Lion of the Blogosphere

An HVAC question

JS writes:

Yes, and NYC is disgustingly prole, if you want to talk about the AC units that stick out from the windows, like a sore thumb. I don’t find this in Montreal, at least not prevalent in most areas.

They are an eyesore for people on the street, and make a horrible vibrating noise for the person living in the apartment. (That describes my crappy apartment, and as bad my crappy window AC is, not using it is worse.) They are found in old buildings constructed before the widespread availability of air conditioning.

Perhaps Yakov, our resident HVAC expert, could explain why better HVAC can’t be retrofitted into old buildings?

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

September 5, 2015 at 12:01 PM

Posted in Technology

99 Responses

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  1. It can be done, its just that it costs 10s of thousands of dollars to retrofit central air into an old apartment.


    September 5, 2015 at 12:09 PM

    • The rest of the world has gone to “split air” conditioning systems. I don’t know why window units are still so popular in America. The split systems only require a small hole to route the coolant line and electrical through to the compressor, which is mounted outside on the wall. It can’t be that expensive and it’s so much better than a window unit, both in terms of practicality and aesthetics.


      September 6, 2015 at 5:16 PM

      • Yup. All over Latin America and Asia, it’s mini-splits ftw. Run the living room split until bedtime, then kill it and fire up the bedroom split.


        September 7, 2015 at 11:58 PM

  2. C’mon Lion. The answer is obvious. Window AC is prole precisely because there are more expensive alternatives that are not unsightly. So, of course, there are more sightly retrofits. Problem is they cost money. People living in buildings without the more aesthetically pleasing HVAC are probably paying lower rent.


    September 5, 2015 at 12:45 PM

    • Not in NYC. The apartments in Stuyvesant Town, which were completed a few years after World War II, which are now adapted to suit luxurious tastes, do not have any central AC. Instead, the windows have been downsized to accommodate AC units. Starting rental prices are ~ $3,500 and >. Then you have those crusty old tenements, which were built in the early 20th century, that command a similar price range, in a trendy neighborhood in Manhattan, that sport the same, ungodly, sight of ACs.


      September 5, 2015 at 4:26 PM

      • In NYC, $3,500 is cheap. I’d guess you need to be paying north of $5,000 for a 2 bedroom to begin seeing HVAC as an option. And that will be new construction or a gut renovation.


        September 5, 2015 at 6:27 PM

      • $3,500/monthly is not cheap for the average American, let alone, many New Yorkers. Times twelve, and it’s a yearly salary minus taxes, for middle income earners.


        September 6, 2015 at 12:56 PM

      • Okay, no central AC. Fine. But what about heat? New York apartments have to have heating. So where does the heat come from? Do y’all use individual room heaters?

        not too late

        September 6, 2015 at 8:11 PM

      • Steam pipes feed radiators.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        September 6, 2015 at 8:31 PM

  3. You”ve invoked the concept of “eyesore,” but that is a discredited, pre-1990 idea. Since that time, if not a little before, we’ve all been inundated by many types of eyesores, and are prevented from eliminating any of them. So, we have people with “art” on their bodies, graffiti on just about every street sign and freeway overpass, garbage in national parks, Escalades and Chrysler 300’s, and a seemingly accelerating trend of Mies buildings,l. The eyesore is now the general rule. Beauty is elitist, and elitist=bad.


    September 5, 2015 at 12:56 PM

    • Hatred of proles is elitist and bad.


      September 5, 2015 at 4:30 PM

    • “graffiti on just about every street sign and freeway overpass,”

      It’s not the graffiti that’s ugly. It’s the freeway that’s ugly. The Corbu and Mies buildings, fat people with tattoos, muumuus and sweatpants and rags and gym clothes in public, and free parking instead of parks are all of a piece.

      America became too lazy to care about beauty. I blame easy motoring instead of brisk walking. It explains the fat, the lack of concern for urban space, the PTACs, the freeways, the noise from traffic, and the slovenliness of people who go out expecting no one will see them since they’ll be in a car. Also, the timeline fits with the first urban interstates.


