Have you been suffering from uneven temperatures in your home, with some areas being uncomfortably warm? Maybe your central air conditioning system isn’t adequately cooling your bedrooms on the top floor, or your old window unit AC quit on you. In any case, if you’ve been sweating it out as you try to determine the best way to solve the problem, today’s post is for you.
Portable room air conditioners are an affordable option for improving comfort in hard-to-cool rooms or areas around your house. Here’s what you need to consider about these newer style units, starting with a few common questions.
How Do Portable ACs Compare To Window Units?
First, many customers are bit confused at how window air conditioners—which are technically a portable cooling solution vs. central AC systems—differ from truly portable units. The point to remember is that so-called portable air conditioners do not mount in a window. They are standalone machines, usually on casters, that can be moved from place to place in your home, office, or even garage and workshop spaces.
Portable AC units look a lot like dehumidifiers (and, in fact, some perform that function quite well in addition to cooling). While not exactly unobtrusive, they don’t completely block your view from your windows, which many customers find appealing.
Now, it’s important to note that portable AC units do need to vent to the outside, and one of the easiest ways to accomplish this is through a window. This most significant difference is that the exhaust hose and piece that attaches it in your window can be quickly removed and reinstalled, unlike with traditional window AC units. Window screens can even be left in place with some configurations.
Often more efficient than older window units, which are known energy hogs, portable air conditioners represent a new generation in room cooling devices. They tend to be a bit higher priced than window AC units with similar BTUs and power requirements, but you may make that difference back in energy savings in a relatively short amount of time. Also, remember that many portable units are multi-purpose: most dehumidify in addition to cooling, and some models even have space heating capabilities.
What Are The Downsides to a Portable AC Unit?
While portable AC units don’t have too many drawbacks, most customers find that they may not cool quite as effectively as comparable window units. Some portables exhaust a degree of warm air back into the room, especially if the exhaust hose becomes damaged. They also tend to be noisy. And some people just find the units unacceptably ugly, too.
One additional thing to remember is that because they dehumidify, you will also sometimes have to empty a water reservoir within the unit or hook up a continuous drainage hose, as you would with a single-purpose portable dehumidifier.
How To Shop Portable Air Conditioners: Things to Think About
Like window units, portable air conditioners will be rated by their output in BTUs, which correspond to the approximate number of square feet the AC can cool. Taking GE’s model # APCA12YZMW portable AC as an example, this unit can cool about 450 sq. ft. with its powerful 12,000 BTU-rated mechanicals. When used in a smaller space, this air conditioner won’t have to work as hard to keep you comfortable, which means you could see some energy savings over time. And there are many other units rated for smaller spaces, as well.
All portable air conditioners need to vent to the outside, which is most easily accomplished through a window with the use of an exhaust hose (typically included with purchase). This setup is easy to put in place and remove, so even though it may seem inconvenient, it tends to be much simpler to deal with than installing a window unit directly into a window itself.
As we mentioned above, portable air conditioners also tend to be powerful room dehumidifiers, which is an appealing feature to many of our Lancaster County customers since our local summer weather tends to be extremely humid. The main thing to keep in mind, though, is that with this capability comes a need for adequate drainage. If you don’t want to run a drainage hose from the unit, you may frequently be emptying its water-collecting reservoir.
Based on scores of customer reviews and testing by independent consumer agencies, reports consistently show that portable air conditioners are loud compared to other cooling solutions. For those individuals who are sensitive to noise, the convenience these units offered may not matter. Comparable window units tend to be quieter.
One last thing to note is that some portable AC units also have heating capabilities. If you’re using a portable unit to cool a workshop or other utility space that also doesn’t have central heating, you will be able to use models like Haier’s HPND14XHT to increase your comfort year-round.
Discover Top Portable AC Units at Gochnauer’s
Here at Gochnauer’s Home Appliance Center, we carry portable AC units from two of the biggest names in the portable air quality management market—GE and Haier. Both makers offer units in a variety of BTU/size options and with different capabilities/controls.
If you’re currently shopping for space cooling and dehumidifying solutions, we invite you to call us today at 717-569-0439 during business hours to chat with one of our friendly and knowledgeable appliance experts. Our sales staff members are available by phone during the current COVID-19 situation to help with purchasing decisions and arrange for product pick-up, delivery, or browsing by private appointment in our East Petersburg showroom.