- Portable vs. fixed air conditioners
- FAQ - Portable Air Conditioners
- Shopping Checklist: Portable Air Conditioners
- Jargon Busters: Portable Air Conditioners
What are the advantages of a portable air conditioner? Portable air conditioners can be moved from room to room, or even house to house. Non-portable air conditioners are fixed to one location and are often only effective at cooling the main living area. When you factor in the installation costs, fixed air conditioners are also more expensive.
What are the disadvantages of a portable air conditioner? Disadvantages include reduced size and power output (which make them less effective at cooling), louder noise during operation, and additional maintenance tasks, such as removing drip buckets or manually adding water.
What are the different types of portable air conditioner? Portable air conditioners are divided into two basic varieties, depending on the type of condenser they use - remote or ducted. Remote condensers can be hung out a window in a similar manner to a split-system AC system (a window slider kit is usually provided). Ducted condensers blow excess air out a rear-mounted duct.
Portable air conditioners can also be drip or non-drip. As their name implies, drip models expel excess moisture that needs to be periodically drained from the system. Non-drip models, on the other hand, evaporate the condensation back into the air.
What size unit should I purchase? Air conditioners are rated in kilowatts (kW). This is a measure of two factors: an air conditioner's output capacity (the amount of heat that will be removed or added to the room by the air conditioner), and its energy consumption (the energy the air conditioner uses per hour at rated capacity). Both these measurements are shown on the Energy Efficiency Rating label found on all air conditioners as Capacity Output kW and Power Input kW.
The kW rating you will need depends on the size of the room you want to heat or cool and its heat load, which is determined by environmental factors such as the amount of windows and sunlight entering the room, weather conditions and what type of insulation you have. Generally, the bigger the area you have, the more kW you will need to service it. Many portable air conditioners list a suggested room size to match the kW rating.
Is a cooling-only system better than a heating/cooling system? Cooling systems are not necessarily better than combined cooling/heating systems, but they are generally cheaper to buy. Air conditioners that can both heat and cool can save you money because you don't have to purchase additional heaters.
Can I leave doors and windows open while operating the unit? You can leave windows and doors open, but it's not a good idea if you're trying to heat or cool your room. If you're trying to cool down a room, it's best to close curtains, blinds and windows during the hottest part of the day. This will keep your house cooler and prevent your air conditioner from having to work harder than it has to.
Are there filters that need to be cleaned in portable air conditioners? Yes.
How often will they need to be cleaned? If you use your portable air conditioner regularly, you should inspect the air filters twice a month to see if cleaning is necessary. Trapped particles in the filter can build up and block the airflow.
Can I reduce energy usage while still using the unit? You can if you use it economically. If you close windows, doors, curtains and blinds, your portable air conditioner will cool the room more quickly. Air conditioners with Auto settings are economical in their power consumption because they automatically adapt and maintain the temperature you want.