As you flip the calendar pages toward summer and the temperature begins to rise, it’s time to think of how you are going to keep hot air from ruining your fun. If you have already got a powerful central system, you do not have to do much work at all — simply change the filters and you are ready to go.
If you don’t have adequate air conditioning, nevertheless, now is the time to make your plans so you are not caught off guard by an early heatwave. If you are thinking about cool air, you have a few options, including portable air conditioning units for rent. These have become increasingly common in the past ten years, but are portable air conditioners worth it?
How a Portable Air Conditioning Unit Works
Portable air conditioners work a lot like any other kind of air conditioner if it’s the window unit or even a central air conditioning system. The chemical refrigerant flows through a series of coiled tubes and absorbs the heat from indoors. The heat is then discharged outside through an exhaust hose. The main difference is that with window AC, the heat will be released by the section of the unit that hangs out of the window. For portable units, a warm atmosphere is directed outside through a single or dual hose which looks like a flexible dryer vent. A portable AC unit will typically arrive with a single hose plus a window kit which lets you set up the ventilation system quickly and easily.
It’s a bit of a misconception that portable air conditioning systems can be moved into different rooms on a whim. Due to the requirement to exhaust air through a window, moving a unit round will require also moving its tube port. This is simpler with a window kit, but many folks won’t find it as easy as carrying a room heater from room to room.
Factors That Will Determine How Successful Your AC Unit Is
It’s no secret that cool air isn’t affordable. Air conditioners use a great deal of electricity to keep your home cool, which is true irrespective of what kind you’re using. Your total cost will be based largely on how often your mobile or window air conditioner cycles on — and also how long it remains on. This will depend on several factors:
- The Weather
The hotter it is outside, the more hot air you’ll have to remove from the house. It doesn’t take as much energy to cool a room to 72 degrees on a 77-degree day as it does to get cool on a 95-degree day. You can reevaluate just how much you spend by turning up your thermostat on the hottest days. You’ll still feel warmer inside than you’d outdoors, but your portable air conditioning or window AC unit won’t need to work hard. You can even help your air conditioner do its job by making certain your space is ventilated and by closing blinds and drapes to block out bright sunshine.
- Room Size
For the air conditioning to have sufficient cooling power to make your rooms noticeably more comfortable, it has to be sized properly. One window air conditioner, for example, won’t ever provide adequate cooling for a whole residence. An undersized air conditioner will operate all of the time, cost you big dollars, and still not make you happier.
To make sure that your portable air conditioner is sized properly for the room you plan to cool, you need to look at its BTU rating, which measures the unit’s cooling power. For smaller rooms of 200 square feet, a unit using 8,000 BTUs should suffice. For a large living room of 600 sq. ft., look for a portable air conditioner with 14,000 BTUs.
If you are attempting to cool a kitchen, you should size up if It comes to cooling power. All those appliances produce a good deal of extra warmth, which will make your unit work even more difficult to get the task finished.
- The Cost of Electricity
How much you spend to operate your portable air conditioner will vary greatly dependent on the purchase price of power in your area. These costs often rise with demand during the summer months, so getting cool through a freak heatwave in May probably won’t cost you as much as seeking relief in August. If you’re subject to prices that fluctuate during peak periods, it might even be more economical to run your portable AC at night than it is during the day. That is to say that your mileage may vary as to whether you discover the expense of running a portable air conditioner to be a sensible concession on a hot afternoon or if you’d prefer to stick things out using a fan or an evaporative cooler rather.
The Pros: Advantages of Portable AC
- It provides you access to your windows. For apartments with only a few windows, blocking the sole source of natural lighting using a chunky window unit could be a non-starter. Portable air conditioners also allow you some flexibility about where you place the unit to work with the traffic flow in your room. Window components, not too much.
- It’s ready to use right from the box. You do not need any help installing a portable air conditioner or a friend to assist you to lift it in position on your window. You won’t even need any tools should you get a useful window kit to match the exhaust hose in place with your window a few inches ajar. All you have to do is plug it in to beat the heat.
The Cons: Limitations of Portable AC
- It is generally less efficient. Portable air conditioners frequently take more BTUs — and therefore use more power — to cool the same square foot area as a window unit. This is likely since they generate waste heat inside instead of outdoors, creating more overall heat for the unit to deal with. For example, a 10,000 BTU window unit will cool 450 square feet, but a 10,000 BTU portable AC unit will cool only 300 square feet.
- It could get loud. Portable air conditioners have all their working parts right inside the same room where you may want to eat or watch TV, so the sound level may be tumultuous. You can correct settings to slow down the fan speed to aid with this, or you could roll the unit to a further corner in case your drainage hose is long enough.
Best Uses for Portable Air Conditioners
So, is an air conditioner right for you? You are going to have to conduct your numbers to figure out exact costs according to your conditions, but there are certain scenarios in which portable AC makes a whole lot of sense.
It’s a Fantastic option when:
- You’ve got inconvenient windows. Whether they’re too small, too high up, or don’t open properly, you can much more easily get an exhaust hose into place than a complete window unit in these awkward situations.
- You love natural lighting. If you don’t want to obstruct your window for the entire summer — whether because you want to open it up for occasional fresh air or you wish to let the sun in — a portable air conditioning unit for rent will not block your windows. This is particularly vital in rooms in which there is only one.
- Your HOA is extremely restrictive. Some condo and apartment communities have very strict rules regarding what you could do to the outside of your house, and this may include disallowing nasty window units. This is also frequently true in historical communities that are wanting to maintain the feel of the neighborhood. If this is the case for you, a mobile air conditioner might be the workaround you’ve been looking for.
- You require spot cooling in part of your house. If you’ve central air that doesn’t work well in certain rooms, portable AC can maintain the hot spots comfy. It is a fantastic supplementary system, especially in tiny rooms that you can close off.
- You only wish to find a good night’s sleep. If you are one of those hardy souls who do not obey the heat during the daytime, a portable unit is most likely well-suited for use in your bedroom. Using it for just a portion of the day, and in a limited space, will keep costs down while letting you stay cool when you need it most.
- You live in a humid climate. Portable air conditioning units also help dehumidify your own space, which can make your room much comfier on muggy days. If you reside in an arid climate, you may want to try out an evaporative cooler rather, which will use less energy overall.
Portable air conditioners may be remarkably convenient for many homeowners and renters, and they’re an inexpensive way to bring a bit of cool air in your living space. They can also be a lifesaver if your regular air conditioner is broken — you can get them up and running quickly while you wait for repairs. If you decide to give portable air conditioning a try, be sure to measure your space so you obtain a unit that is sized correctly for space, and you are very likely to enjoy a comfortable home all summertime.
Preferred Climate Solutions is owned and operated by HVAC veterans. We have over 17 years experience with portable heating and cooling systems, plus a lifetime of experience with Texas’ challenging climate. We provide an array of portable cooling and heating rental solutions 24/7. We have locations in Houston, Dallas/Ft Worth & Austin Texas.