Considerations When Buying a Portable Air Conditioner

My biggest complaint about portable air conditioner advertising is the fact that they often display the portable AC unit in the middle of the living room with no access to outside ventilation.  Air conditioners work by removing hot air and replacing it with cool air.  This cannot be accomplished if the unit is not vented to the outside.  Advertisers get away with pictures of their machines in the middle of the room because they can be used in this manner if they are being used in the fan-only mode.  So technically it’s not false advertising, it’s just misleading advertising.

All portable air conditioners will come with a vent hose that’s usually about four inches in diameter, roughly the size of a dryer vent hose.  Most portable air conditioning units also come with a vent kit that will include some kind of adapter for using the vent in a window, sliding glass door, or a wall vent, should you decide to create a dedicated vent hole for your unit.  Therefore, it’s important to consider where you’ll be venting your portable air conditioner before you buy.

You should also know that air conditioners are dehumidifiers and must somehow deal with condensation buildup.  Window air conditioners drip water out through the exterior portion of the unit but portable AC units either collect that condensation in a reservoir that will need to be emptied periodically, or they have a self-evaporative system that eliminates condensation buildup. When shopping, you’ll want to look for a unit with an evaporative system, so you don’t need to worry about forgetting to check that reservoir or spilling water on your floor when you empty the contents.

Finally, it’s very important to make sure you’re getting the right size portable air conditioner for the room you intend to cool.  You’ll need to know the square footage of your room compared to the BTU information that will be provided with the unit you intend to purchase.  In addition, you should add an additional twenty to thirty percent cooling capacity for rooms that are not well insulated, and another twenty percent if you live in a particularly warm climate.

Keeping these important factors in mind, you should be able to find a portable air conditioning unit that will work well in your situation and will keep you cool this summer.

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