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Home > What's New > Portable Air Conditioners: Effective or Not?
  • Portable Air Conditioners: Effective or Not?2009-04-30
  • A portable air conditioner that you can take anywhere or from room to room may be appealing for you especially if you live in a building where standard room air conditioners are not allowed or if window space is restricted.

    However, three large portable air conditioners were tested that were said to have a cooling capacity of 10,000 Btu/hr, their performance gave little relief from the heat as compared with what their manufacturers claimed. Aside from that these appliances are quite expensive at $400 to $500 compared with the standard window air conditioners.

    Most portable units include one exhaust hose that shifts air from inside the room over the air conditioners? condenser coils then finally the cooled air is released to the outside. These units also have low-profile vent adapter bracket that you put in a double-hung window which allows the hot, humid air to exhaust.

    It is a fact that portable air conditioners may be convenient because you can move these but the units that were test delivered only half of their cooling capacity at the most. This means they performed with a 5 or 6 energy-efficient ratio (EER), the minimum EER should be nine. Standard window models have an EER as high as 12.

    As a result of the above tests, people can?t help but conclude that air conditioners are inefficient. Why is this so? Basically, air which the portable air conditioner exhaust to the outside comes from the air inside but the energy which was meant to cool and dehumidify the air is wasted and is sent out through the vent hose. This kind of setup allows the warm, humid outside air to leak back inside the room that was supposed to be cooled.

    On one hand, there are portable air conditioners that have a couple of hoses ? one hose is meant to bring in outside air to cool the condenser coils while the other hose releases the air to the outside. These types of air conditioners have not been tested yet but the setup is very similar to the standard window air conditioner. Since this is the case, it is possible that these types of portable air conditioner come closer to delivering the Btu/hr ratings that they tout. But shifting the air through the two hoses waste energy hence the efficiency levels are less than the standard window air conditioners.

    Another factor which affects the efficiency of portable air conditioners is the moisture. During the operation of the portable air conditioner, water is accumulated and goes directly into the drain tank. It is this water that helps cool the condenser coils then it evaporates and gets released via the exhaust duct. Unfortunately some units were not designed to use the moisture or water, as a result you would have to empty the tank at least once or twice a day while using the portable air condition.

    Knowing all of these, it is recommended to use the portable air conditioner only if it is not possible to use the standard window air conditioner.
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