When house-wide central air conditioning is out of the question for whatever reason, a low cost alternative to stay cool is a portable air conditioner. They are compact, easy to move from place to place and surprisingly effective at producing sufficient temperature reduction in any room in your home that you need to occupy in comfort during the hottest weather.
You can find out about these useful standalone cooling devices on this page as we explore what they are, how they work and what the best ways to use them are.
What is a Portable Air Conditioner?
This is a compact appliance about the size of a two-drawer filing cabinet that can be quickly installed in a room to reduce its temperature during hot weather. It can be highly versatile and in some instances can be a real life-saver when no other effective cooling solution exists.
What you basically have here is a small, self-enclosed AC unit that takes warm air from the room, passes it through a refrigeration process inside and expels chilled air to cool you and your room down. In the process, it acts as a dehumidifier, drawing moisture out of the air in the room.
That moist air along with the hot air created through the refrigeration process is all expelled through an exhaust hose connected at one end to the back of the AC unit and the other end to a convenient window or through-wall vent. That's so the hot and moist air you don't want is taken out of the room and out of the building, leaving you feeling much cooler and more comfortable.
What makes it portable is the unit is self-contained and on wheels, so it can simply be unhooked from the window vent, unplugged from the mains outlet in the wall and wheeled to another room. Of course, you'll need another window or wall venting point in the room you move it to, but they are fairly simple to install yourself.
How Does a Portable AC Work?
As I mentioned in the above paragraphs, what goes on inside the unit is similar to the way a domestic refrigerator keeps its interior cold. That is a special gas is compressed using a mechanical compressor which makes it get very cold and the warm air is forced through cold pipes containing this compressed gas.
The system includes a drier to take the excess moisture out of the air before blasting it out the front of the unit as the nice, cold air you feel when you place your hand in front of the grill. All that processing uses energy and produces heat as a by-product of the process. The heat and moisture is simply forces out of the unit via its exhaust vent and the pipe carries it all out of the room through the window fixing kit or wall vent (if you have one already installed).
Mythical Vent Free Portable AC
A lot of people don't like to have to connect their unit up to a venting hose and connect that to a window kit or other through wall access point. To be able to have a better alternative for keeping cool such as a portable air conditioner without exhaust mechanisms might sound like a "dream come true," if it were real.
But there is more to know about how AC works before you can go to your local hardware store and grab one of these mythical beasts. Unfortunately, a true AC will produce hot air as well as cold and that hot air must be vented out of the room being cooled (if not, the room won't actually get cooled). That's why all free standing ACs need that ugly flexible vent hose!
However, there is an alternative cooling appliance that does not use the refrigeration process like an AC but produces cold air through evaporation of moisture instead. This kind of device is called an evaporative cooler or swamp cooler and is perfectly suited for using in areas of predominantly dry climates.
I'll talk more about these devices in a separate article to save this one getting too long and a little boring for those not really interested in alternatives to AC. Click the link in the paragraph above to go read it! You can also get a lot of additional information at this website: https://ventless-portable-air-conditioners.blogspot.com if you are really keen to know more.
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