Portable air conditioners (PACs) are a great substitute for an air conditioning system, especially if you are living in a property that you do not own. PACs are easily movable from room to room and do not require an electrician in order to be installed. There are some factors to consider before you hop out and purchase a PAC to replace your pedestal or ceiling fan, however, and these five factors should be seriously considered.
1. Size/Cooling Power
All PACs are rated in British Thermal Units (BTUs) that represent the cooling power of the air conditioning unit. The higher the BTU rating, the higher the cooling power. Do not, however, purchase the highest rated unit following assumptions that the unit will be able to provide maximum cooling power – if you buy a unit that is too large for the intended room you could be throwing away money unnecessarily, and if you buy a unit that is too small you are losing energy efficiency.
The following BTU values are basic guidelines:
• 7,500 BTUs – 150 ft2
• 9,000 BTUs – 200 ft2
• 10,000 BTUs – 300 ft2
• 12,000 BTUs – 400 ft2
• 13,000 BTUs – 450 ft2
• 14,000 BTUs – 500 ft2
The above guidelines are assuming a standard room with 8-foot high ceilings.
Here is an online BTU calculator that will generate a more specific BTU value as it takes into consideration the insulation in the intended room, the amount of light received, and whether or not it is intended for kitchen use.
2. Position/Air Ventilation
During usage, typical PACs will produce hot air that will need to be exhausted. Units usually come with a window kit that fits standard windows, and the provided exhaust hose that will be connected to a window will easily provide the needed ventilation. Some units come with installation kits that allow hot air to leave through a drop ceiling or an adjacent wall. Position your PAC according to how the hot air needs to be ventilated.
Evaporative PACs do not use refrigerant technology, instead drawing warm air into the unit and cooling it before releasing the air throughout the room. These units are cheaper but less effective, and require regular filling of water. Drip PAC models discharge excess water into a drain bucket that needs to be periodically emptied, whereas non-drip models recycle excess water through evaporation, and thus do not require a drain bucket. Non-drip models tend to be more expensive. Filters need to be cleaned regularly, and if ice builds up inside of the unit, the ice will need to be defrosted.
4. Energy Efficiency
PACs are labeled with an Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER). The higher the EER value, the more energy efficient the unit is. The EER value shows you how many BTUs are used for each watt of power.
5. Noise Level
PACs are generally louder than air conditioning systems, but they do not generate enough noise to be considered disruptive. PAC units usually come with decibel levels (dBs), so take the time to compare the dB levels of different PACs.
Singapore has a climate that is very much tropical – it boasts high levels of humidity and temperatures that average around 31 degrees Celsius year-round. Heat is everywhere in Singapore, and almost all commercial and private buildings have air conditioning systems installed. When you are so dependent on air conditioning systems for comfort, it is best to make sure that your systems are serviced and kept functioning well.
The quality and upkeep of an air conditioning unit’s filters, coils, and fins is central is maintaining effective functioning. If servicing is neglected, the unit’s performance will steadily decline. It is only with regular care that air conditioning units will function consistently well for a long period of time. If parts of an AC unit become faulty, dirty, or broken, the unit can experience a huge decline in efficiency, durability, and life span. A decline in energy efficiency will mean a higher electricity bill, as the unit will need to be working longer at a higher setting in order to generate the same amount of cold air as a well-serviced unit. A higher electrical bill may very well cost more than what it would cost to have your unit regularly serviced.
Servicing your air conditioning unit does not have to involve hiring a professional to give your unit an overhaul. Rather, you can do it yourself for little to no cost. Make sure to clean or replace filters regularly, especially if your unit is constantly used. A filter that is clogged and dirty hinders normal airflow and consequently reduces efficiency. Evaporator and condenser coils collect debris over time, and the dirt will reduce airflow and insulate the coils, reducing their ability to absorb heat efficiently. Coils do not need to be checked quarter-yearly or half-yearly, but they should be checked yearly and either cleaned out or replaced. If your coils are located outdoors, the area around the coils should be cleaned regularly, and foliage should be trimmed back at a distance of around 2 feet in order for adequate airflow to occur.
Use a ‘fin comb’ (easily purchased at air conditioning wholesalers) to push back the aluminum fins on evaporator and condenser coils in order to prevent them from bending and blocking smooth airflow. Check condensate drains for clogs as clogged channels will prevent proper dehumidification, and the excess moisture may cause water damages to surrounding walls and carpets.
If you do intend on hiring a professional to service your AC unit, make sure he or she does at least the following:
• Checks for the correct amount of refrigerant
• Uses a leak detector to check for possible refrigerant leaks
• Checks and seals possible duct leakages
• Measures airflow through evaporator coils
• Inspects electrical terminals, cleans and tightens connections
• Oils motor(s), checks belts for wear and tear
• Checks thermostat accuracy
If you need help servicing your air conditioners, you can contact us @ 98561588 for more information.
