Hot Pigs - Air Conditioning Options


Post   » Thu May 18, 2006 3:49 pm

I just found out yesterday that our house does not have air conditioning. :(

It's getting hotter outside. We're having trouble keeping the pigs' room cool; it reached 75 (degrees F) twice this week.

I read somewhere that their ideal temperature is 66. We were able to maintain that temperature during the cooler months (using heat), but now that it's hotter outside, we're losing control over the indoor temperatures.

Windows and fans help, but what happens when summer hits in full-force? If it's 80 outside (which is as hot as it gets here), how can we keep the pigs cool? I'm worried that they will get too hot. Also, if we travel, we can't leave all the windows open (because of security and rain).

So, I'm thinking we need to get an air conditioner. What type?

Central air conditioning costs around $3000. Ouch! On the plus side, it's [supposedly] more efficient, and cheaper to use than window units.

The other option is window-mount air conditioners. These cost around $200 each. Most of our windows are narrow and/or slide right to left, so it's hard to find window-mount A/C units that fit. We would need more than one, right?

I'd like to get a cooling solution in place before summer hits.

Any tips? Am I worrying too much about the pigs' ability to adapt to summer temperatures?

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Post   » Thu May 18, 2006 3:56 pm

If you're not worried so much about keeping you cool, you could buy a small window unit from, say, Walmart. We did that when our Central air went out, it was around $70, but it couldn't do more than cool one room.


Post   » Thu May 18, 2006 4:00 pm

Ideal temperatures (degrees F):

1) 65 - 75

2) 68 - 72

3) 65 - 80

4) 70

5) 70+

6) < 85
- almost all sites say we need temp to be below 85

FYI, my office was 89 a couple days ago, and 84 yesterday. Downstairs it reached 75 both days, and went down to 61 last night. Keeping the temperature stable will be a challenge unless we keep the windows closed.

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Post   » Thu May 18, 2006 4:08 pm

If you don't mind paying that much for central air, I would highly recommend it. But if you don't mind the heat, then I would think you would only need a wall air conditioner for the room that your piggies are in. Or for the mean time keep all the lights off and use lots of fans...I found those helped my guinea pig before we had air conditioning. Our wall air conditioner is a Kenmore and it works pretty well.

I wouldn't worry about it too much--- my guinea pig just cools off in her igloo when she gets too hot, and they seem to be pretty adaptable to whatever climate you live in.


Post   » Thu May 18, 2006 4:10 pm

Our #1 priority w/ regards to A/C is keeping the pigs' tempoerature cool and stable. As we found out last night, when we leave the windows open, the pigs' room temp can drop from 75 to 61 in a few hours.

Priority #2 would be cooling my office (I work at home). It's been like a sauna in here during the warmer days, and I'm worried my computers will overheat (there are 3 in here).

Priority #3 would be keeping the rest of the house cool (for our own comfort). We live in the NW so it doesn't get *that* hot, but it still is nice to be able to have cool air while we sleep.

The window right near the pigs is 20" wide. Lowes doesn't have any air conditioners would fit it. There's a portable 10,000 btu A/C for $500, but I'm not sure it would fit a 20" window either.

The guinea pigs are in our living room, which is open to the dining room, kitchen, hallway, etc. So, we'd need to cool the entire ground floor, right?


Post   » Thu May 18, 2006 4:19 pm

Oooh, I am an air conditioning junkie. I love central air; I rent a place that doesn’t have it.

If you go with window units, for a very large area it’s better to get 2 than expect 1 to do all the cooling. Trying to get one to do the work will just waste electricity and won’t do the job anyway.

Make sure you purchase the BTUs necessary for the room. If it is too low, it won't do the cooling. I forgot the reason behind it, but having too large a one for a room isn't good either.

For window units, I would suggest going with a programmable one. It’s definitely worth the extra money. I have one for my guinea pigs and it’s a real help. It can be programmed to click on/off at a certain time (in whole hour increments) or programmed to click on/off to maintain a certain temperature in the room. In the summer I know my guinea pigs will always stay cool.

For oddly shaped windows, a window unit can be placed on the side. You just have to fashion alternative material to make sure the open spaces beside it get covered. Make sure you get one with a good energy conservation rating. It’s better to pay more and save long term on the electricity bills.

Also, there are now some window units designed to be removed from a case. It makes putting it into the window so much easier. The empty case is installed/fastened in the window. When it is stable, the heavy unit is placed inside of it. It definitely beats trying to wrestle 30+ lbs. of metal into a window.

Even with air conditioning I run a fan. Cool air is heavier than hot and will head towards the floor. A fan aids in the cooling.

Alternatively you can look into a portable air conditioner. It still has to be vented (hot air has to go somewhere), but it can be vented through an oddly shaped window, closet, or wall. There is also the water condensation to consider. Some of them have a hose for dumping the water into a bucket while more sophisticated ones will allow you to vent the water through the window.

Finally, shop and purchase an air conditioning unit before you need it. Around here, if a heat wave hits, it’s almost impossible to find an air conditioner. They just fly off the shelves.

I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Thu May 18, 2006 4:39 pm

We just bought a window unit from Walmart yesterday for $86.00 for the pig room upstairs.
Even if we get the heat pump this year, it will not do the upstairs. I got the 5000 BTU one, very small but the room they are in is relatively small, so it works like a charm.
Before Loren put it in, it was 86 on their room and it wasn't yet noon. LAst night, it was down to a comfy 70.
We also bought a combination air/heat unit from Walmart online, it was $396 but will cool the living room and also give me heat in the winter, again if we don't get the heat pump. This one is run off 220, so Loren gets to install a breaker and run wires.
I used to freak out at the thought of 220, but for a small appliance like an air conditioner, it is way cheaper than the same sized unit on 110. I didn't realize this till I got my last one.
We had to go for the smaller 12,000 BTU (I wanted the 24,000 for $100 more) but the window isn't big enough!

If we do get the heat pump, this will go upstairs into one of the rooms that has no heat, most likely the quilt room as the pig room gets warm enough with a little space heater.

Also, we have ridiculously cheap electric here, so I'm not too concerned about that as much as the pigs getting too hot and myself being miserable.


Post   » Thu May 18, 2006 4:52 pm

Thanks for the info!!!

Given that our windows are left/right and small and that I'm not much of a "hacker" when it comes to large appliances, I'm thinking we'll need either central air or portables.

Here are some portables:

We have 800-1000 sq ft downstairs, so I'm guessing we'll need 2 of these at least downstairs (which is open), and 1 in my office (to protect the computers). So that's around $1200 w/ shipping.

Some disadvantages of portables (vs central air):
1) the hoses or mounts might not fit our narrow or left-right windows (I'll need to do measurements)
2) they take up floor space
3) they [probably?] use more power than central air
4) they don't add to the selling price of the house (unless you include them as appliances)
5) you need to store them somewhere during the winter

Advantages of portables (vs central air):
1) if one breaks down, we can struggle along with the other 2 until we get a repair or replacement
2) about 1/2 or 1/3 as expensive to install


Post   » Thu May 18, 2006 5:32 pm

Kleenmama, the black pig in your avatar looks a bit like one of mine (Coffee). What type is it?

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Post   » Thu May 18, 2006 5:41 pm

Im the meantime, you can freeze water bottles and put them in the cage with your pigs. They are a big hit here.

Poor Baby Cuzko
My piggy made me give!

Post   » Thu May 18, 2006 5:57 pm

We have central air, but we never turn it on until it reaches around 95 degrees or so. I'll have a fan circulating in my room, windows open (when I'm home), and I'll freeze bottled water for Cuzko. The birds like the warm temps. I love the warm temps.


Post   » Thu May 18, 2006 6:29 pm

Wow, y'all are not joking about the frozen water bottles???

You just put frozen water bottles in their cages? Do the pigs sit next to the bottles? What about condenstation? How do you keep the bedding from getting wet?

Poor Baby Cuzko
My piggy made me give!

Post   » Thu May 18, 2006 6:37 pm

I found out that I have to use bottles that have no labels on them. Cuzko sits and eats the labels off the bottle. At first I just put in the bottle, but the condensation made the bedding wet. So I sent the bottle on a hand towel. The bedding still gets slightly wet, but not as bad. Of course, make sure you use a towel you don't mind getting chewed. Cuzko likes to pull the strings of the towels.


Post   » Thu May 18, 2006 6:38 pm

You can also use a brick or just ceramic tiles. Cools down pigs but I always used the frozen water bottle too. Just make sure the cap is on tight!

No worries about the condensation because the piggies lick it off.


Post   » Thu May 18, 2006 6:40 pm

Frozen watermellon peels are a hit with mine. They love it on a hot day.


Post   » Thu May 18, 2006 6:51 pm

How cute!

How do you handle trips in the summer? Frozen stuff won't stay frozen long, so is that where you absolutely need A/C?


Post   » Thu May 18, 2006 7:19 pm

Ice pack wrapped in a towel works just fine during those road trips for the pigs. And plenty of wet veggies.

I turn the A/C on for my own sake! The pigs are in a carrier so they're protected from the A/C.

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Scrapbook Addict

Post   » Thu May 18, 2006 7:30 pm

I have to say that I totally agree that the bolds and constant listing in posts really is annoying.

We don't have A/C, we give the pigs ceramic tiles, frozen watermelon rinds, and cool fresh water. They also like frozen water bottles to lie against.

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Post   » Thu May 18, 2006 9:28 pm

The rescue rabbit I had, Frodo, used to hump his frozen water bottle, That was before he was neutered.

Just a little fun information for you all.


Post   » Fri May 19, 2006 8:25 am

Even with window units, unless you want to leave them in the window all winter and pay for/deal with the heat loss, they have to be removed and stored somewhere. They also have to be cleaned of dirt and bugs before storage. If I had to do it again, I would buy a portable air conditioner so it could just be rolled into the closet. I think for difficult windows, there are conversion kits that can be purchased.

A good place for reviews on products is Consumer Search (

Once you find one you like, do a little search around the website to see the different shipping rates. That’s what I did went I bought my portable Austin Air Filter. It’s pretty heavy (30 lbs.) but I was able to find a website that offered free shipping. They had it drop shipped direct from the factory and I saved on sales tax. You might even be able to find it locally at a good price. When my dad was looking for a new dehumidifier, I did some searching around the internet to find one he liked. He then went and purchased it direct from Ace Hardware for the best price.

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