What You Should Know about Portable Air Conditioners

temporary portable air conditioner in a modern home

Almost everyone is familiar with traditional central air units and even window air conditioners, but these two installations aren’t always the best fit for every home or office. Florida is home to thousands of condominiums, and while many of them have central air units, some aren’t very efficient. What’s more, restrictions may prevent the use of window units. Portable air conditioners could be the perfect solution.

What Is It?

A portable air conditioner is exactly what you’re probably imagining; it’s a unit that is typically mounted on wheels that can be quickly moved from one part of a home or office to another. They’re incredibly convenient for many people and although they aren’t as efficient as some of their counterparts, they could be just what you need to keep your space cool and dry all summer long. They come in two types: evaporative and refrigerative.

Evaporative Style

The evaporative type of portable air conditioners uses evaporation to cool the air. Essentially, water evaporates on a series of cooling fins, creating a vapor that draws the heat out of the air in the room. While it doesn’t work as well as the refrigerative option, it is cheaper to run with up to 70% lower energy costs. It’s a good choice for people who have homes or office buildings with inefficient central air, but it doesn’t work well on its own because it can only process a certain amount of humidity. Areas that are incredibly damp won’t get much relief with an evaporative portable unit alone.

Refrigerative Style

A refrigerative style portable unit works in much the same way as a window unit. These have ducts that must be properly installed and, in most cases, an available window is the best choice. The unit will pull in the warm air from the home or office and then force it outside through the duct. However, it doesn’t have the cooling power that a window unit has and it can’t replace the air that it forces outside with cooled air. This means that it will take longer to cool a space and cost more to operate in the long run.

Is It the Best Fit?

The most important thing to consider here is that a portable unit should be considered a last resort option. They are easy to set up and operate, but they aren’t very efficient. However, if you live in a condo or have an office space that isn’t cooled to your liking and restrictions do not permit you to install a window unit, then it might be just what you need. They come in many different sizes, too, so you should be sure to pay attention to the number of square feet (or the size of the room) that the unit is capable of cooling prior to making a purchase.

While there’s no denying that a central air unit (or even a window unit) can cool a space quickly and efficiently, they aren’t always feasible options for everyone. A portable unit, though it may cost more to purchase and operate, can be a fantastic alternative to an otherwise uncomfortable situation.