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Portable Air Conditioner Facts

Portable air conditioners cool and dehumidify a room, and installation is not permanent. Because these types of air conditioners are on casters or wheels, they can easily be moved from room to room. They're also energy efficient, helping the owner save money on energy costs. Most units are equipped with digital thermostats and automatic timers.

Learn Where They Are Used
Portable air conditioners are ideal for cooling residences, small offices, computer rooms, computer servers, classrooms, hospital rooms, retail stores and practically any enclosed space that needs to be cooled. Today's units offer quiet operation, an LCD screen, and remote control operation. Other features include an oscillating function which helps to direct air evenly throughout the room. Some models have an automatic restart capability after a power outage. Most units are lightweight, which makes it easy to wheel. However, models that contain a heat pump can be heavier.

How A Portable Air Conditioner Works
Portable air conditioners operate similar to a typical window unit, with the condenser, evaporator and internal compressor functioning in the same way. The biggest difference between a portable and window air conditioner is that a portable units rests on the floor versus in the window. Similar to your dryer ducts, round air ducts connect the portable unit to a window adapter. You simply open a window and place the window adapter in the opening. You then close the window against the adapter to exhaust the heat outside when cooling.

There are two main types of portable units. One design uses a single duct to connect to the window adapter, while the other uses two ducts. The one design duct is the simplest system, but the two-duct design is more efficient. With two ducts, all of the hot air is drawn and exhausted back outdoors, which means no cooled air-conditioned air is being exhausted outside. Some two-duct heat pump design models can be configured with only one duct for quicker setup.

Another distinguishing feature of portable air conditioners is how the unit handles condensed water. Some models have an evaporator feature that mixes air exhausted outdoors, so there is no water to empty. Other model types collect the water in a tank, which you must empty periodically.

Properly Sizing a Portable Air Conditioner
Portable air conditioners are available in several different sizes to correspond with their intended use (i.e. home, office, computer equipment, garage, etc.). BTU or British Thermal Units, is the term used for capacity rating. Basically, BTU corresponds to the amount of heat needed to increase the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit.

The most popular sized unit are rated at 11,000 and 12,000 BTU and cool rooms up or 400 square feet, which corresponds to a 20 foot by 20 foot area. Large rooms (up to 500 square feet) are best served by portable air conditioners rated 13,000 to 16,000 BTU, while 7,000 to 9,000 BTU are appropriate for smaller sized rooms of up to 250 feet.

View our entire line-up of Portable Room Air Conditioners

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