Before delving into the mechanisms of your portable air conditioning unit (PAC), consider doing the following: make sure there are no large obstructions situated in front of your PAC that could hinder air flow into the unit. Check the exhaust hose and remove any obstructions inside the hose, and keep the hose unbent. Lightly vacuum the evaporator and condensing coils to remove any potential clogs. If the evaporator is frosted over, allow it to defrost before resuming operation. If you own a reverse-cycle PAC unit, make sure the unit is set on the cooling mode. The set temperature should be below room temperature. If your unit is set to Auto Mode and you desire cooler temperatures, switch it to Cool Mode and key in your desired temperature.
If doing the above does not remedy the situation, then the problem is most likely caused by faulty mechanisms. The fan motor may be blown, the compressor may be malfunctioning, the coolant may have run out, etc. If your fan motor does not work any longer and you do not want to hire a professional, it is possible to change motors by yourself. Find the motor that matches your PAC model, and then follow this guide to replace your broken fan motor. If you discover that your fan motor is down, you should replace it as soon as possible as it may burn out the compressor.
If the problem lies with the compressor, chances are that the compressor is seized and is pulling on locked motor amperage until the compressor trips on internal overload. The only solution that deals with a malfunctioning compressor is buying a new one and replacing it, but as compressors usually cost two-thirds of a whole PAC unit, you might want to consider simply selling your old PAC unit to salvage places or dumping it out and purchasing a whole new unit. If the compressor is not working due to a blocked/damaged compressor-condensing coil or a broken cooling fan, either replace the component(s) or switch out your unit for a new one as those scenarios may eventually lead to overheating.
If your PAC has run out of refrigerant/coolant, simply add some into the unit. Look for a valve that is usually located on the suction side of the unit, where gauges are hooked up and show readings for the system. Make sure the refrigerant you use is the one your unit needs. Here are the steps necessary for recharging your PAC through adding refrigerant (scroll down to find the section titled ‘Method 4 of 4’). Note that refrigerants are often costly, and if you do not want to spend money on refrigerant you may simply choose to purchase a whole new unit instead.
If you have tried all the possible solutions listed above and your PAC unit is still not working, you could either call in an electrician or purchase a new PAC unit – compare cost and time required before deciding.
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.
Keeping the air quality of your home at good levels is highly important – air pollutants can enter the bloodstream through harming lung tissue and cause many health complications. The following is a short list of possible causes of air pollutants that may currently be found in your home.
Many individuals and families purchase air purifiers just to combat this problem of indoor air pollution. Some air purifiers, however, use a method of air purification that instead adds pollutants. These air purifiers use a high dose of ozone to kill mould and bacteria. Ozone, a major component of smog, can lead to scarification of lung tissue, elicit asthma attacks, and cause severe coughing fits. Here is a partial list of ozone generators that are marketed as air purifiers that you should avoid purchasing.
2. Lead Paint
Although leaded household paint is now widely unavailable, many old buildings still contain high traces of the substance. Lead can cause a wide variety of health problems as it interferes with body processes and is highly toxic to organs and tissues. Its interference with the nervous system is particularly dangerous, and may lead to permanent learning and behaviour disorders in children. Body growth may be slowed and kidney damage will likely occur.
Carpets are the perfect breeding ground for dust mites and fungus, as well as being a great trapper of dirt, pet dander, and other unhealthy particles. There can also be minute traces of substances used in the manufacture of carpets, formaldehyde being a key chemical. Formaldehyde is quickly broken down into the air when it enters the environment, and it can also be found in wood products, paint, and varnishes. It irritates the eyes, nose, and throat, and may cause occupational asthma. Ingestion of formaldehyde will lead to stomach damage. Dust mites can easily provoke allergies and asthma – it is important to note that mites thrive in humidity. Mould and fungi typically trigger allergic reactions that range from respiratory problems to skin irritation to central nervous system problems (headaches, mood changes, etc.).
4. Cleaning Products
If a chlorine-based cleaning product is used along with an acid-based product, it produces chlorine gas. Chlorine gas is highly poisonous, and will lead to airway irritation, difficulty breathing, eye and skin irritation, and coughs. High levels of chlorine gas inhalation can cause pulmonary edema.
Thankfully, air conditioners may aid in removing some air pollutants. Many air pollutants are water soluble, and because air conditioners remove moisture from the atmosphere, they also remove the pollutants. Filters in the air conditioner also aid in removing pollen and particulate matter. Filters should be regularly cleaned, however, or clogged filters will instead contribute to air pollution instead of helping to clear it. Do not rely solely on air conditioning units to clean the air inside your home; do your part to remove any pollutants that might have been introduced through activities that you and your family engage in.
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