Allergy & Air on April 2, 2015 5 Comments When making a larger investment on something like a portable air conditioner, you’ll probably have some questions. It is easy to be overwhelmed by all of the features and options, so we have created a FAQ to consolidate the information to the most important points. What should I know before purchasing a portable A/C? Do I really need to vent my unit? How do I vent my unit? Will my portable air conditioner collect water? Where is the moisture from the air stored in my unit? Are portable A/Cs energy efficient? How loud will my unit be? What should I know before purchasing a portable A/C? BTUs/Room Size A portable A/C’s BTUs tell you how powerful the unit is. You need to take this into account when you pick the unit for your home or office. Picking a unit that is too powerful can end up giving you charges that you wouldn’t otherwise have. The more BTUs a unit has, the larger the area the A/C can cool, so a small apartment would not need as many BTUs as, say, a working office. Single or Dual Hose Design It is possible to have either a dual or single hose movable air conditioner. Single-hosed units expel warm air and moisture and are easy to install. Double-hosed units, which are also fairly easy to install, expel warm air and moisture while simultaneously pulling in more air to cool. Noise Level Noise level can be an important factor when picking a new movable air conditioning unit, especially if you live in an apartment or have shared walls. The noise level of the A/C unit is also called a dB level, which is important to know when looking for a new unit. A portable air conditioner’s range is typically between 48 dB (the sound level of falling rain) and 60 dB (the sound level of a normal conversation). Do I really need to vent my unit? It is important to give your air conditioner proper ventilation. Like any air conditioning system, portable A/Cs need to be vented, or else they can malfunction or not preform efficiently. These air conditioners use the warm air around it and cool it down internally until it expels it back out of the unit. The leftover warm moisture and air is vented out of the back of the unit and out of the room that needs to be cooled. It’s easiest to vent your unit out a window, so all of the units that we sell include a window snap kit for easy installation. If this isn’t an option for you, try to vent it out a door or by using a ceiling vent. How do I vent my unit? Typically, your vent will release though a window or sliding door. Your portable air conditioner unit comes with everything needed for easy venting, so don’t worry about purchasing separate items in order to accommodate your needs. Sometimes, window or sliding door venting can be difficult or impossible to achieve. To remedy this, think about working with a drop ceiling vent, which are common and easy to set up. Will my portable air conditioner collect water? Since movable A/Cs take the heat and moisture out of the air, water will sometimes collect inside a reservoir in the unit. This reservoir can be drained manually, using an external drain line or by incorporating a drain pump. There are several different ways these units are designed regarding water drainage: from dual and single hose units to gravity or pump drainage. Sometimes this draining process can be a lot of work, so if you would prefer not to deal with it, consider a unit with a evaporative technology that allows all the moisture to be expelled through the exhaust hose. Where is the moisture from the air stored in my unit? Portable air conditioners take the moisture and heat from the air, but they only release the air that’s been cooled. So where does the water go? Most of the units (such as Koldfront and EdgeStar) use evaporative technology. This means that the unit will internally evaporates the moisture and then exhaust it out of the vents as vapor. This way you never have to deal with draining the unit on your own, unless your living space is extra humid. In typically humid climates, a little bit of water might collect in a bin inside the unit. This kind of technology requires you to manually empty the bin when it gets too full, or else use the integrated gravity drain. However, the newest portable unit technologies have made the need to drain very rare. Are portable A/Cs energy efficient? Portable air conditioners can save you a lot of money if you use them efficiently. They can cost anywhere between 74¢ to about $1 a day if used continuously. The special thing about your unit is that it gives you the freedom to use it selectively depending on the room you are occupying, so you don’t have to pay for unused cooling in vacant rooms. It also allows you freedom from using your central air conditioning as often, if at all, which will significantly lower your energy costs on it’s own. For more tips on how to maximize your air conditioner’s efficiency, reference our tips page. How loud will my unit be? Whether your portable unit is quiet or not really depends on the model. Portable air conditioners have am internal fan and compressor, so they don’t sound any different than a window air conditioning unit. So the answer is yes, your unit will make noise, but it isn’t a noise that you aren’t already used to tuning out. If you are really concerned with any potential noises, you might want to pay special attention to the unit’s decibel rating (or dB level), which is listed on the product’s description page.