As of this morning, the temperature around here was expected to be going up all this week, into the 90's next weekend. I can hear you smirking out there, but you probably live somewhere that air conditioning is standard equipment on a place of residence, like walls and a roof, yes? Not up here. Businesses and offices have air conditioning. Homes do not. It's better than it was when I moved out here nearly 20 years ago — back then, the only place you could even get an air conditioner around here was Sears. Now a lot of places sell them, but they're sort of a conspicuous luxury because most people would only really need them for two or three weeks in the summer.
Well, I need cooling more than that because I'm constantly dissipating 1500 watts or so of heat into the computer room, the equivalent of a full-sized space heater. With both windows wide open, it can maintain a 20-degree difference between inside and outside. In the 50 to 75 degree range, I can generally get by with a couple big box fans, but when it's above that I have to start turning things off. This summer has already had a lot of hot days and I'm sick of not being able to maintain normal operations. I can get by with virtually everything off, but that's not the same as just being able to do stuff in the normal way.
The thing is, I can only have portable units — no in-windows. I already HAVE a portable air conditioner. It SUCKS. It might be able to keep a closet cool, but that's about it. I tried giving it to my parents and it couldn't keep their livingroom cool even without anything generating heat in it. You can see where the experience of spending $600 on that would make me very nervous about buying another one.
Well, that is something else which has improved over the years. Six years ago, that was the one model of portable AC which you could get at the one place which carried them. These days, Fry's is in town. They carry half a dozen models, in stock, on the retail floor, so everybody else has to offer a selection too. Plus, this time I did some research and wrote down a couple models which got mostly positive reviews (turns out there are still a lot of crappy units on the market). Also, this one is 11,000 BTUs. Once upon a time, I had a 10,000 BTU in-window unit which was able to keep up with the computer room. Portables aren't quite as effective as in-window units, but at least it's generally the right size. Also, I do have two of the things now. The old one may not be able to handle the computer room by itself, but it does blow cold air, and I'm sure it could give an assist to the new one if needed.
So far the new one is doing pretty well. With the windows and doors closed, it can actually pull the temperature down. Of course, it's night, and it's 68 degrees outside instead of 85. We'll see how it does tomorrow, but it's promising! And this one only cost $400.