What Is A Portable Air Conditioner?

As is evident from the name a portable air conditioner (AC) is a mobile unit, which can be moved from room to room. It takes in warm room air, cools it,and resends it into your living space. It discharges the warm air through exhaust hose that you fit in your window. The unit has various controls to adjust the fan speed and temperature.

Standalone units: Being standalone units, they sit on the floor. They are available with installation kit and are almost painless to install. For installation, you have to buywindow kits which have a window slider and exhaust hose. In some cases the warm air is expelled through drop ceiling or through a wall. The machine haswheelsfor rendering them mobility. This is their essential advantage to window ACs and split ones. These are fit for rooms that you need to cool only occasionally. They are also good options to cool big apartments where installing a permanent unit is quite impossible.

How to select a portable air conditioner?

Check the compatibility of the model and window type:
When you buy a portable AC, ensure that it matches to your window-type. There are different units fit for single-or double-hung and sliding windows. However, there are no models for casement windows. Consumers with casement windows, use Plexiglas to conceal the entire window area. Thereafter a hole is cut for the hose. Fitting an AC in sliding glass window is a little complicatedjob. The kit that you get with the AC is not enough to cover the height of the door. Buy at least two window installation kits to completely cover the door opening. You can secure the kits with the screws. You may needmaterials like Plywood and Styrofoam for coveringand insulation. Before installing aunit, read the manufacturer’sinstructionscarefully.

Size: The size of an AC is very important in terms of cooling the room efficiently. Always remember that an undersizedunit will not succeed in cooling the room efficiently. Again, a too-big unit will remove too much humidity which will make the room feel damp. Before you buy a portable AC,determine the footage of the room you want to cool. Also check the AC's BTU (British Thermal Unit) rating. BTU indicates the amount of heat the machine will remove from the room. The higher the BTU, the more efficient the machine is in cooling larger areas. Here is a quick guideline.

• 7,500 BTUs is required for cooling 150 sq. ft. x 8-ft. ceiling = 1,200 cubic feet

• 9,000 BTUs is required for cooling 200 sq. ft. x 8-ft. ceiling = 1,600 cubic feet

• 10,000 BTUs is required for cooling 300 sq. ft. x 8-ft. ceiling = 2,400 cubic feet

• 12,000 BTUs is required for cooling 400 sq. ft. x 8-ft. ceiling = 3,200 cubic feet

• 13,000 BTUs is required for cooling 450 sq. ft. x 8-ft. ceiling = 3,600 cubic feet

• 14,000 BTUs is required for cooling 500 sq. ft. x 8-ft. ceiling = 4,000 cubic feet

If you live in acold region or will need to use the AC in the cooler hours of the day, then amoderate BTU rate will do. If you will the your AC at the warm hours of day, go for a unit with high BTU rating. A room with multiple heat-generating gadgets or access tolot of natural sunlight will alsoneed a powerfulunit.

EER:
When you buy an AC always check its EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio). The higher the EER, the more efficient is the air conditioner.

What features should you expect in you portable AC?

Before you buy any electronic product, you always look for its features. It is the features that make a machine more versatile and comfortable. A portable AC also comes with host of features:

Dehumidifier:
It will remove the moisture from the air without cooling.

Fan: it will circulate cool air inside your room.

Heating capability:
This feature allows you to maintain a comfortable temperature round the year.

Self-Evaporation:
The AC unit does two jobs. It cools the air in the room and removes moisture from the air. Water collects in the unit. Self-evaporating air conditioners reduce the need to drain this water.

Programmable timer:This feature will enable you to setthe unit to turn on and off at required times. It is agreat way to save on energy bills.

A remote control:
You can easily turn on or stop the AC or adjust it from anywhere in the room without getting up.

Lamp-off feature: It allows you to turn off the light in the panel display. So that it does not keep the room lighted at night.

When you install a portable AC, always remember to configure each mode. Thecoolingmode of the AC will need an exhaust to vent the warm air. The dehumidifier will need a drain to remove the moisture the machine collects. Portable ACs with heater function will have a separate BTU rating for the heating unit. Check if this rating matches with your room size.

How to maintain your portable AC?

It is easy to maintain a portable air conditioner. Here are few steps that you should follow to maintain your device:

• Always put off the switch and take outthe plug from the electricsocketbeforeyou begin cleaningthe unit.

• Drain thewater from theunit as instructed by the manufacturer. Even the self- evaporating models need draining attimes.

• Take out the air filter and clean them once in every two weeks.

• Wipe your AC unit regularly with a damp cloth to remove the dust layer gathered on it.

• You can also buy a gravity drain and condensate pump to drain excess moisture, if your model is not integrated with them. All you have to do is attaching the hose to the drain port and let the water flow through it. Some of the models are designed to be compatible with a condense pump which will pump the drained water out of the window or along a long distance into a different location.

• If your unit needs a manual removal, then maintain the interval of doing so. AC units depending on the model can require you to change the water every 8 hours or just once in a month. This will also depend on the humidity of the region and length of use. You will need to keep abucket where the water will gather and replace it before cooling starts again.

What should you do if your hose falls short?

You have to lengthen it. But try to avoid it. This can make your warranty invalid. It can also raise the potential of over-heating of the AC.
Can portable ACs be used in server rooms?

Server rooms are common in offices with increasing use of computers and internet. However, on weekends when the work place remainsclosed the central airconditioning unit it turned off. On these days it is ideal to have a portable AC with self-evaporationfeature running in these rooms. In such a case you will not need any staff to remove the collected water and can leave the machine running unattended.

A problem with using portable ACsin server rooms could be lack ofwindowsin the room to drain outthe air and moisture. Most serverrooms are located in the interiorof the buildings withoutwindows. However a solution could be directing the hose into a drop ceiling space or through a hole in the wall to an adjacent area.

What are the electrical requirements of portable ACs?

You do not need any special wiring for portable ACs. These on an average need115/120 volt power. But do not plug in theACin asocket that is overloaded with several high-energy-consumption devices.

Isa portable air conditioner energy efficient?

The energy consumption due to portable ACs is not substantial. They operate on normal household standards of 115/120 volts. They usually run on about 7-10 amps. You need an ordinary 3-prong grounded plug to connect them to power.

Can a portable air conditioner cool multiple rooms?

This willdepend on the size of the hallway. Like window or split ACs the potable units also cool the immediate area. The cold air will not travel down hallways. You can use fans to circulate the air. But still areas located at adistance from it willexperience a slight cooling effect.

Are a single-hose design and a dual-hose designdifferent?

There are two types of designs for portable AC- single hose design and double hose design. The single hose takes the warm air from the room, cools it, and sends most of the air back to the room. The warm air is vented out of the hose. A certain portion of the cool air isused by the machine to cool itself. This removes certain amount of air from the room constantly. Dual hose machines have two hoses. It uses its second hose to take in outside air to cool the compressor. It also uses two fans which increase your energy usage slightly. However, it is said that heat wastage in portable ACs is much more than window or split ACs.

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