Saturday, March 5, 2011

Do You Need a Portable Air Conditioner?

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 can solve the cooling challenge by lowering the temperature in a given environment. Below are some common questions consumers have about portable air conditioners:
What is a portable air conditioner and how is it different from a window or central AC?
Generally speaking, air conditioners fall into four different categories: window air conditioners, through-the-wall air conditioners, central air conditioners, and lastly, portable air conditioners.  Window air conditioners are installed into the window of a room and designed to cool that room.  Through-the-wall air conditioners are mounted into a wall and provide a cooling effect by exchanging inside air with outside air, while central air conditioners cool entire homes and buildings.  Portable air conditioners, 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, portable ACs are ideal for a variety of settings, including apartments, rooms, workplaces, computer server rooms, or anywhere else where installing a traditional AC may not be feasible. Although easy to maintain, portable 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.  Nonetheless, portable air conditioners are still great for supplemental or spot cooling, and many of today's models such as the NewAir ACP-1400H also come with built-in heaters and/or air purifiers.  Moreover, because portable room air conditioners utilize a refrigeration cycle to lower temperatures, humidity levels are reduced, therefore making them especially useful for humid climates.

Does a portable air conditioner work just like a standard AC unit?
 Most portable air conditioners work similarly to traditional air conditioners 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 AC, and an exhaust hose expels the air.  Once a portable air conditioner cools the air, water is removed, and most of the water is thus used to cool the actual unit.

When it comes to removing this water, there are two methods: a bucket or tray located within the unit collects the condensate, and this needs to be emptied periodically.  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 portable air conditioners do not require permanent installation, they still need to be vented, and this is done with a window adapter kit (included with all portable AC units) which keeps the hose in place and provides insulation to the partially opened window, drop ceiling, or wall.
What do you need to run a portable AC?
A portable room air conditioner has three main requirements: sufficient space for the unit, an electrical outlet, and an opening for the exhausted hot air.
Top Five Reasons to Purchase a Portable AC
Minimal Installation - One of the main benefits of a portable air conditioner is the fact that it can be moved from room to room and does not need to be permanently installed.
Fully Portable - Almost all portable air conditioners include rolling casters.  Therefore, you can provide cooling comfort to any area with ease.
Versatile - Portable room air conditioners 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 portable air conditioners also feature built-in heaters and air purifiers to provide year-round use and cleaner air.
Energy-Efficient - Overall, portable air conditioners 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 maximize energy-use, a portable air conditioners is a great choice.
Affordable - Portable ACs can be more affordable to purchase than traditional air conditioning units and will usually not incur installation costs.  However, keep in mind that a portable AC with a larger cooling capacity can cost more, as will one with a higher energy efficiency rating.
(ArticlesBase SC #514763)

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