      September 5, 2015 at 6:53 PM

  4. Full building hvac units are large. And they have to get on the roof. Massive cranes. Building has to be built to support the weight. Then ducts down into every unit, cool air down and return lines.

    You could do it, but the cost is huge. Or build one on the roof from component parts.


    September 5, 2015 at 1:01 PM

    • Those are typically cooling towers and don’t need ducts. There are no package units big enough for a building.


      September 7, 2015 at 1:05 AM

  5. Adding a compressor, piping, and running electrical boxes to an apartment is expensive compared to just plugging in an easy window unit. The sort term resident pays the power bill, and not the long term building owner.


    September 5, 2015 at 1:02 PM

  6. Even a lot of new construction is built with slots in the wall for air conditioners rather than central cooling – the notorious “Fedders buildings.” Dunno why this is – cheaper to build? Easier/cheaper for a landlord in a multiunit building, since the cost of cooling comes from each tenant’s electric bill?

    Ivy League Prole

    September 5, 2015 at 1:16 PM

  7. What kind of heating does your building have? Old-school steam heat? We had central heat & air retrofitted into our house and it was a mess, because it required knocking holes in the ceiling downstairs to put in the duct work.

    Mrs Stitch

    September 5, 2015 at 1:23 PM

  8. Old buildings in the Midwest US often don’t have any AC. Ditto for France. It’s uncomfortable, but you get used to it. Climate control has contributed to obesity epidemic.

    Ava Lon

    September 5, 2015 at 1:24 PM

    • agreed.


      September 5, 2015 at 3:41 PM

    • I got AC mainly for air quality during fire season. We had horrible smoke in August and AC and electrostatic filtering kept the indoor air bearable.

      Mrs Stitch

      September 5, 2015 at 6:19 PM

    • How is that? I can go to an air-conditioned gym when it’s 90 outside and work out for an hour or two. Without AC not many would be there .


      September 7, 2015 at 1:09 AM

      • Technology is probably more of a culprit, in regards to the obesity situation.

        Gym is prole, a waste of money, and often, a waste of calories. Why do people work out in the gym, after a meal?


        September 8, 2015 at 8:21 PM

  9. I suspect that either the payoff for making the upgrades on older buildings doesn’t justify it. Or there’s something in the codes and regulations preventing it. For example, older buildings might be allowed to do maintenance, repairs and make small changes. But if they did anything major they’d have to bring the whole building up to the new codes which would be cost prohibitive.


    September 5, 2015 at 1:27 PM

  10. Why can’t modern HVAC be retrofitted into your crapshack? Because:

    1) There will be a lot of necessary ripping up of old walls covered with lead paint, and the abatement costs for lead are INSANO.

    2) The ripping up described above also means stirring up asbestos, which was once used in every sort of building material, and asbestos abatement costs are INSANO^10.

    So you’ll be enduring your window-rattler along with its nerve-jangling 60-hertz hum ’til kingdom come.


    September 5, 2015 at 1:45 PM

  11. Well, that’s easy.

    Old building do not have vents.

    You an retrofit…but you have to run tubing throughout the building. It is very expensive.


    September 5, 2015 at 1:59 PM

  12. Old buildings lack ducts from the roof into each apartment, and it is too expensive to put them in.

    Probably any building where doing so was practical did so in the 50’s and 60’s. AC technology isn’t too much advanced since then. Other than moderate efficiency gains and electronic displays, they don’t seem any better than in the 80’s.


    September 5, 2015 at 2:30 PM

    • Only package units need duct from the roof. In residential buildings central split systems are used.


      September 7, 2015 at 1:12 AM

  13. We could design better window units. But they would cost more.


    September 5, 2015 at 2:51 PM

  14. Do you have electric heat?


    September 5, 2015 at 3:07 PM

  15. The problem is the duct work. It is also likely these old buildings lack modern insulation. There might also be an electrical capacity problem.

    bob sykes

    September 5, 2015 at 3:08 PM

  16. I’d much rather hear what any psychological experts among the commentors have to say about JS.

    Lloyd Llewellyn

    September 5, 2015 at 3:18 PM

    • Cognitive behavioral therapy is prole, psychodynamic therapy is elite.


