Portable Air Conditioners

Portable air conditioners offer an energy-efficient and quiet cooling solution for homeowners. By considering the benefits, types, and costs associated with portable air conditioners you can make an informed decision on whether this cooling solution is right for your home.  You may also want to consider other factors such as size, noise level and placement options before making a purchase.

Portable Air Conditioners: Frequently Asked Questions

What is a portable air conditioner?

A portable air conditioner is a standalone, mobile cooling unit that can be moved from room to room as needed. It works by drawing in warm indoor air, cooling it through a refrigeration process, and then expelling the cooled air back into the room. These units typically have an exhaust hose to vent hot air outside through a window or a sliding door.

How do portable air conditioners work?

Portable air conditioners work by using a refrigeration cycle similar to that of traditional air conditioners. Warm indoor air is drawn into the unit and passed over cooling coils filled with refrigerant, which absorbs the heat and turns it into cool air. The cool air is then blown back into the room, while the hot air and humidity generated in the process are expelled outside through an exhaust hose.

How do I choose the right portable air conditioner for my space?

When choosing a portable air conditioner, consider the following factors:

  • Room size: Check the cooling capacity (measured in British Thermal Units or BTUs) of the unit to ensure it can effectively cool the space you have in mind. A general guideline is to have around 20 BTUs per square foot of space.
  • Noise level: Portable air conditioners can produce noise, so check the decibel (dB) rating of the unit to ensure it meets your noise tolerance.
  • Energy efficiency: Look for models with an Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) of 10 or higher or those with an Energy Star rating, as these models consume less energy.
  • Additional features: Some portable air conditioners offer features like built-in air filters, dehumidification, or heating capabilities, which may be useful depending on your needs.

How do I install a portable air conditioner?

Installing a portable air conditioner is relatively simple:

  • Place the unit on a level surface near a window or sliding door.
  • Attach the exhaust hose to the unit following the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Insert the window venting kit into the window or sliding door and connect the other end of the exhaust hose to it.
  • Plug the unit into an appropriate electrical outlet and turn it on.

How do I maintain my portable air conditioner?

Regular maintenance is essential for the optimal performance and longevity of your portable air conditioner. Some maintenance tasks include:

  • Cleaning or replacing the air filters: This should be done every 2-4 weeks or as per the manufacturer's instructions to ensure proper airflow and cooling efficiency.
  • Cleaning the condenser coils: Dust and debris can accumulate on the coils, reducing their efficiency. Clean the coils periodically with a soft brush or vacuum cleaner.
  • Drain the water: Some models have a built-in water reservoir that collects excess moisture. Empty the reservoir as needed or when the unit indicates it's full.

Are portable air conditioners energy efficient?

Portable air conditioners can be energy efficient, especially if you choose a model with a high EER or an Energy Star rating. These models consume less energy while still providing effective cooling. Additionally, portable air conditioners allow you to cool individual rooms rather than an entire home, which can be more energy-efficient if you only need to cool specific areas.

Can a portable air conditioner also work as a heater or dehumidifier?

Some portable air conditioners are equipped with heating and/or dehumidification functions. These units can act as a heater during colder months and dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air. Be sure to check the product specifications and features to see if these options are available in the model you're considering.

How can I vent a portable air conditioner without a window?

If a window is not available for venting your portable air conditioner, consider the following alternatives:

  • Vent through a sliding glass door: Some venting kits are designed to fit into the tracks of sliding glass doors.
  • Vent through a wall: With the help of a professional, you can create a vent hole in an exterior wall for the exhaust hose.
  • Use a drop ceiling vent kit: If you have a suspended ceiling, you can vent the hot air through a ceiling tile using a drop ceiling vent kit.

Keep in mind that proper venting is essential for the efficient operation of your portable air conditioner.