Portable Air Conditioners FAQ

Portable Air Conditioners FAQ

Why do I need a Portable Air Conditioner?

Besides helping you create a cool, comfortable environment in your home, the benefits you receive from these units include: energy saving spot cooling, no obstruction of window views, no ugly window units visible to neighbors, cools a home without the cost of central air, easy assembly, and quick set up time. All of these units are on casters and most come with easy grips on the sides to make them portable and easy to move throughout the home.

How will a Portable AC help with my allergies?

Portable ACs help control humidity

Portable air conditioners not only help keep you cool during hot summer months, they also help allergy sufferers keep their allergies under control by regulating indoor temperatures and humidity levels. Dust mites and mold spores, two of the most potent and prevalent allergens, both of which can aggravate both allergy and asthma symptoms, are particularly affected by fluctuations in temperature and humidity.

Portable air conditioners lower indoor humidity. Controlling humidity levels and keeping allergies under control go hand in hand. Allergy sufferers should monitor humidity levels and use portable air conditioners, dehumidifiers, and humidifiers to keep humidity levels between 40 and 50 percent.

How do portable air conditioners work?

A portable air conditioner operates the same way as window air conditioner does. They cool your room by cooling the warm air in your home and exhausting the byproducts of heat and moisture out the window. Hot air from the room passes over coils cooled by refrigerant gas. Excess heat and moisture are pushed out through the exhaust hose while the chilled air is emitted back into the room.

The main difference is that PACs come with an exhaust hose (or two) that directs the hot air from the back of the unit through a window. You could also cut a hole in a wall for a more permanent exhaust option. Window air conditioner units do not have this feature, because the exhaust is outside already. Most portable air conditioners also have a water tank to collect excess condensate, or water, that is extracted from the air. This tank needs to be emptied which needs to be emptied occasionally to keep the unit working properly.

What are BTUs and which size PAC is right for me?

Almost all portable air conditioners are rated by the number of British Thermal Units (BTUs) of heat they can remove per hour. Your portable room air conditioner should be generally, at least 12,000 BTUs for a room size of 300 to 400 square feet. The size of your air conditioning unit also depends on many factors like how much shade there is 0n the room, how many people are normally in the room, what the room is used for (kitchens will need more BTUs), what other sources of heat are in the room, and how much insulation is in your walls and ceilings. This guide is based on normal room insulation, average number of sun-exposed windows and two-person occupancy. Here are some approximate room sizes and the corresponding BTUs needed to cool these rooms:

  • 100-200 = 8,000 - 10,000 BTU
  • 200-300 = 10,000 - 12,000 BTU
  • 300-400 = 12,000 - 14,000 BTU
  • 400+ = 14,000+ BTU

Please remember that the size on the room is only one factor that you need to consider when choosing the correct size for your portable air conditioner.

Where do I place my Portable Air Conditioner?

Friedrich P12B Portable Air Conditioner

Normally, portable air conditioners are placed close to windows, but not up against the wall right underneath the window. Placement is often determined by how you have to use the exhaust hose and the drain outlet. You need some air flow around the unit, but the main issue is the exhaust. You want to keep the exhaust hose as straight as possible. And while you cannot usually keep it perfectly straight, avoid you need enough room so that bends in hose are gentle curves, not hard angles that will impede air flow. For more permanent set ups, you can connect the exhaust hose through the wall to the outside and set up a direct drain system with a hose. This is called porting.

What features should I look for in a Portable AC?

After looking at the BTUs for a unit, one of the biggest features to look for in a PAC is whether the unit is a dual hose or single hose unit. Dual hose units operate more efficiently in most cases. Dual hose units feature two air intakes and one outtake hose. The air intake pulls air from the room, cools it, and then returns it back into the room. This process causes heat to build up in and around the unit's motor, so another intake hose takes air from outside to cool this part of the portable air condtioner down. The second hose expels all warm air back outside. Dual hose systems are more efficient in larger settings and do no create negative air pressure like single hose units do.

You might also try to find out what exactly the window kit is like. Some of our PACs have hard plastic window sliders, while others just have a foam insert for the window.

How do I know when to empty the water reservoir?

Nearly all of the units in our selection have a safety shut off feature. When water tank is full, the unit will stop running and the water full indicator will light up. In other cases the unit will simply shut off.

Does the Portable Air Conditioner need to be vented?

Yes, the hot air that is exhausted out the back of these units must be vented to the outside via a window, wall, or your existing duct work. A window kit is included with each unit that is designed for double hung and sliding type windows. The window kits are adjustable.  The exhaust from the unit is not harmful.  It is just hot air!

How long is the typical exhaust hose with one of these units?

In general, the exhaust hose is extendable up to 5 or 6 feet. These plastic hoses are easy to adjust to your required ducting needs.

