Portable air conditioners can be a highly effective way to either supplement an existing central HVAC system in one room or cool a room entirely. Models vary in cooling capabilities, directly related to the unit's BTU rating per hour. The portable A/C units offered at thermospace differ by brand, maximum cooling area, and by additional unit features (such as whether a remote control is included, speed options there are for the unit fan, etc.. Some units have additional heating & IONIZER capabilities as well. Perhaps the most important thing to determine when choosing a portable air conditioner is the size needed. An air conditioner that is too small will not be able to keep up with cooling demand.
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What is a portable air conditioner?
A portable air conditioner is a self-contained free standing unit that typically sits within the area that is intended to be cooled – providing traditional ‘refrigerant driven’ air conditioned air.

What is required to set a unit up? Are there any air hoses?
All compressor driven units (including portable air conditioners) exhaust hot air as part of the cooling process and therefore require an exhaust hose setup to discharge this hot air.  This air hose is often vented out through provided window or through a wall if preferred.  All Portable Air Conditioners come with the necessary accessories for either installation: window kit & through wall installation kit.  Setup is very easy and generally takes between 20-30 minutes to complete. 

Will I need to empty water? Will water collect in the unit?
When air is cooled water is extracted from the air. Therefore, all portable air conditioners remove water from the air while they are cooling. There are many different ways that various models deal with this condensate water. The simplest units have a built in water bucket that needs to be emptied (or drained via hose) on a regular basis...as frequently as every 12 hours to as infrequently as once a week depending on the humidity conditions of your environment). More sophisticated units that utilize Evaporative technology which evaporates a great a deal of moisture into their hot air discharge and hence there is either less or even no water to empty. All units utilize some form of evaporative technology that expells moisture through the exhaust although only some completely eliminate the need to empty / drain the water tank.  Portable AC's also support a water drain hose to allow for water to continuously drain out if desired.

What type of electrical requirements?
All Portable AC's use a typical household 115 VAC wall outlet for operation. However, as air conditioners can draw a significant amount of energy, caution must be taken not to overload a circuit with multiple high energy consumption devices (e.g. refrigerator or dehumidifier on the same circuit). Energy consumption will vary depending on the model and your environmental conditions.

What size air conditioner (BTU) do I need?
Generally, a 12,000 BTU portable air conditioner will cover 350 to 400 square feet, while the more powerful 14,000 BTU units will cover up to 500 square feet.  However, this is only a rule of thumb and does not take into account ceiling height (cubic space), insulation type (building construction), geographical location (ambient temperature), heat emitting sources (people, electronics), sun exposure (excessive windows) , etc.  Therefore, we recommend customers be conservative and buy slightly more BTU's than they think that they might need. Also keep in mind, the rated capacity and coverage area cannot be applied if the air conditioner is being used in places like a: high output kitchen, server room, sun room or any area that lacks standard building insulation.

What is the difference between a single hose design and a dual hose design?
Some portable air conditioners have one air exhaust hose and some have two air hoses, one for air intake and one for air exhaust. A single hose unit will take air from the room that it is in and return most of that air back into the room as cold conditioned air. However, a small amount of that air will be used to cool the unit and be blown out of the air conditioners exhaust hose. This results in a slight negative pressure in the room being cooled as a small amount of air is constantly being removed from the room. If this negative pressure is adjusted for by drawing unconditioned air into the room from adjacent spaces then the cooling efficiency is slightly affected. A dual hose unit works by taking in air from the outside through one of its hoses and using that air to cool the unit - and then that hot air is expelled through the exhaust hose. As such, it does not create negative pressure inside the room being cooled. However dual hose units use warmer unconditioned air to cool their compressors which results in slightly less efficiency and also use two fans internally which results in slightly higher energy usage. At this time, there is no conclusive evidence that either solution, single vs. dual hose, is better than the other when all factors are considered. Click here to view our Dual-Hose Units.

Can I discharge the hot air out of a horizontal opening sliding glass window - door?
Although some units only come with a window kit that accomodate traditional (vertically opening) windows, most units will work with sliding glass doors and sliding glass windows depending on the length of provided Window Kit. To check whether or not your unit will work with your sliding glass window, view the Window Kit Max length specifications and cross reference that with the length of your horizonal window.  If your window length exceeds the max window kit length, additional window kit sliders can be purchased to extend provided kit.

Can I lengthen the exhaust / hot air discharge hose?
In general, you cannot lengthen the exhaust hose of units.  Depending on the manufacturer, this may void your warranty and potentially cause your air conditioner to overheat. All Portable AC’s come with an extendable 5 ft. exhaust hose length.

What type of Refrigerant is used?
Most current Portable Air conditioners on the market are pre-charged with R-22. This has been the industry standard for Portable AC's since there conception. However, since R-22 will begin a phase out starting in 2011, some units (such as the ARC-14S & ARC-12S) come pre-charged with the newer Eco-Friendly R-410A.

Do I have to remove my screen from the window with the Window Kit?
The answer to this question may vary based upon your particular window and screen. However, most of our customers find that they can leave the screen in the window and that the exhaust hose of the AC does not extend out from the window.

What should I use for a server/sun room?
Portable air conditioners are often times used for supplemental cooling for computer server rooms / sun rooms or as primary cooling during the weekends when building air conditioning may be shutoff. However most Portable AC's are not designed to accomodate server rooms (prescence of high heat emitting sources) or sun rooms (that lack both building insulation and have a high sunload) with the listed BTU capacity.  Please contact us before purchasing an HVAC appliance if you plan on using it in one of these rooms.

Will a portable air conditioner work for multiple rooms?
Generally, Yes as long as the space being cooled is within the square footage capacity of the unit. However, the cold air will not sufficiently travel down lengthy halls & through narrow doorways. If a space has very large openings from one room to another, then adjacent spaces will reap more of the benefits.  Similar to Window units, Portable AC’s are most effective at cooling their immediate area…Fans can be used to help circulate air.

I have a casement / crank out window, will this work?
There are no portable air conditioner units with a window kit that will work for a casement window. Some customers have fashioned a solution using Plexiglas to cover their entire window area and then have a small hole cut into the Plexiglas for the hot air discharge hose. No solution is provided "out of the box" but some customers have fashioned their own

 
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