During the hot summer months, almost everyone needs to escape the relentless sun along with the accompanying heat and humidity. While many newer homes sport central air, older houses and rental apartments often lack what many people see as a fundamental necessity. In such cases, portable air conditioners fill the need to cool the space.
Others, however, have also found that portable air conditioners may save money over using central air. This especially rings true for people living in larger homes. Since portable air conditioners cool a room very quickly, you can only use the unit serving the room that you happen to be in.
Portable air conditioners include both window units and those that sit on the floor inside the home. Those designed to sit entirely inside the home are placed on the floor with one or two hoses leading to the outside. Manufacturers refer to these types of units as “portable” because they require no modifications to the home to install.
How to Figure Out What Size Will Work Best for Your Room
Don’t be tempted to simply buy the biggest and most powerful portable air conditioner. Although many believe that there is no such thing as too much power, the size of the unit and the expense to power it may prove inconvenient in the long run.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, resist the urge to penny pinch and simply buy the cheapest and smallest. A unit too small for the room will fail to properly cool the space. It will also work harder to try to achieve the right result and cost you more in energy over time. For the amount of money needed to purchase and operate a portable air conditioner, you want yourself and your family to be comfortable.
Portable air conditioners rate their power in British Thermal Units (BTUs). The higher the number of BTUs, the more power the unit has to cool the room. Of course, more BTUs means more dollars spent on power, too.
Here are some guidelines on what size unit you will need in various sized rooms with eight-foot ceilings:
- 8,000 BTUs cools a space of about 200 square feet
- 10,000 BTUs cools a space of almost 300 square feet
- 12,000 BTUs cools a space of almost 400 square feet
- 13,000 BTUs cools a space of almost 450 square feet
- 14,000 BTUs cools a space of almost 500 square feet
Of course, these guidelines will change when confronted by different environmental factors. A room with poor insulation and leaks to the outside will naturally require more BTUs. This also holds true when trying to cool a room with heat producing appliances. This does not just include ovens, but also computers and television sets.
Other tips include:
- If the room is heavily shaded, reduce estimated power need by 10 percent
- If the room is exposed to sunlight most of the day, increase estimated need by 10 percent
- If more than two people occupy the room regularly, increase estimated need by 600 BTUs for each person
- When cooling a kitchen, estimate 4,000 more BTUs
Energy Efficiency Matters
Portable air conditioners generally run more efficiently than central air systems, but different brands, sizes of units, and other factors can affect energy efficiency. Newer portable units come with more energy friendly insulation. You can also peruse smart options that you can control with an app on your phone. Instead of leaving the air conditioner on all day while you are at work, turn it on ten minutes before you get home. The space will be cooled down and you will have saved energy and money.
You can also reduce energy costs by turning off or unplugging heat producing appliances when not in use. This will ensure that your air conditioner is not working harder than it must to keep you and your space comfortable.
Of course, the best way to conserve energy is to make sure that you get the right sized unit for your space.
Water Condensation Can Be a Huge Issue
Ease of use correlates directly to what happens to the unit’s water condensation. A poorly installed or maintained air conditioner can create a huge mess when condensation spills into the house. The cooling mechanism of the unit, when exposed to warm and humid air, will create condensation. Different types of units have different ways of resolving the water issue.
Window units handle condensation easily by allowing it to drip outside from the rear of the air conditioner. Portable floor air conditioners, however, do not have that option. Some floor units drip the condensation into a bucket, which must get drained on a regular basis. Partial drip air conditioners expel most water through the exhaust, but some still ends up in the pan and must be drained, though not as often as a simple drip style. Last, and usually more expensive, there are options that expel all water out entirely as vapor, leaving no drain to empty and no mess on the floor from overflowing pans or buckets.
Where Is the Optimal Placement for Your Air Conditioner?
