Home Improvement, the Old House Way

With summer fast approaching, I figured it was probably time to dig the window air conditioner out of the garage and set it up in the house. Fortunately, this is an easy task, usually requiring no more than ten minutes at the most, assuming you stop for a Mountain Dew halfway through. (And assuming it takes two minutes to get the Mountain Dew and another five to drink it.)

Since I’m feeling generous, I figured I’d share some of my famed goodwill and write this handy-dandy three-step guide to hanging a window air conditioner in a 1940s-era house, just in case it was too complex a job for someone on my flist to handle.

How to Hang a Window Air Conditioner in Three Easy Steps

Step 1: Take the air conditioner out of the box.
Step 2: Try to open the window.
Step 3: Realize it was painted shut some time during the Nixon administration, then again during the Ford, Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton, and Bush Jr. administrations.
Step 4: Go to Home Depot and buy a razor knife.
Step 5: Cut the eighteen layers of paint along the inside AND the outside of the window.
Step 6: Raise the window an inch.
Step 7: Realize that the runner is also coated in eighteen layers of paint, half of which are probably lead based.
Step 8: Swear.
Step 9: Scrape paint.
Step 10: Scrape more paint.
Step 11: Muscle the window open.
Step 12: Place the air conditioner on the window sill.
Step 13: Attempt to plug in the air conditioner.
Step 14: Realize that the outlet immediately below the window is an old-fashioned 2-prong outlet rather than a 3-prong outlet.
Step 15: Swear.
Step 16: Go to Home Depot for a new wall outlet.
Step 17: Remove the face plate from the outlet.
Step 18: Discover old-fashioned 2-conductor cloth-covered aluminum wire with no ground lead behind the cover.
Step 19: Swear.
Step 20: Run an extension cord to the other outlet in the room, which thankfully is a modern 3-prong variety.
Step 21: Become suspicious.
Step 22: Plug a circuit tester into the 3-prong outlet.
Step 23: Discover that it may in fact be three prong, but it is not actually grounded.
Step 24: Swear.
Step 25: Remove the cover from the second outlet.
Step 26: Discover that the outlet is broken in the back, with exposed conductors that are dangerously close to touching one another.
Step 27: Swear.
Step 28: Return to Home Depot for more outlets.
Step 29: Rewire all of the outlets in the room. Remember to pull ground leads. (I hear this is important.)
Step 30: Plug a circuit tester into the outlets.
Step 31: Discover, much to your surprise, that the outlets now test good.
Step 32: Plug in the air conditioner.

And now, sit back and luxuriate in the modern technological miracle of climate control, basking in the knowledge of a 3-step, 10-minute job well done in only six hours and 32 steps!