Portable Air Conditioner Quick Guide

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A portable AC  is a small mobile air conditioner, unlike a window AC which must be mounted through the wall. Also, portable air conditioners do not require permanent installation. All of our portable air conditioners are between 29" and 34" tall and weigh between 65 and 80 pounds.

Portable air conditioners also work well in apartment situations where a window unit is unacceptable.  See below for answers to some of the most common portable air conditioner questions we get from customers:  

Is a portable air cooler and a portable air conditioner the same thing?

No, these are not the same.  Air coolers use water and evaporation to cool, similar to the method of a swamp cooler. Generally, air coolers lower ambient tmeperatures by 10-20 degrees. Portable air conditioners use a compressor and coolant to cool and are much more effective in cooling rooms and for keeping the humidity low.

Why and how portable are air conditioners vented?

Portable ACs extract hot air, and this hot air has to be vented. If the hot air isn't vented, the portable air conditionerwill not be able to cool a room effectively. Window and venting kits are always included with portable air conditioners at no extra cost. You can also vent a portable AC through a wall vent, into the attic or drop ceiling, or even around a door - you're only limited by your creativity!

For venting portable AC systems through casement windows - windows that crank out - Plexiglas can be used. Simply cut the Plexiglas as the size of the window, cut out a 5" hole to vent the hose, and place this over the open window.  Not only will the portable air conditioner vented, but Plexiglas will also allow the same amount of light to pass through the window as before.

How long is the exhaust hose?

A portable air conditioner's exhaust hose is generally between 5 and 7 feet long and is made of high quality, flexible plastic. 

How does the window kit work?

The plastic window kit simply is cut to fit most any slider or up and down window in your home - up to 4 feet. The window is then closed against the foam to seal the air from the outside, the exhaust hose then is fit through a small cutout in the foam.

Installation takes about 5 minutes and this allows for easy portability from window to window. For windows larger than 4 feet, simply purchase extra foam at the local hardware store. As mentioned earlier, for unique window situations such as casement (crank-out) windows, a little creativity is all that is needed.

Can the exhaust hose be extended?

All portable air conditioners come with the standard hose length of 5-7 feet. If you need a longer hose, these can be easily found at a local hardware store. It is a good idea to avoid hose lengths over 12 feet or 90 degree bends. You can also vent through the dryer hose as long as the hose diameter is 5" or more and the outdoor venting flap is removed.

Do portable air conditioners collect water?

All portable air conditioners produce condensation as they are cooled. This water is then contained in an internal water reservoir. On all of our models, this water reservoir has an auto shutoff feature so that water is never accidentally spilled onto the ground.

With the unit off, the water is easily emptied into a drip pan. You can also gravity drain the portable AC by connecting a hose to the connection on the reservoir. Portable ACs are able to provide effective cooling with minimal water usage , making them one of the most efficient systems on the market.

Are portable AC's energy efficient?

Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) is a standard measure of efficiency for comparing appliances and the cost of operation. The higher the EER, the more energy efficient the air conditioner. Any rating of 10 or more is consdered excellent.

By cooling only one room, portable air conditioners can save you a considerable amount of money on your monthly electric bill. All of the portable air conditioners that we carry operate on 115 Volt/60 Hertz - the normal household standard. They generally run on about 7-10 amps and require a regular, 3-prong grounded plug found in most homes.

Can portable air conditioners be used to cool computer server rooms?

This is one of the most common uses of a portable air conditioner! Even in small computer rooms, a 12000 BTU unit should be purchased due to the extra heat produced. Moreover, the portable AC will help keep the air dry and more suitable for computer application. See our server room portable AC guide to learn more.

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