Is it worth buying a portable air conditioner?

July 2, 2021

Dog days of summer got you down? It might be time to consider a portable air conditioner, a practical and convenient choice for specific air conditioning needs and smaller spaces. Compared to wall-mounted or central air conditioners, portable units are worth the money if properly vented to the outside and not forced to cool your entire home. Let this portable air conditioner buying guide steer you in the right direction.

Is it worth buying a portable air conditioner?

[Photo Credit: alexlmx]

What are the benefits of portable air conditioners?
Unlike window units, hassle-free floor models don’t have to be installed by anyone – including you! You can also move them around to suit your situation and pack them away in the off season. They are also good for homes that can’t go the window route, due to window styles, awkward locations, or building codes. Keep in mind that if you don’t have a handy bone in your body, you may need some help with the venting and sealing.

Is your home overheating?
Let YP help find a local Air Conditioning Contractor for advice on setting your home up to cool down.

What are the cons of portable air conditioners?
Portable air conditioning units will exhaust some warm air into your home, and they can be a bit noisy because the whole apparatus is in the room with you. Quiet portable air conditioners do exist, though they tend to cost a bit more. Portable air conditioners also use more electricity because they have to run longer to do the job required. Maintaining a portable air conditioner can also present an issue, as you have to remember to periodically drain the water tank.

How to choose the right portable air conditioner
First, calculate the size of the room, then select a unit with the appropriate BTUs (British thermal units, a heating/cooling measurement). Are you cooling just one room or the whole floor? In general, a 20-square-metre space will require a machine offering 8,000 BTUs, with a 35-square-metre space needing 12,000 BTUs. As of 2020, a new standard to rate BTUs and room cooling was introduced in Canada to account for the heat emitted by portable air conditioners. This is called the Seasonally Adjusted Cooling Capacity (SACC).

Are portable air conditioners worth the money?
While definitely less expensive than central air conditioning, floor units can be more expensive than wall-mounted versions due to their portability. You’re paying for the convenience factor. However, as technology improves, the price of portable air conditioners continues to fall.

Tips on using a portable air conditioner
Proper measuring – of the space the unit will occupy and the window vent – will set you up for success. Ensure connections are solid, sealing all air gaps. Keep drapes and blinds drawn during the heat of the day to take the extra strain off the unit. And to keep the air circulating, use an old-school fan in tandem to help augment the cooling effect.

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