Here’s a story of one of the most aggravating home fixes we’ve had to deal with in our three years of owning this house, how it cost us more than $1,000 to fix, why I’m so relieved at where we are now and how we’re just a few steps closer to finishing our master bedroom. In other words, here’s why we all of a sudden have one new window.
We have an old house and old houses come with two sets of problems: 1. They’re old and things need serious upgrading/fixing, and 2. The older the house, the more time for the previous sets of owners to have done dumb things that you now have to fix. Case in point: the window situation in our master bedroom.
Our house came with one AC unit affixed to one of our bedroom’s windows. At first glance, it looked like the unit was hanging out the window like most usually do when it’s a sash window, i.e. you lift the bottom half of the window up, you put the AC unit in, you close the window on top of it so the unit is secure, and voila, AC unit. This is what we thought for the first year we lived there. The only thing we saw that was different than what we’ve seen before is that it was hanging out of the window into a metal case that was screwed into the siding. This seemed like a good idea for safety reasons, but it was rusty and ugly from the outside. (Unfortunately, I don’t have a before photo of the outside to show you.)
The AC unit looked like it was from the ’80s and, even though it operated like a beast (we would turn it on in the morning before leaving for work for the dog and return home to the entire house being cool), we wanted to get rid of it. In addition to it being energy inefficient, I was afraid that it would just crap out on us one sweltering August night and then we’d have to scramble to find a replacement on a budget. I wanted to be proactive and replace it before it was too late.
So when a friend was moving out of the city and was selling her AC unit for cheap, I thought it was the perfect time to switch ours out. This was April 2016, so it would mean a new AC unit right before summer. Daniel went upstairs to remove the old unit and, minutes later, I heard him yell in anger from downstairs. I rushed up to see what was happening and he showed me.
AND THIS IS WHERE I GOT SUPER ANGRY VERY QUICKLY.
The AC unit was not installed as we thought it was. No, because that would have been TOO GODDAMM SIMPLE.
Rather, the previous owner had the entire window removed, the AC unit secured in place, some kind of fake wall situation added to close up any gaps around the AC unit, and then had a new, much shorter sash window installed that used the top of the AC unit as the bottom of the window frame.
See what I mean?
DO YOU SEE HOW RIDICULOUS THIS MIGHT BE TO SOMEONE WHO JUST WANTS TO SWITCH OUT AN AC UNIT FOR SOMETHING MANUFACTURED THIS CENTURY?
DO YOU KNOW HOW EXPENSIVE NEW WINDOWS AND LABOR COSTS ARE?!
DO YOU KNOW THAT WE ARE NOT RICH?
Man, I was so pissed off about this. And because we weren’t expecting this scenario, we didn’t have the budget to fix the problem at that point. Thankfully, the AC unit survived that summer.
Last year, we were considering taking care of a few minor projects, like building closet doors for the master, and we would have been able to budget for a new window. But then we had to get a new roof (old houses, man!), and I spent the rest of the year until fall really hoping the AC unit wouldn’t give out. It didn’t, phew!
I decided we were going to get a new window this winter AND NO ONE WAS TELLING ME DIFFERENTLY. The window was ordered and, a couple of weeks later, two guys came in, did the job in two hours and hauled away the nastiness that was the old AC unit. It cost $1,350 for the window and labor, and it’s done. Now we have a new, shiny window that fits the full window frame and it’s lovely. I am relieved that the old AC unit is gone and that we don’t have to worry about its death anymore.
Because our neighbor’s house is right there, we always kept the curtain down for privacy and to cover up the unit. Thanks to the unit being gone and the Roman shades I recently made, now we can pull up the shades just a crack and let in sunlight and still have privacy. Like I’ve said before, it’s the little things ($1,350 aggravation + DIY = “little” things, in this case) that can make a big difference. And, as Daniel pointed out after he walked home the day the window was put in, now the profile of our house is less ugly because that rusty metal case is gone. Even though it’s only one new window, I think something like this does improve the value of our home, even in just the slightest.
So, YES, IM PISSED that we just spent plane-ticket money or other-project money on this dumb thing, but, ya know, whatever. It’s done.
I alluded in the beginning of this post that checking the new window off the list makes us closer to our master bedroom being done. What’s left is centering the light fixture and getting a new light fixture, as well as framing out and building closet doors. Those are the two projects for which we’ll need to hire out. We’ll also replace our bed and nightstands at some point so that our room no longer looks like an IKEA factory.
Oh, yeah, and we need a new AC unit. Got recs?