Portable Air Conditioner Overview

When you need to efficiently cool a small space such as a bedroom or office, a portable air conditioner is a great choice because it doesn't take up much space and it can save you money! Here's a general overview of how this type of air cooler works and the benefits it offers.

What is a portable AC?

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Air conditioners fall into four different categories: window air conditioners, through-the-wall air conditioners, central air conditioners, and lastly, portable air conditioners. Window ACs are installed into the window of a room and designed to cool that room. Through-the-wall ACs are mounted into a wall and provide a cooling effect by exchanging inside air with outside air, while central ACs cool entire homes and buildings.

Portable ACs, on the other hand, do not require permanent installation such as reconfiguring a window or breaking into a wall and can be moved from one room to the next.

Because of their easy maneuverability, relatively small size, and portability, they are ideal for a variety of settings:

  • Apartments
  • Small rooms
  • Workplaces
  • Computer server rooms
  • Anywhere else where installing a traditional unit may not be feasible.
Although easy to maintain, small air conditioners do need to be vented out a window, but this is easily performed by positioning a flexible hose from the unit to the outside. Because room air conditioners utilize a refrigeration cycle to lower temperatures, humidity levels are reduced, therefore making them especially useful for humid climates.

How do they work?

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Most transportable air conditioners work similarly to traditional coolers in that they produce a cooling effect utilizing the refrigeration cycle and a coolant such as Freon. The unit itself consists of a boxed frame that holds the cold and hot sides of the unit, and an exhaust hose expels the air. Once they cool the air, water is removed, and most of the water is used to cool the actual unit.

When it comes to removing this water, there are two methods:

  1. A bucket or tray located within the unit collects the condensate, and this needs to be emptied periodically.
  2. The second method, called "auto-evaporative," actually involves evaporating the water and exhausting it through a main venting hose and through a window, drop ceiling, or wall.
Therefore, while it's true that movable air conditioners don't require permanent installation, they still need to be vented, and this is done with a window adapter kit (included with all units) which keeps the hose in place and provides insulation to the partially opened window, drop ceiling, or wall.

Due to the condensate removal and venting, room air conditioners expel water from the air. Thus, they also function as dehumidifiers, and most units can be used as fans when not in cooling mode.

What do they require?

A small air conditioner has three main requirements:
  1. Sufficient space for the unit
  2. Electrical outlet
  3. Opening for the exhausted hot air

Top 5 Reasons to Purchase a Portable AC

  1. Minimal Installation Requirements - One of the main benefits of a them is that it can be moved from room to room and don't not need to be permanently installed.
  2. Portability - Almost all models include rolling casters. Therefore, you can provide cooling comfort to any area with ease.
  3. Multi-Functional - They do more than just cool. The refrigeration cycle utilized by these types of units naturally produces a dehumidification effect, making them ideal for use in a humid climate. Moreover, many models also feature built-in heaters and air purifiers to provide year-round use and cleaner air.
  4. Energy-Efficient - Overall, they are small and more economical to operate than central air conditioners because they are usually only used to cool a specific area. With that said, if you need a portable cooler that will minimize energy, they are a great choice.
  5. Affordable - Portable air conditioners are oftentimes more affordable than traditional air conditioning units and will usually not incur installation costs. However, keep in mind that units with a larger cooling capacity can cost more, as will one with a higher energy efficiency rating.

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