There are many benefits and drawbacks derived from using portable air conditioning units.
In the past, not many consumers knew about portable air conditioners. However, it has turned out to be a common household appliance today. It provides the desired cooling and can be installed easily in areas that require removal of too much humidity. The handy air conditioning unit ensures fast installation without damaging window ledges. Portable models also support central Heating Ventilating Air Conditioning or HVAC systems.
This unit has a flexible space bar that is about six to eight inches wide. You can put in a piece of rubber, wood or foam in case this rod is narrow or too short for the window. Ask someone to help you carry the unit from the car to the house. This AC generally weighs from 50 to 80 pounds. The weight is the same as the window unit. It requires at least two people for bringing it inside. Hosepipes are detachable and the unit can be kept in a closet when not in use.
Unique Benefits of Portable AC
- The portability factor of an air conditioning unit is important. You can move the appliance around and bring it to the garage without difficulty. On the contrary, it is necessary to install and uninstall the window unit which is not a practical thing to do. Besides, this is a two-in-one device since it also serves as a dehumidifier. It saves you money and space as well. This appliance enhances prevention of minor ailments, strains the air and decreases moisture levels. It reduces the amount of contaminants that permeate the air inside your home.
- Mounting is easy. All you need to do is attach the single or double hoses of the unit out of the window. The hosepipe eliminates hot air from the house while bring in cool air from outside. The window air conditioner calls for installation of front panels as well as fixing the heavy unit right at the window opening. You need a technician or handyman for putting the unit in place instead of simply wheeling it inside.
- It is ideal for apartments or condominiums with limited spaces. The portable variety can conveniently cool smaller rooms or dehumidify a studio-type apartment. However, you may need to purchase more than one unit for larger areas.
- This appliance is a boon for apartment houses that do not have centralized air conditioning systems. Moveable units are also perfect if local ordinances do not allow the use of window air conditioning. In fact, these models may be more cost-effective in the long-term compared to traditional air conditioners. Needless to say, up-market transferable spot coolers are more expensive compared to low-end window models.
- Transportable AC units are definitely energy-efficient that can cool a house with smaller square footage. Homeowners can concentrate on areas that need to be made breezy. An additional feature is the “dehumidify-only” control that will do away with moisture from the air without cooling. This appliance is fitted with high-efficiency air filters for purifying the air while some units include fixed heaters to offer functionality and value all year-round.
Follow this guide for cleaning your portable air conditioner and filters.
- Unplug the AC unit and pump out the water reservoir. The portable air conditioner takes away the humidity since it eliminates water from the air during the cooling procedure. Products of condensation accumulate in a tank which should be emptied from time to time. See to it that this container is completely unfilled before you start cleaning.
- Turn on the unit on fan only mode. This will ensure that the unit’s interiors are dried totally. It normally takes two hours before the inside is entirely dry.
- Detach the filter from the casing while removing dust and other particles. The easiest method of doing this is to tap the filter gently with your hand. There should be a plastic bag or garbage can nearby to gather the loose debris. In case the air conditioning unit has a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) or carbon filter, make sure that this is also removed. Carbon filters are usually changed rather than cleaned. Nonetheless, it is advisable to follow manufacturer’s guidelines when it comes to maintenance.
- Majority of air conditioning filters are washable. In other words, you only have to rinse these components in warm water. Allow to dry well before reinstalling in the appliance. Washing of filters should be done every two weeks if you use the unit on a regular basis. Dirty filters will affect air flow which indicates that the AC will not function properly. Replace the filter if it has become worn out or too grimy. Fresh spare parts will guarantee that the air you inhale is 100 percent uncontaminated. Replacement of filters should be made at least once every year.
- Carbon filters should be changed more often depending on the situation especially since these are designed to remove unpleasant odors from the air. This may be needed for complete benefits to your family.
- Use the vacuum cleaner with hose attachment to unclog all vents and frames with horizontal laths. Be sure that you can reach inside with the hose to siphon off anything inside the frame. Unless the unit is completely wrapped in plastic, there will surely be dust and debris that gathers inside.
- Clean the condenser coils thoroughly to get rid of the filth and grease. If the coils appear to be very dirty, you can try the commercial coil-cleaning products. Another alternative is the homemade solution of house vinegar or lemon juice blended with water. Simply spray this lightly on the coils. Let it remain for some time to take away the dirt completely.
- Do not forget to wash the exteriors and wipe with a clean and soft cloth. You can opt to use a mild cleansing detergent or dish soap. Refrain from using chemicals with abrasive content because this can damage the plastic case of the air conditioner.
