A quest for air

I’m not afraid to admit, heat has never been my thing.

Perhaps it’s the fact I grew up on a lake and could go jump in the water whenever summer temperature’s started to scorch. Or it could be the fact I’ve been spoiled by living in a home with air conditioning for several years now. Either way, I have to say I’m a bit of a pansy when it comes to warm temperatures.

I’m one of those people most Minnesotans probably hate, because I’d much rather be cold than too hot. (Seriously, as inconvenient as it may be, you can always layer up to the point you’re warm no matter the temp. Trying to make that work the other way will probably get you arrested.)

As someone who begins to sweat at about 75 degrees, I nearly panicked last Sunday when I returned home from a friend’s wedding to hear my window air conditioning unit making a terrible sound. It was still blowing cold air and the house was still comfortable, but the unit itself was making a loud banging sound and little droplets of water were flying out onto my couch.

Obviously I turned the unit off right away. Luckily, temperatures stayed low enough early this past week that I didn’t really need A/C anyway. But, looking at the extended forecast and seeing temperatures in the mid-to-upper 80s and even low 90s had me dreading what inside of the house might feel like with no A/C. The place is pretty well protected from the wind and seems to hold heat pretty well (fingers crossed that holds true in January), so it’s normally about 5-6 degrees warmer inside than it is out.

Upon both myself and my dad doing some looking around online, it seemed fairly obvious there was water inside the unit. Apparently the particular model I have doesn’t have a drain hole (there’s probably a technical term for that, but I don’t know it) so there’s nowhere for any potential rainwater or condensation to escape.

On a whim Thursday morning I decided to turn the unit on to see what happened. Much to my relief, it sounded fine. I thought my worries of melting in the coming days had ended.

Not so much.

After running the A/C most of the day Thursday (it got warm in the house), I woke up at about 2 a.m. to hear that same awful noise. I turned it off and figured I would deal with it in the morning. Friday morning, the noise and the spraying continued, so I watched a video on YouTube posted by a guy in Florida who had the same issue. He was able to fix it by simply rolling up a paper towel length-wise and sticking it inside the unit, causing the towel to soak up the pooled water.

I thought it seemed worth a shot and, although the towel did suck up some of the water, eventually it must not have been able to reach what was left and the fan kept splashing when I turned it on.

Now, from the beginning, the obvious solution seemed to be to drill a hole in the bottom of the A/C unit. I didn’t do that for a couple reasons. The first was that I don’t have a cordless drill and hate asking people to borrow things. The second is that I didn’t even know if I could get a hole drilled into the bottom without removing the entire unit.

Finally, it got warm enough in the house Saturday afternoon that I got desperate. I thought even a tiny hole would be better than nothing. So, I went into my junk drawer, found the widest nail I could find and my hammer and decided I’d put a hole in there the old-fashioned way. Honestly, I didn’t really think it would work, but I knew as long as I didn’t hammer the nail in too far it shouldn’t do any damage.

Somehow, it worked! A little hole, the size of a small boxing nail, punched in the back of the unit near the bottom provided just enough room for the excess water to escape.

So far I’ve been lucky and, as of Sunday afternoon, the A/C was still working. With a heat advisory in effect until 9 p.m. tonight, I just hope it stays that way.

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