52 States in 8 Months

American Windows — a domestic tragedy.

Posted in USA by Ulf on May 17, 2009

You surely know that I like complaining about windows. This time however, Microsoft is not involved. Let us have a look at normal American windows. Here in the US most houses use “sash windows“. The window is split in two pieces, one half is vertically (translational) movable and the other one is fixed. In most European countries (e.g. Germany and Spain) you will almost exclusively find “casement windows” which use hinge mechanisms for opening and closing them (by rotation).

What is good about sash windows? Well, you can open them half way without needing any space inside the room. Casement windows can usually be put in a space-efficient tilted position to allow a limited air flow, but you cannot open them any further if you have limited space indoors.
What is bad about sash windows? Well, you cannot open them any further than half way. And they have ugly bars in the middle. They’re usually either porous to air and heat or very hard to open. And: I don’t like them ;-).

However those strange windows allow Americans to install additional aircons in their rooms. Even if the people in those rooms would never ever ever turn such an AC on (… I’m talking about Ulf …). It works like this: You open you window, put the AC into the window, and then shut it as far as you can. That’s it. You don’t have a window anymore, but you have a new AC in your room.

Unfortunately there are two drawbacks. The first one is obvious: if you don’t have a working rainwater gutter on your roof (that’s common here), the nightly rain will constantly drop on the metal shield of the AC. That happens very constantly at 1.5 Hz. It was hard to sleep in the previous days, but now I do at least I know a good drum frequency for keeping someone awake.


There is another drawback, but this one isn’t very obvious. Look at how they designed the sealing between the two sashes. There are two lips which press against each other when the window is closed. The result is: Once the AC is installed, your window will no longer be airtight! You can imagine how many flies I had in my room in the first night (before I understood how they were coming into my room…).


3 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Andreas said, on May 17, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    FYI, the rain isn’t a domestic problem, that is more of a local one in your area ;-)

  2. elke said, on May 17, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    how do you do all this graphics?

  3. Ulf said, on May 18, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    Andi: Bin in Sioux City, 94F, zuviel!!
    Elke: Inkscape.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: