I don't care what the Lovecraft character said. When it's hot outdoors, I like cool air.
The weather has turned disagreeably hot this past week. Roseholme Cottage has air-conditioning sufficient to keep the place generally comfortable, but it also still has the original 1924 layout of registers and cold-air return. By the evidence (glass-brick coal scuttle, marks of the old coal bin walls in the basement floor and on the joists overhead, the floor-footprint encircling the present furnace) back then, a coal-burning monster heated the place, possibly without even benefit of forced air and for cooling-- Well, there are plenty of windows. There are plenty of registers, too: one per room. In 1924, you didn't want to run supply ducts any farther than necessary and as a result, registers in the bedrooms are just one side of the doorway. As a result, cooled or warmed air is pumped in...and promptly high-tails it down the hall, around a corner, and back into the return grille in the dining room!
One fix for that is to head into the basement with ductwork, tin snips and chopsaw, proceeding to relocate the supply registers next to outside walls far away from the doorways -- but that takes time and money, not to mention moving a lot of furniture. It's not that much trouble in the winter; warm air tarries at the ceiling and circulation is adequate. Summertime, my room is okay, Tam decamps from her attic to the living room futon, but the office--!
The office is toasty by mid-afternoon, sweltering by evening. Two PCs, monitors and peripherals add their heat to the air and all the cold air goes out the door as soon as it arrives. Something had to be done.
I have been muttering for years about buying a couple of the big cylindrical cardboard forms sold for pouring deck foundations and using them as elevated duct extensions -- but they are heavy, large and would be awkward. (Also, Huck the tomcat would climb them. Madcap highjinks would ensue, endangering fragile items.) This scaled-down version is doing the job so far. Why didn't I try this sooner?
2 months ago