Portable Air Conditioners

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By an edhat reader

Do edhat readers have experience with portable A/C units? Can they be moved from room to room without needing a hose out a window? And any experience with a good brand or unit?

Also, are swamp coolers or "evaporative air" units just as good?


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Rto Jul 18, 2018 09:35 AM
Portable Air Conditioners

I built my own swamp cooler. No ice, just circulating water and evaporation. It took a while to bring the room temperature down but it lowered the ambient temperature by 10-20 degrees. Since it works by evaporation, the humidity goes up. Things around the cooler can get damp (condensation on the windows, puddle on the floor, etc.) It was a fun project but not worth the effort unless you really have no other alternative.

a-1531251431 Jul 10, 2018 12:37 PM
Portable Air Conditioners

Over the last few days we've been using our portable ac unit and now have decided to include it in all of our family photographs. We are one.

peawatt Jul 10, 2018 09:37 AM
Portable Air Conditioners

First year user in Old Town Goleta using evaporative cooling (Hessaire MC37M). Key to efficiency and comfort level is installation. You have to pull in air from the outside and exit the opposite side of the area you want to cool through open doors and windows. In our case, a small house of 900 sq.ft. On days like we had this past weekend where the dew point is in the mid to high fifties, efficiency isn’t all that great. However, it is very efficient at clearing the house of built up heat when the temp drops in the evening. We don’t hear ours run during the evening because we’re on the opposite side of the house, but we do feel the breeze coming through the door. Depending on the forecast, a 12hr spring timer turns it off at some predetermined time during the night.

Pros: I can use my oven without increasing cooling workload. Power used is less than the sum of all the other fans we used last summer. Uses about 20% of energy as an 8,000btu window a/c unit. Easy to remove for winter storage. Cheap.

Cons: If you can smell it outside, your gonna smell it inside (e.g. wildfire smoke, neighbor’s grill, skunk, skunk weed, cigarettes, male cat marking his territory, ‘The Habit’, jasmine). Mineral buildup within the unit. Installation for efficiency can be a bit tricky. Won’t cool much on humid days.

stankrome Jul 10, 2018 08:48 AM
Portable Air Conditioners

Frys sells a really good unit for under $400. We bought one for my Mom in her Assisted living home

Bndtech Jul 10, 2018 08:13 AM
Portable Air Conditioners

I bought my Danby A/C, De-humidifier from Best Buy Goleta in 2007 as a floor model. Being a Jack-of-all-trades kind of guy, I wheeled and dealed with the floor manager due to it not having instructions, possible missing parts and no box to put it in for over HALF the price OFF.
Now, OMG best purchase ever; this thing has paid for itself many times over.
About the unit:
It has an intake and exhaust 4" flexible tube which is attached to the window. The window attachment is universal to the way the window opens side to side or up and down. The unit has a 2.5 gallon condensed water collector which is on a platform that shuts of the unit when the water level gets to high. (I use the water to water the garden) It can be ran as a De-humidifier, A/C or just fan. But, it will collect moisture from the air if the humidity is high. There is a Micro Filter that is washable. OK; so after that, I highly recommend the Danby Units, they are solid as a rock and well engineered; I know, I took mine apart to clean it when I moved and could not believe how balanced the spindle was, took 5 minutes for it stop turning after hand spinning it.

gsurfdog Jul 10, 2018 08:10 AM
Portable Air Conditioners

My suggestion would be to close/seal any vents that would allow an AC unit to draw hot air from unnecessary sources into the room being cooled. Home Improvement Center has a good supply of floor and window air conditioning units at affordable prices along many fans including the High Velocity tower fan by Lasko I purchased there yesterday. It's an amazing unit that draws in the cooler air from the bottom close to the floor. Whisper quiet and really moves the air with oscillation, timer and remote control. Good value for the money

betsy920 Jul 10, 2018 07:45 AM
Portable Air Conditioners

I have used Honeywell small pole air conditioners and they are very effective.
Get them at CVS or online. They are fabulous and easy to store as they are small.
This year I bought an LG $400 large rolling air conditioner. It is good as does the job.
Still like the smaller ones better......less noise and about as much cooling.

EastBeach Jul 10, 2018 12:35 AM
Portable Air Conditioners

PITMIX and EDNSB both got it right.