- Test the AC unit for five to 10 minutes before reinstalling the hose and other parts. See to it that the appliance is blowing cool air.
Looking for Portable AC Units
There are PAC models with sophisticated digital controls, timers, and other remote controls. Some contain en suite air purifiers, cooling fans, heaters, and dehumidifiers, or heaters. All these depend on your preferences but the main considerations include costs and comfort. Remember that all air conditioning systems are rated in terms of British Thermal Units or BTUs. Heavy duty units with higher grades have higher cooling capacity. Before purchasing the portable unit, see to it that it has adequate BTU ratings for the intended space. If not, the air conditioner may not be capable of meeting your cooling requirements.
For standard rooms with eight-foot ceilings, refer to this table:
||150 square feet
||1,200 cubic feet
||200 square feet
||2,400 cubic feet
||300 square feet
||3,200 cubic feet
||450 square feet
||3,600 cubic feet
||500 square feet
||4,000 cubic feet
The specifications may not be very accurate since there are certain factors that can reduce or increase the number of British Thermal Units needed. There are instances such as if you reside in a searing and humid locality or your ceilings are higher than the standard eight feet. There are rooms that may have a number of appliances that generate heat or the room is not properly insulated, such as the garage. Then, it becomes imperative that you augment the BTUs appropriately.
BTU levels are not the same for conventional air conditioners and portable units. The cardinal rule is that moveable AC units cover approximately ½ of the area that window models with the same rating can cover. If you are changing an old window air conditioner with a new PAC appliance, it is essential to double the BTU rating of the window model. Portable air conditioners turn out hot air that should be drained during the process of cooling. Thus, place the appliance near the window for the exhaust pipe. It is not at all difficult considering that nearly all PACs are sold with window kits that can match all types of standard windows. In fact, many commercial units come with installation kits which enable the hot air to seep out through the drop ceiling or adjoining wall.
The truth is many portable air conditioning models call for minimal upkeep. There are units that dissolve the accumulated water reducing the need to pour out the buckets. These drainage options eliminate the problem of emptying containers. It is important to clean the filters as required and unfreeze the unit in case ice gathers on the coils. Majority of these appliances are relatively easy to maintain. If the primary concern is energy efficiency, electric bills or the environment, then the portable air conditioner is known for Energy Efficiency Ratio. EER indicates the number of BTUs used for every watt of power. In short, AC units with higher efficiency proportion are said to be more energy efficient.
With regards to noise levels, any machine that produces air movement is going to produce a certain amount of sound. Some may be louder than the others. If this is an issue with you, make a comparison of the decibel levels produced by various units sold in the market. Look for models that produce the least noise.
Know the Downsides of Portable AC
Portable AC units are also fairly heavy so it is really not that simple to move the apparatus around the house. These products are usually fitted with small wheels for mobility on hard surfaces but not on rugs or carpets. Furthermore, some units do not have any casters so it creates some problems especially for old persons or those with spinal column disorders.
The central air conditioning unit is relatively quiet. The only sound you can hear is the air that flows through the ductwork. Even the window unit is not that noisy since the noisy part is practically outside your domicile. On the other hand, the portable air conditioner is inside the room so you can hear the sounds as well. Water coming from the standard AC products is released through the exhaust outside your house. With portable versions, you need a hollow container inside to catch the condensation. This pan or pail must be emptied occasionally by the owner. There is a limited space for cooling which is the main drawback of this household appliance.
Heed the Warnings
One foremost claim of moveable air conditioners is that installation is not needed. Appliance showrooms will display these appliances minus the hosepipe. This may be misleading because all AC units must transfer heat outside. Central and window air conditioning units make use of Freon or chemical compound containing bromine, chlorine and fluorine to convey heat to outdoor coils. Fans are also employed to propel air in cooling outdoor coils.
The transportable variety transports the outdoor coil inside the room but still needs to lower the coil’s temperature. It passes the heat to air. After that, hot air should be driven out from the house. Each unit has one cumbersome hose connected to the outside. Read this tip: The longer the total hosepipe is; the more power is needed to drive air through this channel.
Portable AC varieties require venting kits mounted in the same manner as their window counterparts. This exhaust kit is comparatively smaller compared to the window air conditioner. Yet, it is possible to encounter the same installation problems just like in other models. You need to plan ahead for the installation while shopping around for these appliances. Bear in mind that the term “portable” is quite vague. Think of all the considerations such as the exhaust kit, wheels for moving the equipment and energy costs. The basic question should not be limited to price and features. You should take into account the factors mentioned previously before eventually making up your mind on the type of AC unit to buy.