Almost 70 years have gone by since the air conditioner was invented, but the Earth isn’t getting any cooler! Despite becoming a virtual necessity even before summer rolls around, air conditioning is still a luxury for many people. A central air conditioning unit is still a pricey purchase for the home and may be superfluous in smaller residences.It’s a good thing portable air conditioning has come around as it’s a viable option for homeowners who want to beat the heat on a budget.
What Is It?
A portable air conditioning unit is different from a central cooling or wall-mounted unit in that it’s small and mobile. Most portable units are 29-34 inches tall and weigh 30-36 kilos. There is no need to carry out permanent installation when a portable air conditioner is used. This means walls can stay intact!
Sometimes, the terms “portable air conditioner” and “portable air cooler” are used interchangeably, although this shouldn’t be the case. The former utilises a compressor and Freon as a coolant, whereas the latter operates on the principle of water evaporation. With this in mind, portable air conditioners are able to cool an entire room more efficiently than an air cooler, as well as having a dehumidifying effect.
How Does It Work?
A homeowner will need the following in order to install portable air conditioning:
– Space for the unit – An electrical point – An exhaust vent for the hot air
The operation of portable air conditioning is similar to traditional air conditioning systems. The unit cools a room by using a refrigerator cycle and Freon, as mentioned above. A portable air conditioner comprises a box-frame containing hot and cold sides as well as an exhaust hose used to expel hot air outdoors and is usually 5-7 feet long. The condensation that results from cooling is reused to cool the unit itself, although excess condensate may form once in a while.
There are two ways to remove excess condensate:
Manual removal – the condensate collects in a bucket or tray inside the unit and has to be emptied out from time to time.
Evaporative removal – the condensate evaporates and is removed via the main vent hose through a drop ceiling, window or wall.
Venting is usually carried out through a window and can be accomplished with an adaptor kit. This is usually included with a portable air conditioning unit. The kit serves to keep the vent hose in place and also insulates the partly-opened window or space.
Where Can I Use One?
Thanks to their small size and extreme portability, these air conditioners are best for smaller areas that require quicker spot cooling. Examples include apartments, home offices, server rooms and any other location where installing a large air conditioning unit is unfeasible. In the interests of energy conservation and quick cooling, it can also be used in larger houses to cool down just a few particular rooms as well.
Why Should I Use One?
Easy installation – a unit can be moved from one room to another without difficulty because it doesn’t have to be permanently fastened to anything.
Portability – most, if not all, portable air conditioners come with rolling casters. That way, the unit can be located virtually anywhere you want it to be and moving it won’t give you a hernia in the process.
Two-in-one functionality – not only do they cool the air, the cooling process itself allows the unit to act as a dehumidifier. Additionally, more and more portable air conditioners contain air purifiers to ensure cleaner air for the user.
Energy efficiency – portable units cost much less to operate compared to central air conditioning units thanks to their smaller size. There is also less energy wastage where smaller units are concerned because they’re able to cool a particular area much more quickly.
Affordability – the lack of installation costs, basic operating principles and the size of a portable air conditioning unit helps to keep prices down. A more energy-efficient unit will cost slightly more, but even this will be lower than the price of a regular air conditioning unit. Maintenance of a portable unit is also much easier and cheaper, and it’s easy to carry out minor repairs on your own.
Comparison to Central Air Conditioning
As the name suggests, a portable air conditioner is only able to cool a small area compared to regular air conditioners. In addition, portable units tend to be noisier than permanently mounted ones. It may also become a tiresome chore if you opt for a portable unit where the condensation has to be removed manually. The vent hose and even the unit itself may prove to be obtrusive for those who are accustomed to keeping the floor clear.