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Rectangular Expansion Panels

To fill gaps adjacent to window air conditioner [|||]
  [vote for,

Serious suggestion with step-by-step instructions. If this exact idea is baked, please provide a source where I can buy some or have them made. Otherwise I'll be making my own next week...

I''ve got a new window air conditioner on order and I know the provided little accordion-pleated expansion panels won't be wide enough to fill the window opening on either side of the unit. And even if they were, the plastic is thin, flimsy, and provides no insulation.

My solution: Measure the openings - for this example, there will be a space about 14" tall and 16" wide on both sides of the unit. The spaces to be filled will be slightly larger, as they include the recessed track the windows slides in.

Cut two thin panels of wood or rigid plastic to 14x16, and a matching piece of closed cell foam between 1/2" to 1" thick. Put a hole through the middle and pass a carriage bolt through it, and thread a wingnut on the end. Make two sandwiches like this, one for each side.

Put the sandwich in the window opening and tighten the wingnut to squeeze the outer panels together. As it squeezes, the inner foam core will expand slightly at the edges into the window track and seal any small gaps all the way around.

Might need more than one bolt to tighten evenly all around…

a1, Jun 29 2021

Self-shaping Tubes through Explosives https://www.youtube...watch?v=96yhdnhPxAw
Okay, the video is spheres, not tubes, but the same principle applies. [AusCan531, Jul 01 2021]



       I don't think you'll find anything one-size-fits-all. In the past I have used styrofoam panels. If you mask off the air conditioner and the window edge spray foam will seal it in without air gaps and excess can be cut away.   

       Yeah, I've given up anything completely ready made. I was hoping maybe a kit with some oversize pieces as I've described that can be cut to fit. As the window AC is only installed during the summer (and in the garage the rest of the year) I'm trying to make it easy on all counts - install, remove, store, and reuse. Spray foam gap sealer and sticky tape would be fine otherwise.   

       And I can't be the only person who hates those pleated accordion panels. If this could be made in kit form, do you think it would be marketable?
a1, Jun 29 2021

       It's hardly a halfbaked idea without some extra features like an exploding outwards claymore mine surface to deal with any burglars tempted to break in. Why has it got so tame and domesticated here? Bring out the pyrotechnics! This isn't the diy handy hints channel.
xenzag, Jun 29 2021

       You could make the entire wall retractable, and have a second wall retracted on the other side, so that in the summer you retract the winter wall and extend the summer one. That way you would not need to remove the spray-foam sealant.
pocmloc, Jun 29 2021

       [xenzag], we have numerous, um, devices... to keep burglars from getting too close to any of the windows. And being good neighbors, I've arranged for them to be nearly silent*. Wouldn't want explosions or screams to disturb anyone's sleep.   

* Nearly silent. Just a swish and maybe a gurgle and thump immediately after. In the morning someone just has to hose away the blood and dispose of any body parts the coyotes didn't take overnight. Fortunately I leave for the office very early most mornings so my wife gets to do it - along with other gardening...
a1, Jun 29 2021

       I somewhat agree with [xen]   

       maybe * rectangular* is the problem   

       kind of L7
xandram, Jun 29 2021

       Fine, fine. I’ll add some shaped charges to fire metallic swarf at anyone tampering with it from the outside. There’ll be hell to pay if it wakes my wife, but anything to keep the peace here.   

       Probably need to modify panels around the edge to prevent damaging the AC or window frame. Anything else you can think of?
a1, Jun 29 2021

       // Might need more than one bolt to tighten evenly all around //   

       Yes, needs more wingnuts.
sninctown, Jun 30 2021

       // more wingnuts //   

       With or without shaped charges?
a1, Jun 30 2021

       Ooh; explosive charges ON the wings of the wingnuts. One side blows - auto tighten. Other side blows - auto undo!
neutrinos_shadow, Jun 30 2021

       Hmmm… explosive bolts are WKTE, but only as single use, (very) quick release fasteners. Don’t know of any fasteners that fix in place by use of explosives either - maybe there’s a separate HB idea there…   

       But what about the original, basic idea as posted? It’s a big ask, but I know some of you can be practical and serious, when there’s nothing better to do …
a1, Jun 30 2021

       I don’t have air conditioners but one time I had a small one that fit in the window and I shoved towels on both sides to keep the air out. Also tried cardboard, duct tape, and a 2 x 4.   

       The accordion pleats should play some type of music when the air blows…
xandram, Jun 30 2021

       Fooey, I may mark this one for deletion myself. It looks like it’ll be easier to just get a couple of 1/2” thick HDPE panels cut to size and put insulating strips along the edges. Maybe a bit more expensive - but time is money too.   

       Shame to give up on the shaped charges though. Maybe I can still add some around the window frame, just for sport.
a1, Jul 01 2021

       Place thin-walled pipes into the gap. The pipes are filled with a carefully calculated amount of explosives and sealed at both ends. After detonation they are now form-fitted with a weatherproof and burglarproof seal. See video for concept in real life [Link]
AusCan531, Jul 01 2021


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