Portable Air Conditioner

Portable air conditioner as its name implies means that this type of air conditioner is movable although some work such as installing the exhaust tube and locating a suitable power point need to be done. Most design will include caster wheels to increase the mobility of the unit.

Unlike window air conditioner or PTAC which require fixed installation by trained technicians, the portable type is easily install by following the DIY instruction.

The front side of the unit will discharge cool air into the room whereas the other side of the unit discharge hot air due to the heat exchanger in the unit. This hot air need to be discharged outside the room through the use of a flexible exhaust tube usually 5" or 3 1/2" in diameter. Most unit comes with a window installation kit to mount the hose on the window.

Due to condensation, water droplets are collected in a tray or bucket inside the portable air conditioner. The water collected has to be manually removed whenever it is full. If you find it a hassle to do this, find units that have the option of draining this water by installing a drain hose to it.

In application where the rate of condensation exceeds the ability of the tray discharge the water, pump is used to pump the condensed water out through the drain hose.

A typical 12,000 BTU unit is able to cool a 400 square feet room.

Portable Air Conditioner Features

Some of the portable air conditioner features that you may want to know before choosing a suitable unit for your house include:

  • Controls There are usually options for manual or electronic type of controls. The manual type is straight forward with minimal functions compared to its electronic-based counterparts. The digital type usually comes with a room or set temperature display and a remote control.Other function may include the "Sleep" function where the set temperature of the unit automatically goes up after a certain hours of operation. This feature is useful when you operate the unit when sleeping. It helps to cool the room to a higher temperature as less cooling capacity is required when one sleeps compared to when one is active. This helps to save your electricity bill thus contributing to the conservation of our depleting natural resources.

  • Auto Restart function useful in places where electricity supply outage occurred frequently. When the unit is operating and the electricity supply cuts off, the unit will turn off. When electricity resumes, the unit will automatically on using the last user settings.
  • Timer function is a must as this feature is useful to OFF or ON the air conditioner after a certain time. You may want to ON the unit only for an hour during the night to cool the room and use the fan after that.
  • Louvre and Swing are used to direct the flow of the air that comes out from the unit vertically or horizontally. Some unit can only do this manually and remain at that particular location. Other more advance and feature rich unit have motors that change the position of the louvre or swing automatically.
  • EER is used to measure the efficiency of the air conditioner. Choose a higher EER rating.
  • Heater Option should be considered when you need heating during winter. This type of unit is more costly compared to only cooling unit. In the long run, it is better to have this option rather them not using the unit at all during winter.
  • CFM & Noise Level are another two consideration that you need to do before purchasing the unit. The higher the CFM(cubic feet per minute) is, the further the discharge air is able to go. The noise level should be as low as possible as higher noise level causes discomfort to the occupants in the room.
  • UL Safety is another marking that you should see on the unit to ensure that the unit is designed using UL safety requirements. Most unit should have this marking.

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