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Cool down with a portable air conditioner

What is a portable air conditioner and how does it work?

Portable air conditioners are floorstanding appliances that use air from within a room to cool an area by exhausting the hot air outside. Typically, hot air is exhausted through a hose fitted to a standard window. Some also vent through a wall or drop ceiling. In each case, a compatible mount kit is often provided.

Some self-evaporating portable air conditioners recycle condensation back into the air while others require drainage from a reservoir that collects water produced from the evaporated air. Ventless portable air conditioners, called evaporative portable air conditioners, don't need to vent out of a window but are best used in very humid and dry environments since they include a humidifying function as well to add much-needed moisture to the air.

Portable air conditioners are typically tower-shaped, either wide and rectangular or tall and slim, and often come on castors so you can easily move them around to position air flow accordingly, move them to another room, or put them away for the winter.

When are portable air conditioners the best option?

A portable AC unit is a good option if you want to be able to move it from room to room, cooling different areas as needed (though would have to move and re-mount a window kit each time as well.) They are good for apartments or rentals where you might not be permitted to install a window AC. Ones that don't require venting are ideal for rooms that don't have windows, like a basement or play area.

A portable AC is best in a larger room that has the floor space to accommodate it, but you might also find it fitting for a small house since they can be easily put into storage at the end of the season and are easy to set up again each year.

What features should you look for in a portable air conditioner?

While portable air conditioners are among the least energy efficient type, they are more energy efficient than central air since they only cool a single room at a time. With enough BTUs, the right positioning, and open doors, however, one might be able to cool multiple rooms. Still, look for an Energy Star-rating for efficient operation.

BTUs (British Thermal Units) are the measurement of how much hot air can be removed from the air in relation to the square footage of the room. You need about 20 BTUs for every square foot of space: a 300 square-foot room would need a portable AC unit with at least 5,000 BTUs while a 500 square foot room would require at least 12,000.

Check how the size and design fits within the room and that the unit isn't too loud when running. Measure and confirm that the window kit fits, if one is required, and that it's easy to drain water if necessary.

Other useful features include WiFi connectivity for remote control from a mobile device, an included remote, adjustable cooling levels, timer, and humidifying and/or dehumidifying function.

Want more info about portable air conditioners? Check out some of our resources:

Air Conditioning 101 

Chill out this summer with a portable air conditioner 

How to map airflow and make the most of your portable air conditioner this summer 

How to Properly Size Your Air Conditioner 

Why we need Air Conditioning – not just for Comfort! 

Portable vs. Window Based AC Unit: Which One Should You Choose?  

Cool it now – Here’s your guide to choosing an Air Conditioner

Cool down with a portable air conditioner

What is a portable air conditioner and how does it work?

Portable air conditioners are floorstanding appliances that use air from within a room to cool an area by exhausting the hot air outside. Typically, hot air is exhausted through a hose fitted to a standard window. Some also vent through a wall or drop ceiling. In each case, a compatible mount kit is often provided.

Some self-evaporating portable air conditioners recycle condensation back into the air while others require drainage from a reservoir that collects water produced from the evaporated air. Ventless portable air conditioners, called evaporative portable air conditioners, don't need to vent out of a window but are best used in very humid and dry environments since they include a humidifying function as well to add much-needed moisture to the air.

Portable air conditioners are typically tower-shaped, either wide and rectangular or tall and slim, and often come on castors so you can easily move them around to position air flow accordingly, move them to another room, or put them away for the winter.

When are portable air conditioners the best option?

A portable AC unit is a good option if you want to be able to move it from room to room, cooling different areas as needed (though would have to move and re-mount a window kit each time as well.) They are good for apartments or rentals where you might not be permitted to install a window AC. Ones that don't require venting are ideal for rooms that don't have windows, like a basement or play area.

A portable AC is best in a larger room that has the floor space to accommodate it, but you might also find it fitting for a small house since they can be easily put into storage at the end of the season and are easy to set up again each year.

What features should you look for in a portable air conditioner?

While portable air conditioners are among the least energy efficient type, they are more energy efficient than central air since they only cool a single room at a time. With enough BTUs, the right positioning, and open doors, however, one might be able to cool multiple rooms. Still, look for an Energy Star-rating for efficient operation.

BTUs (British Thermal Units) are the measurement of how much hot air can be removed from the air in relation to the square footage of the room. You need about 20 BTUs for every square foot of space: a 300 square-foot room would need a portable AC unit with at least 5,000 BTUs while a 500 square foot room would require at least 12,000.

Check how the size and design fits within the room and that the unit isn't too loud when running. Measure and confirm that the window kit fits, if one is required, and that it's easy to drain water if necessary.

Other useful features include WiFi connectivity for remote control from a mobile device, an included remote, adjustable cooling levels, timer, and humidifying and/or dehumidifying function.

Want more info about portable air conditioners? Check out some of our resources:

Air Conditioning 101 

Chill out this summer with a portable air conditioner 

How to map airflow and make the most of your portable air conditioner this summer 

How to Properly Size Your Air Conditioner 

Why we need Air Conditioning – not just for Comfort! 

Portable vs. Window Based AC Unit: Which One Should You Choose?  

Cool it now – Here’s your guide to choosing an Air Conditioner