      September 5, 2015 at 3:48 PM

      • Most people in Meriprolestan, under the auspices of mental health professionals, are proles.


        September 5, 2015 at 4:36 PM

    • I’ve always assumed JS is a lion sock puppet. Maybe I’m a sock puppet too: oh the existential angst!

      slithy toves

      September 5, 2015 at 6:31 PM

      • Since Lion advocates sock puppeting to promote HBD, it could very well be true.


        September 7, 2015 at 1:15 AM

      • JS just comes off as deranged so I don’t think he’d be a very effective advocate for anything.

        Lloyd Llewellyn

        September 7, 2015 at 4:42 AM

      • And what has Lloyd contributed to this blog, that makes it worthy of reading?


        September 7, 2015 at 11:27 AM

  17. They do have those in Montreal – lots of them. There aren’t as many, though, because Montreal has a different climate than NYC, which despite its latitude has a humid subtropical climate.


    September 5, 2015 at 3:18 PM

    • Not as prevalent as NYC. Yes, the climate is similar, except Montreal is colder in the winters, and the summers are just as hot and humid.

      So why are New Yorkers so adamant about having AC, and paying an arm & leg in rent, is a good question?


      September 5, 2015 at 4:47 PM

      • How hot does it get in New York? I get to Montreal every now and then, and although it’s insufferably humid, it hasn’t been brutally hot during any of my summer visits.


        September 5, 2015 at 5:59 PM

      • Average climatic conditions in NYC, is high 80s with high humidity above 50% in the summertime.


        September 6, 2015 at 12:58 PM

      • Damn sure beats my home here in the South. Temps in the high eighties under sunny skies are quite unseasonably cool here, a rare gift.


        September 6, 2015 at 2:58 PM

  18. I’m no HVAC pro, but putting internal HVAC into a building that was never designed for that ain’t easy. Then again, you could make the place look like the Pompadeuche Centre.


    September 5, 2015 at 3:22 PM

  19. The bigger question is why window A/Cs are still so bulky, heavy, noisy and otherwise lame. Haven’t we upgraded any of the technology? Is there some kind of premium super-duper window A/C out there that costs 5x as much but works better?

    Also, a lot of window A/Cs get lousy over time because nobody ever cleans or maintains them other than maybe cleaning the filter. Tips:


    September 5, 2015 at 3:55 PM

    • Last week, I responded to an un-solicited email offer from some magazine subscription re-seller and signed up for a 2-year subscription to Popular Mechanics for $10.

      By the way, I have central AC in my 1955 single-family FL home; it was installed in the ’70s. I recently installed a $300 GE window unit in a lower level. It works well, but a tad noisy, and it’s concealed from the outside by a row of bushes.

      Also, today I installed a solar-powered attic exhaust fan. It’s quite powerful; pulls the hot air out of the attic and lowers the temp on the second floor by 10 degrees. It runs even on fully cloudy days. Shuts off at dusk.

      E. Rekshun

      September 5, 2015 at 5:40 PM

      • That’s good for your roof, too. DH put attic exhaust fans in both our houses.

        Mrs Stitch

        September 5, 2015 at 6:35 PM

      • Nice to see all those green energy subsidies providing some benefit.

        You should start your own blog about early retirement in Florida. Or get Lion to give you a guest gig. I’m curious to know how it goes, especially for the first couple of years.


        September 5, 2015 at 8:22 PM

      • @Rekshun

        Excelent idea, how much was the panel?


        September 5, 2015 at 9:05 PM

      • @Curle: Still a few years away from early retirement, and by then it won’t be all that early. Plus, I generally like my job, and two years ago started taking every Friday off w/o pay and that makes for a great weekend and a short workweek!

        @Yakov: the 20-watt, 12-volt panel, fan motor, and fan shroud all came as a kit for $195 from Amazon. It’s manufactured in China, so we’ll see how long the motor ans solar panel last. But it seems reasonably well-built and runs smoothly and plenty powerful.

        E. Rekshun

        September 6, 2015 at 3:37 AM

  20. A quick look around came up with exactly one A/C that isn’t just like all the rest. Pretty neat looking, but apparently it’s noisy and not very power efficient. Oh well. Looks nice, and uses an app! Maybe chicks will dig it.


