Considerations When Buying a Portable A/C

Considerations When Buying a Portable A/CA portable A/C can be a helpful accessory to your existing central air conditioner, or totally eliminate dependence on alternatives such as window air conditioners. Compact enough to fit through interior doorways and mounted on wheels for moving convenience, portable air conditioners are becoming increasingly popular in many homes.

To make sure you have realistic expectations and get the most performance and energy efficiency from a portable A/C, here are some considerations to keep in mind before you buy.

Capacity Matters

For acceptable cooling, the BTU capacity of portable air conditioner must match the size of the largest room where it will be utilized. Portable units are available to cool rooms up to 1,000 square feet. For a small room of about 200 feet, an 8000-BTU unit should do the job. For 400 square feet, 12,000 BTUs is recommended. Rooms 700 feet and larger require at least 18,000 BTUs.

Venting Requirements

All air conditioners exhaust hot air. While a window unit blows heat directly outside, a portable air conditioner requires a vent hose that connects to a venting kit. Installed in a nearby window, the quick-connect vent kit is low-profile and doesn’t take up much window space or excessively obstruct outdoor natural light. The 4-inch vent hose typically utilized should be routed to the window in a way that doesn’t present a trip/fall hazard.

Give it Space

To ensure proper air circulation into the side intake vents of the unit as well as avoid obstructing cool air flowing from the front vent, a portable A/C needs at least 18 inches of open space on all sides. Pushing the unit up against a wall or into a corner may obstruct proper airflow.

Manage Water

Like full-size air conditioners, portable units produced condensation. Condensate may be collected in an internal tank that requires emptying daily or more frequently, depending on indoor humidity. Some units offer the option of a condensate drain line that extends to a nearby sink or drain.

For more about the pros and cons of a portable A/C, contact the cooling pros at NisAir Air Conditioning and Heating.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Martin, Palm Beach, St. Lucie and Indian River Counties in Florida about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 772-207-1658.

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