Your Neighbor's Drippy A/C Unit: How to Fix It

Dear Apartment Guru,

I live on the bottom floor of a brownstone. All three of the apartments above me have positioned their air conditioner window units directly above my back door. When I leave my door open for air in the afternoon, even with the screen closed, three air conditioners splash close enough that water actually comes inside. Not to mention the fact that a huge puddle is permanently gathering outside the door and I have a dog who then splashes through the puddle going in and out, bringing mud inside. If you stick your head outside, sometimes it feels like it's raining.

I don't know what to do about this problem, or even what to ask of them. They obviously want the air conditioners in the window they've chosen. But how can I reroute the dripping water of three air conditioning units. And also, is that water dangerous? I should mention, my dog has taken to drinking it.
--It's Raining When the Sun Is Out
Dear Raining,

Ahh, the joys of urban dwelling. Even when you are lucky enough to have outdoor space, someone has to come along and compromise it. Maybe your neighbors are just exercising their dominion over your backyard (or the fact that you have one and they don't). But the good news here is that there are solutions to your problem that don't require you to host regular all-building barbecues.

"Air conditioners do `sweat' and water will drip from them," says Levi at "The fact that all three are in the same place works to your advantage rather than having three units in three different places."

Any correctly installed, properly working A/C unit is going to drip. There isn't much that can be done about that. You can check to see if your neighbors still have the air conditioning hose that comes with most models. If so, they might be able to divert the drip. Your neighbors, if they are kind, might even agree to divert the water into an empty two-liter soda bottle that they dump out each day.

But in the event that you don't want to get the neighbors involved, Levi suggests this alternative: "You should go to Lowe's and buy a piece of gutter to divert the water away from your door."

Just one gutter will do the job if you use a pan that is wide enough to catch the water from all three A/Cs. It is possible this is an expense your landlord might even incur and be willing to install, so don't be afraid to ask.

As for your four-legged friend, the water is just condensation and doesn't contain any terrifying chemicals. It might have some dirt from the air, but if that makes you nervous, just as a reminder -- Fido also licks his butt.

I'd advise taking care of the drip, if only for the general aggravation of the matter -- not to mention the increased potential it serves as a breeding ground for mosquitoes, right outside your door.

But I think Levi puts it best: No matter what additional annoyances come from it, "Muddy paws just ain't right."

So go ahead, Raining. Divert the drip!

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