    September 5, 2015 at 3:59 PM

  21. Here in Tokyo, where it is obscenely, body-wiltingly hot for three or four months a year (and where, in the past ten years, government anti-carbon mandates have made 28°C the minimum indoors in the summer), through-window air conditioners are the only thing you ever see. Being born in NYC, I have only heard the term ‘central air’ and have never seen it. I would have to Google to see what such a setup would look like.


    September 5, 2015 at 4:42 PM

  22. I don’t know the answer to this question, but it should be possible to use a mini-split, with a fluid line (possibly even interior) going to a unit on the roof. These could also be used for heating though I believe in New York gas is cheaper than electricity by a ratio above the coefficient of performance of mini-splits for heating, so it wouldn’t be worth it.

    Come to think of it that may be part of the reason; in Quebec electricity is much cheaper compared to gas and it is well worth heating with electricity. Also there’s less need for air conditioning in Quebec because it’s a cooler climate.


    September 5, 2015 at 4:45 PM

    • Yes. Split AC units move the obnoxious compressor unit outside, out of hearing range, and only need a thin refrigerant line run to the inside (thus no expensive ductwork).


      September 6, 2015 at 12:06 AM

    • Mini splits don’t heat with electricity, the refrigerant flow is reversed and condenser becomes evaporator and vise versa. You can reverse the orientation of your window unit and get some heating in your apartment when outdoor temp is above 55. The reversing valve does this in a mini split.


      September 7, 2015 at 1:24 AM

      • Mini splits can heat with electricity; in heating mode they take in electricity and give you heat. Perhaps you mean they are not resistance heaters (although they might fall back to resistance for defrosting – depends on the model). The performance does degrade as the temperature falls unfortunately. Recent Asian model have somewhat overcome this, although inherently there must be some degradation because of Carnot. For heating, they are best for cool, oceanic climates with high HDD but without extreme lows.

        In the Pacific Northwest they are an excellent heating choice. In New York maybe not so much, although it would feasible if the electricity were cheaper. Even in Quebec they are pretty good although you would need some resistance heat or something as a backup.


        September 8, 2015 at 2:42 PM

      • @Francis
        Can you give me a model? I’m not familiar with electrical heat mini splits. If the heat is electric, what are we splitting?


        September 8, 2015 at 7:47 PM

  23. Perhaps Yakov, our resident HVAC expert, could explain why better HVAC can’t be retrofitted into old buildings?

    Yakov is probably not available today to comment, because of Shabbos!


    September 5, 2015 at 5:24 PM

  24. How about one of those portable AC units? Are they noisy? At least JS will be spared the eye searing experience of gray cubes jutting from pre-war buildings.

    I live in an 1890 victorian and somehow the previous owners managed to put central AC in parts of the 2nd floor and all the 3rd. Let me tell you, that purring cold air flowing from air vents is drug-like bliss on a hot summer day.

    slithy toves

    September 5, 2015 at 6:29 PM

    • I used to spend summers in a hot and humid southern state at my grandfather’s home built in the 1850s. This was while I was living in a cross-state mid-South city in a 1950s home. Both homes were at approx. the same latitude yet the 50s home would get incredibly hot during the summer without AC and the antebellum home, with eighteen inch brick exterior AND interior walls had no AC and was always as cool as an icehouse. Bricklayers must have been cheap in the 1850s.


      September 5, 2015 at 8:31 PM

    • The portable units are more expensive than the window units, ~1.5x the price per BTU, and don’t work as well.



      September 5, 2015 at 11:28 PM

  25. If bill paying is done by the renter in each unit, it would be hard to capture which part of the cost of the air being blown is due. One person upstairs may need to keep cooooool, whilst someone on the windward side doesn’t want it at all, too cheap……….central units servicing large multi/level/room structures would include all the above references to ducting……my sister in San Antonio bought a repurposed condo in an old warehouse district and the original ducting is visible as a feature, not a bug…..huge metal conduits poking in an out everywhere………..all bills paid…………..gentrification some would say……firestation converted to fourplex near downtown……..urban living near Riverwalk….


