Portable air conditioners: Buy the right one and stay cool all summer long

Portable air conditioners are a fast repair for hotspots in your house. 


Drought and record-breaking temps are hitting the western US this week. If you are sweating it out at dwelling this summer, a portable air conditioner could possibly be simply what you want. These plug-in models are designed to cool rooms with the assist of a close-by window and an influence twine.

With no expensive installation required, they could be a massive assist for rooms that are not local weather managed or do not get sufficient airflow. They’re additionally helpful in buildings with home windows that may’t match a standard window AC unit. Here’s all the pieces you should know when you’re on the hunt for a transportable air conditioner. 

How transportable air conditioners work

Portable air conditioners are completely different from window models; they appear extra like tower followers or air purifiers that may sit simply in the nook of most rooms. 

Like the dryer vent that exits your own home by way of a close-by window or wall becoming, transportable air conditioners use a hose to vent moisture and exhaust out of your own home. You ought to get a window venting package along with your buy, and it contains all the pieces you will have to hook up the hose to your window and seal off the remainder of the window’s open house. 

Your transportable air conditioner will plug into an influence outlet close by and pull air via its system to cool it and flow into it all through your house. Most models embrace a water reservoir to assist dehumidify the air it’s circulating. Others use their vent hose to evaporate that moisture. 

There are two important varieties — single-hose and dual-hose — and they work in another way. Let’s have a look. 

Single-hose transportable air conditioners

A single-hose transportable air conditioner works by taking the stagnant, scorching air inside your room, cooling it and then circulating it via your house.


In single-hose models, the hose vents scorching air and moisture outdoors.


Any extra heat air or moisture is vented out of your house via the transportable air conditioner’s window venting hose. These fashions, like this Black & Decker model are usually extra vitality environment friendly than dual-hose fashions. 

Dual-hose transportable air conditioners

Dual-hose fashions do not use the air inside your own home. Instead, they pull recent air from the outdoors via that hose hooked up to the window. That’s the air the transportable air conditioner will cool and then flow into via the room.


In dual-hose models, one hose vents in air from outdoors to cool and flow into all through the room. The different hose vents any additional scorching air and moisture again outdoors. 


A second hose takes the extra heat air and moisture and vents it again out via the window. These models, like this Honeywell model, will often cool down a room quicker.

What to search for in a transportable air conditioner

Once you have determined {that a} transportable air conditioner is for you, there are some things to contemplate. 

Plan the place you will put it

You might already know which room in your house wants cooling, however you will additionally want to consider the place you are going to put it. You’ll want close by entry to an openable window that may function the venting supply. You’ll additionally want a close-by electrical outlet.


Portable air conditioners aren’t low cost. Small, private fashions can price round $50, however for a unit that may cool a complete room, you are more likely to spend no less than $200. The giant and extra highly effective the unit, the extra you will pay.

Many fashions obtainable on-line vary from $250-$499 for rooms between 200-650 sq. ft. Seasonal objects like air conditioners are inclined to go on sale in the low season, so maintain your eyes peeled for fall and winter offers. 


Size issues! Cliche? Yes. True? Also sure. You have to know the way massive the room is to find out simply how a lot circulating energy you should buy. Portable air conditioners come in numerous sizes, and usually meaning completely different costs too. 

Here’s a fast information, from air conditioner producer Sylvane, with the assumption of 8-foot ceilings:

  • 7,500 BTUs will cowl 150 sq. ft x 8-foot ceiling = 1,200 cubic ft
  • 9,000 BTUs will cowl 200 sq. ft x 8-foot ceiling = 1,600 cubic ft
  • 10,000 BTUs will cowl 300 sq. ft x 8-foot ceiling = 2,400 cubic ft
  • 12,000 BTUs will cowl 400 sq. ft x 8-foot ceiling = 3,200 cubic ft
  • 13,000 BTUs will cowl 450 sq. ft x 8-foot ceiling = 3,600 cubic ft
  • 14,000 BTUs will cowl 500 sq. ft x 8-foot ceiling = 4,000 cubic ft

BTU stands for British Thermal Unit, a measurement of how a lot warmth an air conditioning unit can take away from an area per hour. Portable air conditioners use this unit to measure their cooling energy, so the increased the BTU ranking, the bigger the room an air conditioner can cool. 

Small rooms: A 7,000-to-10,000 BTU unit can successfully cool rooms as much as 300 sq. ft. This 8,000-BTU Midea unit claims to cool rooms as much as 150 sq. ft. 

Medium rooms: For rooms between 350 and 700 sq. ft, you will need a 11,000-to-14,000 BTU unit. This 12,000-BTU SereneLife air conditioner says it cools rooms as much as 450 sq. ft. 

Large rooms: Residential models usually prime out round 14,000 BTU, sufficient for 700 sq. ft at most. For areas bigger than that, you will have to look into industrial or industrial fashions. A unit that’s too small to your house will run for too long and by no means successfully cool it to the temperature you need. There are some exceptions, although, like this 15,000-BTU residential Honeywell model that guarantees to cool as much as 775 sq. ft. 

If you want transportable cooling for bigger areas however do not wish to pay industrial costs (they’ll soar into the 1000’s), contemplate shopping for a number of smaller models and inserting them far aside. 

Extra options and useful smarts


Some models work with an app so you may make changes on the go.


Once you have decided the right measurement unit, it is time to consider what additional options would possibly improve your expertise. Here are a couple of widespread extras and instance models.

Timer: Timers allow you to set cooling to start out or cease after a sure period of time or a sure time of day. 

Remote: A remote control will allow you to handle your local weather management far more conveniently.

Dehumidifying: Air conditioners that also dehumidify may also help rooms really feel much less stuffy quick.

Smarts: Portable air conditioners with smarts have WI-Fi to hook up with voice assistants for voice instructions and routines or to a cell app. 

Maintaining your transportable air conditioner

Portable air conditioners have air filters to maintain circulating air clear. It’s a good suggestion to scrub the filter out each two weeks for the finest efficiency. You can wash these filters with dish cleaning soap and heat water. 

Because transportable air conditioners additionally dehumidify to some extent, you will additionally want to empty your unit’s water assortment tray, if it has one. Dual-hose fashions might not gather water in the event that they vent most of the humidity out a second hose, so examine your unit’s care directions to search out out extra. Drain the assortment tray usually, earlier than or after use to stop mildew development. 

Other than these two upkeep objects, common dusting and wiping down will maintain your unit trying recent and working effectively. If you retailer it in chilly climate months, maintain it in a cool, dry place. 

With a little bit little bit of math and planning, you possibly can clear up your summer warmth issues earlier than they wreck the season with a transportable air conditioner to your house. 

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