Thursday 20 May 2021

Understanding Portable Air Conditioners Before Buying

Photo by Mikey Harris on Unsplash

{This is a collaborative post}

With more and more people starting to work from home, many of the creature comforts we have come to know from our offices are finding their way into our houses. Air conditioning is very high on this list, and a good air-con unit can go a long way in increasing comfort and efficiency during the hot summer months, even if you work from home. But a permanent air-con installation is not always possible, as various restrictions can come into play, from building regulations to rental agreements. Enter the portable air con unit, and all that comes with it.

How does it weigh up, price-wise?

Mobile air conditioners can be pricey – a few hundred pounds is well within expectation. But for comfort and productivity during the hot and muggy months, it’s not a high price to pay.

If you are not one of the lucky ones to have central air conditioning, window-mounted air conditioners can be another option, but not all rooms can accommodate these. A lack of space, or awkward placement of existing fixtures can impede the installation process, and in a case like this, a portable air conditioner really comes into its own.

Don’t forget about insulation!

Despite the fact that your portable air-con will be a freestanding unit and will not be fixed to a window frame, you will still need to cater for the outlet hoses of the unit. These hoses are responsible for getting rid of the hot air and any water that was generated as a by-product of running the unit.

This means that you will still need access to a window, in order to vent these waste products, and additionally, you will also need to place it in a position where a plug socket is easily reached.

Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

Check your ratings

The area that a portable air-con unit can cool, is rated in British Thermal Units (BTU). The higher the BTU number of the unit, the greater the area it can cool. However, with an increase in BTU numbers, also comes an increase in size, operating costs and carbon footprint. Look out for this number on the box before buying a unit, and this will be the best way to guide your purchase decision.

Another option, although not strictly speaking an air conditioner, is an evaporative cooler. This appliance will bypass the need for outlet hoses, and as such, will not need to be vented to the outside. Because they require an amount of water to cool a space, they are great for dry areas where a bit of extra humidity could add to the comfort level.

The best advice there is, in summary, is to go for a unit with an optimal BTU rating, or alternatively, one which has some form of green functionality, to help save on power while maximising on efficiency. The sweet spot is to find a unit that does not burn through more energy than what is required to do its job. It makes such a difference to your productivity to feel cool whilst working and therefore a portable air conditioner can be a really beneficial purchase. 


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