Portable Air Conditioners

Image Credit: Dimplex (www.dimplex.com.au)

Image Credit: Dimplex (www.dimplex.com.au)

Shopping Checklist: Portable Air Conditioners

  • Size of air conditioner You need to buy a portable air conditioner that's big enough for the space you want to cool or heat. Air conditioners are rated in kW - generally, the bigger the area you have, the more kW you will need to service it.

  • Drip of non-drip Decide what type of portable air conditioner you want - drip or non-drip. Drip models create excess condensation that needs to be drained manually from the system. Non-drip models evaporate the condensation back into the air. Non-drip models are more self-efficient but they also cost more than drip models.

  • Condenser type The condenser is the part of a portable air conditioner that removes excess heat. Decide what condenser type you want - remote or ducted. Note that a remote condenser requires you to hang a section of hose outside your house. This may require a window slider kit, which can be installed yourself.

  • Noise Portable air conditioners are louder than split systems and ducted air conditioners. This is because the compressor is attached to the main unit and located inside. Some models offer a noise rating on the box.

  • Filter

    Clean air is essential for efficient operation. Look for units with filters that can be easily cleaned or replaced.

  • Air conditioner maintenance

    With good maintenance, your air conditioner should last about 15 years. Make sure you ask about the maintenance required. You can keep your system running efficiently by keeping it free of dust (give it a good clean and change the filter regularly) and making sure there is plenty of airflow around the entire unit.

  • Running costs

    How much a portable air conditioner costs to run depends on how often you use it. The bigger the unit, the more it will cost for the outright purchase and ongoing costs.

  • Cooling speed

    The speed it takes to cool down an area will depend on the air conditioner's kW rating, the temperature, and the size of the room.

  • Reverse-cycle

    Reverse-cycle portable air conditioners include heating options to warm a room on cold days. These models are more expensive than cooling only models, but it means you won't have to buy a heater in the winter.

  • Energy efficiency

    The Energy Star rating system is a government-backed program that alerts buyers to energy-efficient products. The more stars a portable air conditioner receives, the more energy efficient it will be.

  • Evaporative coolers

    If you're on a limited budget, an evaporative cooler might be worth considering. However, they are much less effective at cooling a room than a portable air conditioner.

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