    September 5, 2015 at 6:48 PM

  26. OT: ¡Jeb! responds to Trump’s annoying long jabs about low energy … in Spanish. All I want to hear from him now is ‘no mas, no mas’.


    September 5, 2015 at 7:03 PM

  27. JS is right about Sabbath, good comments, good layman understanding of the issues, but lacking in professional insight. I will respond a little later – got to do chores, go to gym and watch ‘Solo Boxeo’ at 11 pm.


    September 5, 2015 at 9:00 PM

    • I am curious about how to quiet down a noisy window air conditioner, especially from vibration. I tend to think that these air conditioners are not designed to be field stripped so accessing these components is not easy.


      September 6, 2015 at 12:35 AM

      • Very easy to disassemble and perfect for teaching air-conditioning. A unit typically slides out of the cabinet and there you have your four basic components of any system: compressor, condenser, evaporator and meetering device. Everything else are controls and accessories. You can pic one out of the garbage and try it.


        September 7, 2015 at 1:29 AM

  28. What about radiators? Apartments that need window unit ACs also have radiators for heating.

    Some of them can be rusty and nasty, and make rumbling, clanking noises and take up space, but they work really well in heating rooms up.


    September 6, 2015 at 1:22 AM

    • Unfortunately, they have no thermostats. My apartment in the winter is either hotter than hell or freezing, and I have no control over which.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      September 6, 2015 at 1:24 AM

      • That is a beastly way to live.


        September 6, 2015 at 3:50 AM

      • Do they have valves that can be adjusted?

        James B. Shearer

        September 6, 2015 at 1:33 PM

      • Yakov – Comfy conditions for many normal, working Manhattanites, are hardly the norm. If you are a NAM living in public housing, not only do pay low rent for a spacious apt, you have electricity, gas, heat and hot water, available at all times when needed, without paying a cent. I don’t feel sorry for all those who come to NYC, and try to make it big, where they put up with the subpar conditions at a hefty price tag. Those striving for status, are also subsidizing racial minorities/immigrants, who are often poor and a scourge in society.


        September 6, 2015 at 2:24 PM

      • That is awful.


        September 6, 2015 at 2:59 PM

      • Why do you still live in NYC?

        Down East

        September 6, 2015 at 7:14 PM

      • I don’t seem to have all these problems of Lion and JS. I realy don’t know how they always get themselves in a mess.


        September 7, 2015 at 1:30 AM

      • Yakov, You don’t live in Manhattan, so it doesn’t apply to you. Everyone in Manhattan is packed to smallest space possible, unless you have money to afford a $3,500 and up, one bedroom, without roommates, or you’re a NAM living in subsidizing housing.


        September 7, 2015 at 1:10 PM

      • Even if you have steam heat and local radiators you can have thermostatic control using thermostatic valves at the radiators. If your landlord does not supply these just install them yourself (get a plumber if you’re too much of a klutz):,,20258687,00.html

        The landlord shouldn’t mind because thermostatic valves will reduce the heating bill (compared to leaving the steam on and opening the window because it’s too hot).


        September 7, 2015 at 8:38 PM

  29. NYC is prole partly because there are lots of Italians there.


    September 6, 2015 at 5:49 AM

  30. Boston Irish-Americans are very prole too.


    September 6, 2015 at 6:10 AM

    • NYC is prole, because it’s old, crusty and unprogressive. Montreal is revitalizing, where sidewalks are being replaced with new ones. Some areas will also get heated sidewalks, which means snow will automatically melt in the streets.

      Don’t forget, half of NYC’s population is non-White, non-civic minded, and many are 3rd world in origin.

      And Montreal has a beautiful underground city:

      Now, make a comparision with NYC’s largest, indoor, shopping area, known as the Manhattan Mall, which is also prole, not to mention, teeming with NAMs.


      September 6, 2015 at 1:17 PM

      • Monreal – 9.1% black. Portland OR – 6.3% black. Montreal – 4.2% Latin American. Portland OR – 9.4% Latino or Hispanic. The rest for both cities, White and Asian with a very small smattering of NA for both. Both cities are at latitude 45.5 N. Montreal has 30,000 Armenians. There are some notably hot Armenians.

