As the name implies, portable air conditioners function as mobile cooling units in specific areas. These handy devices function best as supplementary, rather than primary cool air supply. Portable AC units designed for commercial use are typically placed inside offices, efficiency apartments or at work stations that central air conditioners can’t reach. Extra cooling capacity of portable ACs enables easy temperature adjustment to desired level.
Mobile air conditioners operate on the same basic mechanical principle as full-size window air conditioner units and massive central HVAC systems. All integrated components work together to refrigerate air that continuously recirculates over coils and evaporators. This means that portable air conditioners must have vents to function correctly. Simply put, non vented air conditioner units do not exist. However, the extent of ventilation hosing does dictate product design classification of portable ACs.
Single-hose systems – like the SPT 8,000BTU Single Hose Portable AC – use one ventilating hose that typically attaches to the rear of the unit. Its sole purpose is conducting hot air to exterior areas and is most suitable for smaller spaces because of limited cooling capacity.
For cooling considerably larger interior rooms or big areas, a dual hose portable AC – like our favorite, the Whynter 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner (ARC-14S) – is much preferable. Because it uses two hoses, this type of device has much higher cooling capability. That huge advantage stems from two separate hoses, one of which is dedicated to cold air emission and the other to hot air exit. Therefore, it cools much faster and better than single-hose models.
Split design formats feature an evaporator and compressor that are contained in different internal housing but connect via piping. This layout is regarded as the most efficient portable cooling system. Besides that, irritating sound of moving parts can be dampened very easily and no periodic water draining is necessary.
About the only downside to split air conditioner designs is mandatory installation in an exterior location outside cooled area. This precludes targeted air refrigeration in very precise areas. It also makes an infeasible option in many cases. This is due to lack of choice and total dependence on availability of an appropriate power source in close proximity outside the cooled area.
To ensure most optimal overall outcome, begin by analyzing the area(s) that must be cooled often. Main factors to evaluate are square footage, targeted temperature range, access to exterior power source(s), length of daily usage, frequency of use, and typical number of regular occupants. When there is no outside access, single or double-hosed portable AC designs are sole choices. In such instances, unit size is the determinant.