May 3, 2022
A Guide to Portable ACs and How They Operate
Summertime brings hot weather, and for many, that means relying on portable air conditioners to keep them cool. If you’re in the market for a portable AC, you may be wondering how these devices work and what the benefits are. Portable air conditioners are one way to keep cool this summer, but before you buy this equipment, it’s important to know how they function, the different types available, and which might be right for you.
What Are Portable ACs, and How Do They Work?
Portable air conditioners are self-contained units that can be moved from room to room as needed. They function by pulling in warm air from the room, cooling it, and then circulating the cool air back into the space. They use a compressor to cool the air inside the unit. The compressor takes in warm air from your room and passes it over a set of coils filled with refrigerant. This process cools the air, and the cooled air is then passed back into your area through a set of vents. Most portable ACs also have a built-in dehumidifier, which helps to remove excess moisture from the air.
In essence, a portable AC operates on the same principle as any other air conditioner. In a central air conditioning system, the filter and evaporator coils are located indoors, while the condensing coil and compressor are placed outside the house. In a portable AC, all these parts are combined in a free-standing unit.
Evaporative Coolers and Refrigerant-Based Air Conditioners
There are two main types of portable cooling devices you might encounter, evaporative coolers and refrigerant-based air conditioners. Evaporative coolers are not actually air conditioners, but they can be effective at dropping the temperature by several degrees in a small pace. However, they may not be the best option for all homes in all areas since they only work in places with low humidity. They operate by pulling in warm, humid air and passing it over a wet pad. As the air passes over the pad, some water evaporates and cools the air. The cooled air is then circulated back into your room. Refrigerant-based air conditioners work by pulling in warm air and passing it over a set of coils filled with refrigerant. This process cools the air, and the cooled air is then circulated back into your room. One advantage of an actual AC is that it lowers humidity. If you’re in an old home that may not have ductwork, you might consider a Ductless Mini-Split AC System. No ductwork is needed.
Single-Hose and Dual-Hose ACs
In terms of air distribution, there are two main types of portable ACs: those with a single hose and those with dual hoses. Single-hose units take in air from your room, cool it, and then vent the cooled air back into your room. The hose functions as an exhaust. A dual-hose unit will have the same exhaust hose, but a second hose will draw fresh air into the room from the outside.
Single-hose units are less expensive and more portable than dual-hose units. However, they are not as effective at cooling your room because they take in air from the same space that they are trying to cool. Dual-hose units are more expensive, but they are more effective at cooling your room because they take in outside air and vent the cooled air back into your room. This solves the negative pressure problem caused by the single-hose system.
How to Install and Use a Portable AC
Installing a portable AC is a simple process. Different models have their own instructions, but most come with everything you require to get started and can be set up in minutes without the need for tools. The main consideration is properly installing the hose or hoses through a nearby window. After that, the device will plug into any convenient electrical outlet. You can then turn it on and adjust the settings to cool your room to your desired temperature. Some units come with remote controls so you can adjust these settings from anywhere in the room.
What to Watch Out for While Using a Portable Air Conditioner
There are a few things to keep in mind when using a portable AC. First, make sure that the unit is properly ventilated. Most units come with a window kit that allows you to vent the unit to the outside. Second, clean the filter regularly. A clogged filter can reduce the efficiency of your unit and cause it to work harder. And finally, keep the area around your unit clear. Portable ACs need room to circulate air properly, so do not block the vents with furniture or other objects.
The Benefits of Using a Portable AC
Now that you know how portable ACs work, let’s talk about some benefits of using one. Portable ACs provide a method of cooling a room without having to install a central air conditioning system. This makes them a viable option for people who live in an apartment or other property where they cannot install a central AC. They are less expensive to operate than central air conditioners because they use less energy. However, if you were trying to use several of them to cool an entire house, the overall results would be significantly more expensive and less efficient. Another obvious benefit of using a portable AC is that you can take it with you when you go.
Choosing the Best Portable AC for Your Needs
The first thing you need to consider is the size of the room you want to cool. Portable ACs are available in a variety of sizes, so you need to choose a unit that is large enough to cool your space. If you select a unit that is too small, it will not be able to cool your room properly.
The noise level of the unit is another important aspect to check. Some portable ACs are very quiet, while others can be quite loud. Choose a unit that will not disturb you or your family.
Another thing to consider is the type of portable AC you want. As we mentioned earlier, each type has its own benefits and drawbacks. You need to choose the type that is best for your needs.
Consider the features you want in a portable AC. Some units come with additional features like remote controls, timers, and energy-saving modes. Decide which attributes are most important to you.
You need to also factor in ponder the cost of the portable AC. Portable ACs range in price from around $100 to $500. Choose a unit that fits your budget.
Consult With Local Experts
For over 40 years, our professional technicians at Scott-Lee Heating Company have been providing customers in the St. Louis area with outstanding residential, commercial, and geothermal HVAC solutions. We’d be happy to discuss your home comfort needs further, and if you decide that a portable AC just won’t do, we can install a central HVAC system for you. In fact, we install, maintain, and repair a full range of cooling, heating, and indoor air quality equipment. We even do metalwork. To arrange a consultation or schedule a service appointment, call us today.