Window air conditioners are a poor investment
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.