Air conditioners are a perfect way to keep summer heat under control. Not only can portable air conditioners keep
your home comfortable but they also reduce humidity levels that are often high during the humid summer months. Keeping your temperature and
indoor humidity levels low is a very basic but effective way to control allergies and asthma. Some homes and apartments are not equipped with central
air conditioner and at times, cost can be prohibitive. Because
installing a portable air conditioner is easy,
they are ideal alternatives for these situations.
While portable air conditioners vary by price, options and even functionality, there are
some common characteristics you should consider before purchasing.
See our article, 5 Things to
Consider When Purchasing a
Portable Air Conditioner. As with any purchase,
price is commonly the most pressing concern. Undoubtedly, price is important, but so is
purchasing a unit that will provide you with cooling relief for years to come. Aside from
price the primary factor you should consider when trying to decide on which unit to buy is
the BTU output. A BTU, or British Thermal Unit, is a unit used to measure energy. This
is a common term used to describe how much heat or cool energy an appliance will generate.
As with BTU's in heating, the the higher BTU's in a portable air conditioner, the more
cool air it can generate in any given time period. When you know the size of the room you
can then more easily determine what BTU portable air conditioner will best meet your needs.
Another important factor to consider is what the units actually provide. Some portable
air conditioners double as dehumidifiers or have a dehumidifier only function. This is a
logical step considering the technology that powers an air conditioner is
identical to that which powers a dehumidifier, with only one noticeable difference.
Dehumidifiers allow the air to be reheated before it is pushed back out into the room simply
because warmer air can trap more moisture and thus ultimately increase the amount of moisture
you are able to remove from any space. Air conditioners also remove moisture from the
air but with slightly less efficiency. Some units also come equipped with heating
elements. In most instances these units are not as efficient as air conditioner or air
conditioner/dehumidifier units only, and generally we do not advise purchasing a portable
air conditioner and expect it to function as efficiently as an all in one model.
Hose type is one of the last determining factors. There are single and dual hose portable air
conditioners. Dual hose portable air conditioners have two separate air intakes and one
outtake hose. From one intake
air is pulled from inside the room, cooled then expelled back into the room. The process
to cool the air and power the fan, creates heat. To remedy this generated heat, a hose pulls air from
outside the room or home into the unit to specifically cool the compressor. The second hose
expels all warm air from the unit. This differs from single hose units in that a single
hose portable air conditioner pulls air in only from inside the room. Once it is cooled,
some of this cooled air is then forced over the compressor to cool it. From here, the
air is expelled though the outtake hose.
The problem with a single hose method is that
ultimately you are removing air from inside the room. This creates a negative air pressure
and air from cracks under doors, around windows and other places will enter the room to rebalance the
air pressure. This means warmer outside air is indirectly being pulled back into the
room or home. While dual hose units are ideal, they are not always the best option depending
on your particular situation. And in general, dual hose units tend to be more expensive.