        Downtown Portland OR


        September 6, 2015 at 4:42 PM

      • Looks like I picked the wrong link to an Ana Kasparian picture. Ignore it, my browser says the site isn’t good.

        2nd Attempt


        September 6, 2015 at 5:02 PM

      • As a few conmmentators have mentioned, cities in Meriprolestan, are hardly worth praising, when comparing to the Old World Metros of Paris, Madrid and Berlin, DESPITE, all the 3rd world migrants that have been flooding the continent.

        Montreal is one of the few major cities in the New World, that has a significant lower East Asian demographic, comparing to the rest of Anglophone Canada and the country below it. It’s obvious, that the Anglo-Prole-Sphere, is all about greed, materialism, and money, base values that are utomost important to striving East Asians and their prolier White counterparts.


        September 7, 2015 at 11:49 AM

      • Europe will be taken over by Islam in a few more years of mass immigration.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        September 7, 2015 at 1:09 PM

      • Ibn Khaldun, the foremost Islamic sociologist, said that wealthy degenerates are responsible for their own demise due to hedonism, slothfulness, and lack of civic engagement, which in turn leads to “barbarians”, storming the gates, and taking over what they have established. London, Paris and NYC, are at the crossroads of such an arrangement, with its Muslim immigrants, taking up much of the low skilled work. In terms of Old World riff-raff, Muslims have more to offer to the natives, culturally speaking, than our New World miscreants and black americans.


        September 7, 2015 at 1:39 PM

      • Curle – Have you ever been to Portland? I was there for a month in the summer and night time in downtown portland near where all the foodtrucks are felt like zombie central. So many homeless, strung out white druggies.

        Portland is not as ‘pretty’ as what the internet thinks.


        September 7, 2015 at 6:05 PM

      • There aren’t many cities in Meriprolestan that inspire creativity/self actualization, demanded by Lion’s highly self aware individuals, because they look like 3rd world, turd holes.

        It’s interesting that Curle brought up the topic of Armenians in Montreal, since a few of them are my friends, who live there. I wouldn’t say Armenian women are generally hot. If yes, Manosphere Roosh V wouldn’t be gaming American White women and Polish girls. He would be chasing tail of his co-ethnics.


        September 7, 2015 at 9:03 PM

  31. Many beautiful old apartments buildings aren’t so badly marred by window-mounted air conditioners. I suspect the buildings thought unsightly because of the A/C units were probably ugly to begin with, such as what you have here:

    Mark Caplan

    September 6, 2015 at 9:29 AM

    • Perhaps Indian AC is crappy and outputs much less BTU per cubic foot of compressor?

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      September 6, 2015 at 9:56 AM

      • Not likely. More likely that there are many rooms in the building and each gets a single or dual zone ductless belonging to different owners.


        September 7, 2015 at 1:34 AM

  32. Mitsubishi has a whole duct-less HVAC division.


    September 6, 2015 at 11:57 AM

    • Excellent company and products.


      September 7, 2015 at 1:35 AM

  33. I know everyone is waiting on me, I apologize mates, have been working hard this Sunday and made only $500. Frustrating. Maybe this trade isn’t for me? Maybe I should try opening a cafe? I dunno. Will send tomorrow.

    Anyway, American consumers are very lucky to have window and wall units available in this country. You don’t have them in Russia and you don’t have them in Israel and I’m sure it’s true for many other countries as well. These units are great! Cheap, portable, easy to install – what’s not to like? Esthetics? Noise? If it bothers you so much, pay more for ductless! But unless you own a place, you won’t. Now, I don’t deal with these things because there is no money in them. However, I have one and my kids have them and here is the skiny. There is noise that is unavoidable such as compressor and two fans, naturally. But these noises are bearable. As compressors age, they may start making more noise. Anything else you can eliminate. Take off the front cover, a couple of screws and pull the unit out of its outer box. Put it on the floor or the table, plug it in, turn it on and see what’s causing it. Again, I don’t do them for a living, but here is how I install them:

    1. Screw a 2×4 into window sill.

    2. Pull the unit out of its cabinet housing and screw the box from the inside into 2×4 using 2 or 3 inch wood screws.

    3. Slide the unit back into the cabinet housing.

    4. Attach the side curtains.

    5. Bring down the window and screw the curtains AND the unit into the window.

    I beleive that the city requires a support braket, but I don’t use one. You can hang on my unit and do chin ups and it won’t fall out.