Whether using a window or floor unit, you will need to clear space near the window. Window units will need a clear line of effect to push the cooled air across the room. Floor unit air conditioners use one or two hoses to pull fresh air into the unit and expel hot air. Those hoses do not generally extend to great lengths and, in any event, few people want to have hoses reaching across the room if they can help it.
Also, consider aesthetics when looking at a floor unit portable air conditioner. It will be a feature that people will notice when they come to your home. Fortunately, floor unit air conditioners come in a variety of styles that can match the decor of most homes.
You will also want to consider noise if this represents an important issue to your household. Window air conditioners do create some noise in the interior space but much of the total noise created goes outside instead of in. Portable floor unit air conditioners often seem to create more noise than window units because they operate entirely inside the home.
If a manufacturer has looked to reduce noise, generally it will be expressed in the advertising or packaging. Consumer reviews will also indicate fairly quickly and definitively if the noise created exceeds what typically gets considered as “background noise.”
What You Need to Know About Installation
Most people can install portable air conditioners fairly easily, outside of the weight and bulk issues that may cause some purchasers problems. That being said, it is important to make sure and install the unit properly.
First, be honest with yourself about your ability to maneuver the unit. If you cannot lift and hold 100 pounds, get assistance from a friend or even a professional to install it. You don’t want to hurt yourself or break the air conditioner in the quest to make your space more comfortable.
When installed improperly, an air conditioner can create problems. Incorrect installation of the unit or the insulation surrounding it can lead to air leaks and energy inefficiency. These could cost you more money and lead to poor performance. Even worse, air conditioners create a great deal of water condensation. In many units, when properly installed, the condensation drains outside. When not installed properly, you will eventually have a mess on your hands and possible damage to floors or walls.
Make sure to carefully follow all directions even if you have installed units before. Though they are typically easy to install, some have slightly different designs.
For those that have difficulty making heads or tails of written directions, YouTube has a wide selection of instructional videos on how to properly install most brands of air conditioners.
How to Keep Your Portable Air Conditioner Well Maintained
Maintenance is almost always much easier than installation. When properly maintained, usually no need exists to remove the unit from the window or placement on the floor.
First, regularly check the air filters. Even the cleanest house and yard has dirt and other debris, including allergens floating in the air. The filter keeps these out by trapping them. As it takes more particles from the air, dirt builds up in the filter. When the filter gets clogged, some of the dirt could enter the room through the air. Also, the unit must work harder to push air through the clogged filter.
Also, make sure that with floor units that the hose is as straight and short as possible. This will reduce the chance of condensation building up that could spill out onto your floor.
After each season, give your air conditioner a thorough deep clean. Take it apart and wipe down the components with vinegar or another mild cleaner. Water condensation can attract the growth of algae and mildew which can clog vital parts and spread unhealthy microbes into the air. Yearly cleanings will keep your air conditioner in top condition and eliminate potential health risks.
Finally, avoid storing the unit in an area that experiences extreme temperature fluctuations. Especially with newer models that utilize electronics, fluctuations between warm and extremely cold can damage the unit. Put the air conditioner in its original box then store it in a climate controlled room or closet.
Contact Us Today to Place an Order or Receive More Information
Appliances Connection offers a wide variety of portable air conditioners that can cool your space efficiently and effectively. We carry different sizes and shapes that you place on the floor. Also, we sell top quality air conditioners from all the nationally recognized brands.
Our best sellers include the eco-friendly Whynter ARC122DS, a digital and portable unit that puts out up to 12,000 BTUs. We also offer the Frigidaire FGPC1244T1, which comes with a low profile window kit and a clean air ionizer feature. For those needing less power, we have the 8,000 BTU Haier HPPO8XCR, which features wheels for easy moving, digital time display, and auto restart, among many other features.
Come to our website and browse our huge selection of portable air conditioners. You are sure to see brands and styles that fit your needs.
Reach out to us today if you have any questions or wish to place an order. We have some of the most professional and expert staff available to answer any questions and also to assist in placing your order. Call at 1-800 299-9470 or use our instant online chat function.