Google (search) on "portable air conditioner wirecutter" and "portable air conditioner consumer reports" to get the 411. Wirecutter has especially good reviews on a variety of products. A co-worker says he's happy with a small wall unit that was easy to install from Costco a few years back.

Always_Running Jul 09, 2018 05:27 PM
Portable Air Conditioners

Two years ago i threw out my window unit and I purchased a portable AC unit. I agree two hose units are better but harder to find at a reasonable price. You’re able to twist/move the unit to blow the direction you choose. The two downsides are the amount of water it pulls of the air and your “yearly maintenance”. I need to empty our 3 gallon jug every 2 hours of use, but I pour it out in my garden. If your a home owner you can drill a hole through your wall and avoid extra work. Also they do require you to clean and maintain them to keep them clean and running properly. Keeping the vent hose clean and prevent water from any mildew smell of left in the unit. During the winter I purchased a BBQ smoker cover and store it in the garage. The plus side is I am able to move the unit from my living room to my bedroom and the my sister house for a baby shower last weekend.

d8vanilla Jul 09, 2018 04:44 PM
Portable Air Conditioners

I also use a relatively quiet running fan, over the bowl of ice. Some of the other portable AC's are rather loud.

d8vanilla Jul 09, 2018 04:41 PM
Portable Air Conditioners

I make my own swamp cooler. I use solid blocks of ice, which will last a lot longer then ice cubes. Then, I put the block of ice in a very big bowl, with the fan blowing over it. Works really good. Cools down the room by a lot of degrees. I fill zip locs with water and freeze it. Or, even a big plastic bowl, I fill with water and freeze it. I've heard that hot water will freeze faster then cold water.

PitMix Jul 10, 2018 08:55 AM
Portable Air Conditioners

Laws of Thermodynamics say you will create more heat making ice than the ice will cool the room. But if you make ice at midnite when it is cooler, or if your refrig is located in your garage, then your approach might work out. You can also use ice in your swamp cooler and that will help.

macpuzl Jul 09, 2018 04:49 PM
Portable Air Conditioners

Mpemba Effect =================== http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/General/hot_water.html

simplym90 Jul 09, 2018 04:05 PM
Portable Air Conditioners

A portable ac would be better. I bought a swamp cooler last year's because I couldn't afford an AC... & some days it helps... Others not so much. You just need to keep checking on the humidity percentage outside. If it's too high your room will feel really bad. I turn it on and off from cooler to fan mode to balance the humidity in my room. So if possible... Just get an AC!

ednsb Jul 09, 2018 03:55 PM
Portable Air Conditioners

every article and review I've seen says they severely underperform window units. Look at consumer reports.

Curmudgeon Jul 09, 2018 03:01 PM
Portable Air Conditioners

As others have said, portable ACs work reasonably well for individual rooms, but swamp coolers rely on hot, dry air. Thus, they work best in our central valley or desert areas, not so well here at the coast.

PitMix Jul 09, 2018 02:22 PM
Portable Air Conditioners

We ended up getting a window AC as they do the best job of keeping the hot compressor motor out of your house which helps things keep cool. If you get a portable AC then the type that has 2 vent lines is best. One vent line brings in hot air to help cool the motor and the other sends that heated air back out. The type with the single vent line has to use cooled room air to cool the motor and then sends it out. Eventually it creates a vacuum situation and so hot outside air will have to come in through cracks (doors, windows) to restore the room pressure. In my case the unit was drawing in superheated air from the attic heater vents and therefore I could never get my house below 76. ........ A swamp cooler needs to draw in hot dry outside air and cool it with water. The hotter and drier the air is, the more it can cool. So sitting it in your room without access to hot outside air will not help much. If you get one, rig a window vent to the fan intake so it can access the hot dry air that it needs to work correctly. It will not work on humid days because the hot wet air can't vaporize any water to cool itself. Works best in desert environments.

Factotum Jul 09, 2018 01:46 PM
Portable Air Conditioners

What does the near universal use of A/C, with their concentrated hot air exhaust, do to recorded urban summer temperatures?

4358ed Jul 09, 2018 01:20 PM
Portable Air Conditioners

We bought a portable (10,000 btu) LG Air Conditioner last year, but never used it until last week. It cools our bedroom fabulously. While operating , the "hot" air needs somewhere to go, and I believe that is why the portable units require flexible duct to window ventilation. The "hot' air needs somewhere to go and certainly not back into the room you're trying to cool.

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