    When properly installed, they make reasonable noise. Of course a 36,000 BTU window unit is a different story, but 6,000 – 10,000 ones used for the bedrooms are OK. Good affordable solution.


    September 6, 2015 at 10:34 PM

    • @Yakov: Maybe I should try opening a cafe?

      Is it too late to go to law school?

      Yakov, is it possible to install a natural gas-powered split AC system for a single-family home? If so, would it be about the same price as an electric system?

      E. Rekshun

      September 7, 2015 at 7:22 AM

      • If you are talking about a forced air system, yes, but you need ductwork. In my installations we use electrical heat as auxiliary or emergency, never as primary because it’s too expensive.


        September 7, 2015 at 1:44 PM

  34. When buildings are renovated, central air is often installed, but, as you folks have pointed out, it’s expensive. We do it all the time, but here is the thing – as a landlord you don’t want the hassle of central air unless the property is high end and the tenants are of a certain quality. Bad installation results in non-ending hassles, expenses, and unhappy tenants. There is exposure here and there are a lot of installations from hell that I see around. Now specifically :

    1. The best, and that means the most comfortable for the customer, because AC is about comfort, is a multizone system that people usually associate with ductless systems. It comes in various types such as on the wall, cassette and concealed ducted. All these various types of airhandlers can be connected to one condensing unit or system. Each type is used where most suitable. This is the best and most expensive choice. We install them in Park Slope brownstones and by rich people. Each unit is controlled individually, so that every room can have its own setting. Furthermore, a Mitsubishi R2 system allows simultaneous cooling and heating mode operation, which means that one room can be in heating mode and another in cooling mode at the same time. There is a central controller that can override the thermostat settings in individual rooms as well as lock out different operations. The system can be controlled from a computer or a smart phone. There tons of features and options, but you get the idea.

    2. We install simple multizone systems for yuppies rentals in Williamsburg and other areas where they live. Works well with for them.

    3. Central or package systems go for hassidic apartments buildings and private houses both hassidic and non-hassidic. They make sense if you can’t afford ductless. They cost less than half the price of ductless on the average.

    4. For commercial building both new and renovated we install water cooled units and a cooling tower. A lot of high end buildings have them. My parents had them and I used to realy like them, before ductless came about, but no more. I would think that if you pay a $1,000,000 for an apartment, you should get the best AC, but apparently not. They are cheaper than ductless.

    5. PTACs – these things are beastly. I hate them in hotels, but in a high end apartment? A lot have been installed lately and I service them, not hard to service but noisy and huge. I hate them. One customer was complaining about vibration and noise, so I pulled the unit out of the cabinet, screwed a 2×4 into the base and secured all the rattling parts with plastic ties, metal straps, and foam insulation. The beast became quiet. Was pretty amazing, actually.


    September 6, 2015 at 11:20 PM

    • Also in NYC for even small HVAC systems you often need to hire an engineer and an expediter create plans and to obtain DOB work permits and maybe even Landmark permits. If you’re in a coop building you will also have to ask the board’s permission. You may end up spending 15K before you even hire a HVAC installer.


      September 9, 2015 at 12:35 PM

  35. Ana Kjasparian has to be balanced out by Kim, Khloe, Kondom, Klamidia, and Konsent Kardashian.


    September 7, 2015 at 1:19 AM

    • ‘Young Turks’ is a stupid show.


      September 8, 2015 at 8:35 AM

  36. A building peppered with wall ac units is ugly enough, but those battalions of satellite dishes are worse. There’s one low-income unit in SF so bad that we call it the millennium falcon.


    September 8, 2015 at 12:14 AM

  37. […] discussion of air conditioning, or the lack thereof, in the City of New York spawned this plaintive […]

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