What is Porting?

Porting your Portable AC

For most of our Portable AC units, you will not need to set up a permanent condensate drain. Portable ACs work to limit the amount of water pulled from the air and collected in the machine by employing some type of self or auto evaporation. However, for a semi permanent installation you may want to consider this option.

Porting is the process of using an exterior drain line to continuously drain your portable air conditioner. This process is usually used with a dehumidifier. Read more about porting and the process. It is fairly simple and it works best when gravity is on your side. Your portable AC needs to be placed in a higher position than the receptacle where you want the water to drain into. If this is not possible due to a grade or a lack of a nearby drain, you can still port your portable air conditioner, but you will require a condensate pump to push the water over a longer distance.

Do I need a condensate pump?

Condensate Pumps

A condensate pump is a simple pump device that pushes fluids much in the same way a sump pump works. The only difference is a condensate pump is built mainly for the purpose of moving moisture removed by dehumidification. You probably will not need a condensate pump with your portable air conditioner unless you are doing a permanent installation. One unit we offer, the Delonghi PACT110P, has an internal condensate pump that will actually push the excess condensate out of the unit much like a traditional, separate condensate pump.

How long will my Portable Air Conditioner last?

If your unit does not run every day or 24 hours a day, it will inevitably last longer. Most of the units we carry are durable from 3 to 5 years though most have warranties that are shorter than that time frame.

Can I use my PAC without the exhaust hose?

You only can use your portable air conditioner without the exhaust hose when it is in dehumidifier mode.  If you are trying to cool a room or space, the hot air must be vented.  Otherwise you are just recycling hot air back into the room.

Should I keep the box?

Keep your portable AC box

Should a portable air conditioner that you purchase from us encounter problems due to no fault of your own within 60 days of purchase, you can contact customer service to obtain a Return Authorization number and exchange the unit. For this reason, we recommend you keep the box that your  portable air conditioner arrived in for at least 60 days. If you have the storage space, you may want to keep the box for as long as the manufacturer's warranty time period.

How do I clean and maintain my Portable Air Conditioner?

Proper maintenance and cleaning of a portable AC unit is very important to keeping the unit in proper working order. The air filter should be cleaned every 2 weeks or every 100 hours of use to maintain proper air flow. Once the filter is removed from the unit, most of the air filters can be cleaned with soft cloth or with a vacuum cleaner attachment. You can use a mild detergent on most filters. Make sure the filter is completely dry before replacing in the unit. Our DeLonghi portable air conditioners use a 3M Filtrete filter. These filters, while providing far superior air filtration, cannot be washed and reused.

To clean the outside of the your portable AC. Turn the unit off and unplug. Wipe with a soft, damp cloth. You can use a mild detergent, but be sure to allow the unit to dry completely. Do not use harsh chemicals on the surface and avoid splashing water on or into the portable AC unit. This can severely damage the unit and may put you at risk for electrical shock.

Are Portable Air Conditioners heavy?

Yes! Like most window units, portable air conditioners are very heavy. They can range anywhere from 60-120 pounds. Portable air conditioners all have casters and grip handles, but these units are difficult to move up or down stairs. They are fine if you can roll them between rooms.

How loud is a Portable AC?

While portable air conditioners are not as quiet as central ACs or even some window units, DeLonghi portable ACs and Royal Sovereign portable air conditioners tend to be among the quieter models. Most do not make excessive noise and generally fall in the 50-59 decibel category.

Can I safely recycle the water my portable air conditioner produces?

Recycle the water from your PAC

This is a "yes, but" answer. If you want to recycle water from your PAC, there are many things you can do with the condensate that your portable air conditioner produces. Keep in mind that the water produced by air conditioners and dehumidifiers is not meant for human consumption. While it will often initially be free of pathogens, it can stagnate quickly. What also makes it unfit for human consumption is that condensate water often lacks the mineral and inorganic substances that make water drinkable. This also means you should not use the water to fill your pet's water dish. You can use your air conditioner water to water your indoor plants or use it outside for a vegetable garden, flowers, or other landscaping you may have. While you cannot drink the water, it still can be put to good use.

How will using a portable air conditioner impact my power bill?

You are definitely going to notice an increase in your power consumption and an increase in your electric bill. Depending on the size of the unit, portable air conditioners will consume a range of power. Look for models with higher EER's. This number corresponds with how much of the energy consumed it actually turned into cooling power. The higher the EER, the more cooling you are getting for your buck.

Am I forgetting anything?

If you have any questions about portable air conditioners, air purifiers, allergies, shipping, or our company policies, please call our customer services representatives at 1-800-339-7123 or you can reach us via email at cs@achooallergy.com.

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