VOTE: Three New Air Conditioners

Not too long ago, before the monsoon set in, it was really hot outside.
At that time Hive13 was only 8 degrees cooler inside. In other words Hive13 was miserably hot.
Our oldest air conditioners were then and are now feebly wheezing out their last gasps.

This vote is for Three new 12000 BTU Window Air Conditioners.
Estimated Cost for each $390 + tax
Vote total $1300.


Other stores may have a better price for a good unit. I’ll keep looking.

Let’s do this before the heat is on us again.

Dave Velzy

Vote yes

I think the cost and terms of extended warranties needs investigated. When buying computing equipment for my business, I try to buy an extended warranty for the duration of the time that I expect a machine to be my “primary” workhorse and depreciate it over life expectancy. I essentially expect to junk the machine at the end of its depreciation period. Any time beyond the life expectancy that I continue to get use out of the equipment = bonus. Reliability hasn’t been the top quality of the AC units at the hive. Thinking about them with the expectation that they WILL FAIL sooner than desired and taking financial steps to make it someone else’s problem makes a lot of sense to me.

Also, something like a mini-split system would probably be the “right” solution here, but it would cost considerably more. Mini-split = exterior condensor / fan assembly, lines to multiple interior units. They’re also generally made to a much higher standard of qualifty than window units and tend to last a lot longer. They’re intended for places without ductwork.

Once example:


I vote yes. I can also get a GE appliance discount if you’d like me to check into that? Just let me know if there are nay specifics you require.


The choice between window and split-system A/C is driven by the following factors; time, effort, cost.
Although the split system has a higher SEER and may last longer these factors are tough trade-offs to justify compared to:

  1. Cost per Ton = 12000 BTU - window A/C is ~ $420. per Ton. Mini Split is more costly

  2. Installation - Window A/C Drops in the existing space - Mini-Split requires wiring, plumbing and a trained level of effort

  3. 110v versus 220v - Could we switch a run from current 110v to 220v? Yes, but time, effort and cost

Unless one of our members has a terrific deal on a split and offers to install it, I’d have to say no to the split system.

These are excellent points, Dave.

Have you had a chance to investigate the availability, cost and terms of extended warranties for the units? Seeing as no one at the hive did much to repair the existing units, it makes a lot of sense to look at them as cooling-as-a-service and make the job of keeping them running someone else’s problem for a time period in exchange for money.

-Dave B.

Would it be worth hiring someone to install the splits? Itd be nice to have splits since they can also heat right?

Yes, most splits can also heat as they’re heat pumps. I have a friend that helped me with my furnace and AC at the house. He left me a list of shit to do each day (remove old furnace and lug it outside to get taken away, run electrical from panel to furnace, run new AC lines from furnace to wall where they exit, etc. etc.) and would spend about an hour doing the “skilled” stuff. We replaced furnace and AC unit in 3 days working this way. Labor charges were very low this way. I can ask him if he’d be willing to do a similar arrangement for Hive as otherwise you’d be looking at thousands just for labor for a company to do it. He works for a property management company for his dayjob and is HVAC certified.

With all due respect to your inputs, and though the disposable appliance economy is personally offensive to me, I’m having a hard time justifying the total installed price of a split or central air.

Window air conditioners are lower cost per Ton to get into operation. Window box efficiency is lower, but the ROI in lower utility cost is not working for Hive13 benefit. A heat pump is my least desirable method of warming a space.

My past investigations found splits to be cost effective only in A/C retrofits where ducting costs are prohibitive. If splits were the most cost effective for HVAC, they would have driven central air out of the US market. They have not. Splits are still a small segment of the US market despite their penetration in other countries. Additionally, we have the problem of mounting an outside split up out of the way. (ladder work)

Y’all want to spearhead a quote and installation? Please, propose an alternative.
I’m sticking with the original proposed VOTE.

it looks like the DIY portable mini split systems are between 1.5x and 2x the cost of window units and have essentially the same build quality, efficiency, and reliability as window units… the only benefit being they don’t block a window (which isn’t a big gain in our building).

I’m not seeing any reason we would go that route.

I’m 100% in agreement that window units are the way to go for this use case. I also 100% think that extended warranties should at least be considered as a way of making the continuing operation of the units we purchase someone else’s issue.
-Dave B.

You have an example of one you could share? If the ROI is easy to show then it seems reasonable.
$75 covers the unit for 3 years. If Home Depot can’t repair it, they replace it because the item is over $300

This is an example I pulled out of my ass as quickly as possible for illustration purposes, not a well-researched proposal.

The protection plan for the models Dave V. picked out is less, at $55 which puts them at 27 BTU/$ with the 3 year protection plan… not sure where to put the likelihood of failure for the units within a 3 year window though…

Extended warranties are a risk management bet. The manufacturer makes a product to market standards. The market generally expects a window A/C unit to last 10 years give or take. Hive13 A/C lasts less time as they work long and hard instead of a few hours a day.

Typical Manufacturer warranties cover 1 year full and 5 years sealed system. An extended warranty is $55 and covers an additional 3 years.

The average consumer doesn’t know is that product failures follow a bathtub curve. The probability of a failure is highest in the first roughly 10% of product life. (Infant Mortality) After that period, the probability of a failure drops way low until the unit nears the end of useful life where things wear out and begin to fail.

Real world curves for appliances have much steeper drops at the beginning. The middle (bottom) of the curve is longer and flatter than pictured in the wiki.

The extended warranty insurance provider uses F.U.D to gen up demand and privately bets the product will outlast their warranty period.

They know they are in the big wide flat bottom of the bathtub probability curve. They make a lot of money on that bet. Plus, It’s never so simple as one call and you have a new appliance.

Why do I know this? I sat on the risk management team for a manufacturer and have taught aspiring six sigma black belts about probability for years.

As they say on TV. Don’t waste your money.

The frigidaire model would be even better at 29 BTU/$. Seems reasonable to me. It even fits within the budget proposal at $1234.14 including the service plan.

We purchased AC units a few years ago. How are they doing? If they are 3 years old and still going strong, the warranty seems like a waste. If the ones we are replacing are 4 years old, it might be worth rolling the bones on the warranty.

You never know, I might need to be grinding a whole much of steel and sanding a lot of wood by one of the windows in 3 years and 11 months…

Searching the wiki history finds that 6 units were purchased in May 2012. That’s seven years to the current wheezing state of the units.
Given they probably wouldn’t consider the current state a valid warranty claim the extended warranty doesn’t look like a good bet.

The more recent A/C purchases were in June 2018 which is close on the the 1 year warranty period.
If anyone has any other record of A/C purchases we should consider, Please let us know.


I think I purchased the Danby ones from Costco a few years ago.—DAC080EB3WDB.product.100488962.html

They are in the $220 range with a two year warranty from Costco (which means they will take them back no questions if you have the receipt - which I think I taped to one of them).
I think they are only 8K BTU which is around 2/3 ton. It works out to ~36BTU/$.

We also may want to think about improving the room filter on any of the window units as they are usually just a simple semifine grid which get clogged up with wood dust. We could overlay a better filter and setup a scheduled cleaning.