looking for a little breeze...

So it is a Sunday afternoon and I have just finished a little outside repair on the house. I've got an assortment of tools in my bucket, including my drill and bits, so naturally, I'm wondering if there is anything else that needs to be done...and naturally, my gaze fell upon the Alto.

We were sitting at Sandbanks this summer, soaking up a beautiful, although stinking hot day, when it struck me that there was really not a lot of natural air circulation in our Alto. This can be helped by running the fan, but glancing around at the screened openings, it is pretty limited. This is certainly the case when compared to the 1743 model, which has very large opening on all sides, so the breezes must be wonderful. Our particular vintage also has the original metal back window, that incorporates a narrow screened band at the bottom, rather than the newer plastic window that can be opened to expose a large ventilation area.

While I was sitting at the front table, sweating, I started to look closely at the screened part of the door, wondering how to increase that surface area. As we have Barley with us, we still need the option to make sure he stays indoors, which means the door must be closed. This sort of precludes the full screen door mods that are out there, as I know Barley could blow right through those if his desire was strong enough.  At times we have been putting him on his leash and opening the door, but as a rule, it is usually closed. Not many options to do anything that would yield a big improvement, but I did notice a possibility for a minor change.

Our window slides open and is held in place by a plastic clip, which is attached to an aluminum cross bar. There did not seem to be any reason why the window would not slide open a little higher, based on the frame design. The limiting factor is when the frame starts to curve at the top. The cross bar is held in place by two small rivets, which are easily drilled out. I also pondered whether this cross bar contributed to the structural integrity of the window itself, and I came to the conclusion that it did not. There is a joint to the track part of the window frame, slightly below the cross bar, but it has its own linking plate. 

note the position of the cross bar and the amount of glass covering the screen
As this bar will be moving up into the area where the window frame starts to curve around the top, this means that the bar itself needs to be modified. Doing this then negates any possibility of reversing the mod, should it not work, or worse yet, if I screw up the measurements. Given the vintage of the window, and that they are no longer even made like this, if I did screw up, I strongly suspect there would no way that SC could bail you out with a new piece. One must remember this before starting a mod. Always have a Plan B in mind to fix a mod that might not work, or goes horribly off the rails.

I carefully drilled the rivets, and off came the bar.  The window was raised to almost its maximum height, and the bar was marked for its new location on the frame. A small piece was cut off each end to fit the curve of the frame, then new holes drilled for the rivets. A quick install of the rivets, and we were good to go. I applied a bit of black paint here and there, and other than the old rivet holes that are now visible, it certainly looks like this is the way it came out of the factory.

a little less glass blocking the airflow
Curious as to how much screen area was actually gained, I made a few before and after measurements, and determined that the surface area of the exposed screen had increased by 23%.  That's a pretty reasonable number.

Will this actually make any difference to our comfort on a hot day…perhaps not even a noticeable amount.  That's how it goes sometimes with a mod...the result might not be overly rewarding, but the planning and doing certainly will be.


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