foundation repair expert too bros.

Thanks for reading my blog!

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  • Make sure your installation can handle that thing! If the breaker keeps poppin, don't simply replace it with one that can handle more Amps.
    Jul 23, 2023 Permalink Reply
    • It can; I checked it with the multi-meter before ever even powering it on. It requires a 30 amp breaker too, which is why I had moved to it. And running such amperage requires at least a 10 gauge conductor too (the outlet is a 2 gang to meet spec.)
      Jul 24, 2023 Permalink Reply
    • 2.0°C above pre-industrial levels is going to be wild.
      Jul 22, 2023 Permalink Reply
      • Looks awesome fren. I really love seeing your updates on the house!
        Jul 20, 2023 Permalink Reply
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