A lot of us can relate to that feeling right in the middle of a heatwave when we ponder for the 40th time – is today the day we order a portable air conditioner.
What if the temperature drops tomorrow and we end up with a not so clever investment adding to the myriad of clutter already in the house.
Then you decide to bite the bullet anyway – UK summers are getting warmer after all – and suddenly the prospect of researching the best portable air conditioner dawns on you. Where do you even start?!
Well this was exactly our experience this summer when, having a new baby in the house, we finally started looking at portable air conditioners.
We found that most portable air conditioners seem to need a hot air exhaust vent usually via a window in the room.
One option is to simply buy a fabric seal/attachment that goes on the window frame. They cost between £12 – £20 and use adhesive fasteners (commonly known as velcro or hook and loop fastening) to attach to the window frame.
However, we weren’t sure about the insulating properties and they seemed very fiddly too.
Our idea for a portable air conditioner window seal:
We wanted something with higher insulation properties that can also act as a heat reflector while blocking some sunlight too. Our window faces south west so in summer, the room heats up like an oven from direct sunlight before the clock even hits 10am!
We also ordered the portable air conditioner with next day delivery service so didn’t have time to order a window seal too. The vent attachment that came with the portable air conditioner was only suitable for sliding windows.
Facing this challenge, we needed a quick DIY fix, as we always do.
Our plan and diagram of window seal:
We had some leftover large polystyrene sheets from some furniture packaging. We also had some insulation foil lying around from a previous DIY project. So the rest just fell into place quite quickly.
Method of making an insulated window seal:
List of materials and tools:
2 cm thick polystyrene sheet x 1
50mm wide duct tape (adhesive cloth tape)
Step 1: Cut the polystyrene to size
I cut the 2cm thick polystyrene sheet roughly 1 inch wider on all sides than the double glazed glass pane. This will then be attached to the window frame using hook and loop adhesive straps from the inside.
Step 2: Strengthen the edges with cloth / duct tape
Then I used 50mm wide duct tape to strengthen the edges and added a few more lines of duct tape across the whole sheet to strengthen it further as polystyrene can break quite easily.
Step 3: Cut a hole on the board for the vent pipe exit
I held the flexible vent pipe on the exact position where I needed the cut out hole to be (as a template) and used a pen to mark the position. I then used a utility knife to cut out the perfect circle. Again, I taped the inside of the cut out with duct tape to add strength and stop the polystyrene chipping away.
Step 4: Add insulation foil for better insulation
I then added 2 pieces of insulation foil on both sides of the polystyrene panel secured with duct tape. The insulation foil on the outside will act as an effective heat reflector. By this point, the panel was starting to come together and felt quite sturdy too. It was now ready to attach to the window.
Step 5: Attach the insulated window seal panel onto the window frame:
I used hook and loop adhesive fasteners (like Velcro) so I can remove it in winter, store it away and then next summer, I can simply re-attach it easily.
I used 6 x 15cm long strips evenly spread around the edges and it seemed to hold up quite nicely for the rest of the summer.
Total build time for the DIY window seal:
I started this small project after work and it took me just under 1.5 hours.
I hope you find this post useful. Here’s to more comfortable heatwaves in future! Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or suggestions. Thanks and speak soon!
DIY window seal build video
Here’s a video of the build process. As mentioned earlier, I built this after finishing my day job around at around 6:30 pm in the evening so apologies in advance if it is a bit dark.
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Tools and Materials:
Here’s a list of tools and materials we used.
Polystyrene sheets (reused from furniture packaging)
Velcro/hook and loop fasteners
Any suggestions, or questions, please feel free to leave a comment and I can get back to you as soon as I can.
Thanks again for all your support and readership to date. Much appreciated!