Win­dow air con­di­tion­ers are a poor in­vest­ment

Baltimore Sun - - FROM PAGE ONE - Ge­orge Stiegler, Ca­tonsville

When I was grow­ing up in Bal­ti­more dur­ing the 1930s and 1940s, I stud­ied in school class­rooms with no air con­di­tion­ing from kinder­garten through col­lege. Back then, there was no air con­di­tion­ing in homes, schools, of­fices, stores or fac­to­ries. If you wanted to be cool, you went to a movie the­ater.

I agree that schools should be air­con­di­tioned, and I be­lieve that this up­grade should be made in all as yet un-air­con­di­tioned school build­ings as soon as pos­si­ble, but in­stalling portable (win­dow) units is a bad idea (“Fran­chot, NAACP seek DOJ ac­tion on school air con­di­tion­ing,” Sept. 21). They would be very ex­pen­sive to pur­chase, and their in­stal­la­tion into hundreds of win­dows would not be triv­ial. Also, in each build­ing ex­ten­sive elec­tri­cal en­hance­ments would have to be made. Each in­di­vid­ual unit would have to be wired with a new cir­cuit that can sup­port that unit’s power re­quire­ment; in some cases that means 240-volt cir­cuits. This, in turn, may re­quire a new higher power elec­tri­cal ser­vice into the build­ing and new power dis­tri­bu­tion pan­els. In ad­di­tion to the in­stal­la­tion com­plex­i­ties, win­dow units are far less ef­fec­tive than cen­tral units. They are noisy, and their cool-air dis­tri­bu­tion is poor. In many cases, a sin­gle unit can­not evenly cool an en­tire class­room.

When a cen­tral air-con­di­tion­ing sys­tem is even­tu­ally in­stalled, all of the win­dow air con­di­tion­ers would have to be re­moved and their re­spec­tive win­dows re­stored to their orig­i­nal con­di­tion. The wiring that had been run to each unit would now be of no fur­ther use. The units would have to be dis­posed of, very likely at a frac­tion of their orig­i­nal cost if sold. It seems to me that wait­ing a lit­tle longer un­til cen­tral units can be in­stalled is a much more cost­ef­fec­tive and sat­is­fac­tory solution.

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