If you are looking for the top-rated portable air conditioners, check out our comparison table here.
If you want our recommendation for the best portable air conditioner, we like the Whynter 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner (ARC-14S). It is a powerful unit at a low price. We even have one in our office.
Here are answers to the most common portable air conditioner ratings questions we get.
(1). How Do Portable Air Conditioners Work?
A portable air conditioner works the same way as a regular air conditioner. They cool the room by cooling down the warm air inside your house, and then transitioning the heat and the moisture to the outside. Hot air from the room will pass over coils that are cooled by refrigerant gas. Heat and moisture is then pushed out via an exhaust hose, and cooler air is sent back into the room.
Their main distinction is in the fact that they carry an exhaust hose, sometimes ever two of them. The hoses direct the hot air out through a window. You can also add a gap into a wall and create a continuous exhaust option.
Window air conditioner units don’t have this distinction, because their exhaust is already set up on the exterior. Most of them come with a water tank that collects the extra condensation that comes out of the air. You have to empty these so your unit will continue to work properly.
(2). Can They Help With My Allergies?
They do much more than just keep you cool during the hot summer months. They also help with allergy problems by regulating the indoor temperatures and the humidity levels. Two of the most common allergens are dust mites and mold spores, and both of them can aggravate allergies and bronchial asthma.
Portable air conditioners actually lower the indoor humidity. They control humidity levels and help to keep the allergy symptoms low. Allergy victims need to monitor the humidity levels and take advantage of air conditioners that are transportable. They also need to use humidifiers and dehumidifiers, as they can help them keep the humidity levels down around 40 or 50%.
(3). What are BTUs?
Almost all portable air conditioners have a rating for their BTUs (british thermal units). This is a gauge for how much warmth they can remove per hour. For a room that is about 300 to 400 sq. feet, it takes about 12,000 BTUs to cool in properly. The dimensions of you air conditioning unit usually depends on factors like the amount of shade in the room, how many people are usually in the room, and what that room is used for. A few other considerations are the amount of heat that comes into the room and the amount of insulation you have in the ceilings and partitions. Here are some comparisons of room sizes against the required BTUs to get them cooled –
(1). 100 to 200 square feet, needs 8,000 to 10,000 BTUs.
(2). 200 to 300 square feet, needs 12,000 BTUs.
(3). 300 to 400 square feet, needs 12,000 to 14,000 BTUs.
(4). 400 and above, needs 14,000 BTUs and above.
Don’t forget that room size is only one of the various factors involved in determining the best unit for the job.
(4). What types of Options Should I Look For?
After checking out the BTUs, you should find out if the unit you are considering is a single hose or dual hose unit. The dual hose units are much more energy efficient. The dual hose models have a hose for intake and a hose for out-take. The air consumption takes air out of the room, then cools it, and returns it back into the room.
This kind of process will cause heat to saturate upward, within, and across the motor of the unit. Then the other hose will take the air from outside to chill those parts of the portable air conditioner. The 2nd hose will expel the hot air back outside. Dual hose systems are quite efficient, especially in larger settings.
They don’t create any unfavorable air stress in the way that single hose units do. Don’t forget that room size is only one of the various factors involved in determining the best unit for the job.
Our favorite unit above – the Whynter – is a dual hose unit.
(5). Does Your Portable Air Conditioner Be Vented?
The answer is ‘Yes’. Hot air that gets transferred out needs to be vented through a wall, window, or existing duct work. Window equipment is included with every unit if it is designed for the sliding or double hung windows. A good benefit to the window kits is that they’re adjustable. The exhaust that comes from your unit is not harmful, just good sizzling air!
(6). How Long Should My Portable AC Last?
The less you use it the longer it will last. However, most models today are good for around an average of five years. Most of them also have warranties in case something happens before you get the overall life span usage.
(7). What About Maintenance?
Upkeep and cleaning are crucial to the efficiency of your portable AC unit. The air filters need to be clean and debris free. They should be checked regularly and if needed, cleaned with a vacuum attachment or brush.
You can also use light detergents on most of them. Be sure your filters are totally dry before placing them back into the unit. Some portable ACs come with replacement filters. Many filters cannot be washed or reused.
For cleaning the outside of your AC you need to turn off the unit and unplug it. Take a damp cloth and wipe it down. You can also add a mild detergent to the cloth, and then after wiping it down thoroughly, allow it to dry completely. Never use harsh or abrasive compounds on it. Try not to splash any water into the unit itself because it can cause damage and run the risk of electrical shock.
(8). How Heavy Are They, And How Loud?
Portable ACs can be heavy. It will vary between models, and can range from 60 to 100 lbs. They can be a bear to get up and down stairs. However, they do roll easily between rooms on the same floor.
Portable ACs aren’t all that loud. They may not be as quiet as a central air unit, but they’re still not bad. The noise levels usually fall somewhere in the 50 to 59 decibel range.
(9). How Will Using A Portable AC Affect My Energy Bill?
No doubt you will see an increase in power consumption, as well as in the electric bill. Depending on what the dimensions of your unit are, the could use up a broad range of power. Look for models that carry higher EERs. This is a number that corresponds to how much energy they consume in relation to how much cooling power they have. A higher EER means better cooling power, and a better bang for your buck.