Those who purchase portable air conditioners (PACs) usually do so because these units are great alternatives to central air conditioning systems. PACs are compact, mobile, and much easier to install than your average central AC system. In addition, PACs concentrate on cooling a smaller area, thus being more cost-effective to run. Despite its convenience, however, deciding on which PAC model to purchase is not an easy task. There are many important factors to consider, and consumers often purchase a model that is inadequate for their needs. The following are some common mistakes to avoid when looking to purchase a PAC unit.
1. Buying the Wrong Type of Portable Air Conditioner for the Given Environment
It is vital in differentiating between a portable air conditioner and an air cooler. Although they both have the same intended effect – to generate cool air – they use completely different cooling methods. A portable air conditioner expels heat out of the unit through an exhaust hose. As the PAC cools air, moisture is condensed and absorbed out of the air and deposited into a drain bucket or removed through a drain hose. Some PACs do not require a drain bucket/hose as they have an evaporative technology installed.
Air coolers (also known as evaporative coolers) use the evaporative process to cool air. A fan surrounded by water-soaked pads inside the cooler blows warm air through said pads in order to generate a cooling effect.
Portable air conditioners also act as dehumidifiers, and because of this, they are most suitable for climates with moderate humidity levels. Evaporative coolers add moisture to the air, and are thus most suitable for drier climates. Generally, if the area you are in has a humidity level of above 20%, evaporative coolers will not be effective.
2. Failing to Consider BTUs and Room Size
Determining the required British Thermal Units (BTUs) in accordance to the intended room size is key in choosing a PAC unit of the right size and efficiency. The amount of light received in the room is also something that should be considered. If a PAC with a higher BTU rating than its corresponding room size is bought, the PAC will engage in quick cycling of air and dehumidifying will be hindered. Use this site to determine the BTU rating you need for your PAC.
3. Failing to Consider EER
The Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) measures the efficiency of a cooling system by calculating a ratio between BTUs to the amount of power that will be consumed by the cooling system (measured in watts). The higher the EER, the more energy efficient your system will be.
4. Disregarding Ventilation Requirements
All PACs require proper ventilation in order for the mechanisms to function properly. PACs are usually ventilated through a window, drop ceiling, or an adjacent wall as they release hot air during the cooling process. When considering purchasing a PAC, make sure there are appropriate ventilation areas that matches up with the ventilation needs of your PAC.