Portable Air Conditioners - Keep Cool? Save Money?

A new innovation in the Air Conditioner business are Portable Air Conditioners. Do these portable units like the NewAir ACP-1300H Portable Air Conditioner really keep you cool? Can a Portable Air Conditioner save you money on your energy costs? Are Portable Air Conditioners any better than the old fashioned window air conditioning units? Let’s see what we can discover about them.

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Here’s the problem. If you live in an older home the cost of keeping your home cool can be quite substantial. When we lived in an older home our electric bill in the summer would be a whopping $500 or more. A traditional window unit Air Conditioner can help spot cool bedrooms and other living areas but you can’t install one everywhere for various reasons. Plus you must properly install and insulate a window Air Conditioner unit to prevent losing cool air, and money, and letting those summertime insect pests into your home.

Portable Air Conditioners are the solution to this problem. They don’t require permanent installation. All you need is an inconspicuous window kit to vent the exhaust. Some Portable Air Conditioners also release condensation from the exhaust hose while others require that you empty a collection canister every so often. Portable Air Conditioners are equipped with casters so that they can be moved easily from room to room. This allows you to spot cool as need.

For the average apartment sized bedroom you will want Portable Air Conditioners rated at between 7500 and 9000 BTUs. For larger areas, AC units with higher values are desirable to insure maximum efficiency and cost savings.

Unfortunately, Portable Air Conditioners can be pricey because they are new to the market. You must make sure that you get a good deal on a Portable Air Conditioner or otherwise your energy costs savings will disappear.


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Comment by RT Cunningham
2008-06-09 16:01:29

Great information here, Frank. As soon as my wife returns in August, we’ll be getting something that’s a cross between stationary and portable. Possibly more than one. I hate sweating here in the tropics. I hadn’t thought about the exhaust — stupid of me. I’ll obviously need an exhaust kit for every location (similar to the range exhaust we installed downstairs). It’s tricky for me because our walls are solid cement.

Comment by jfc
2008-06-09 16:19:37

Hi RT,

We have had tropical weather recently here in Georgia with high humidity and 100 degree F (38 C) temperatures. I’m just glad we’re in our new home with good, energy efficient, central air conditioning.

With the Portable Air Conditioning units where to place the exhaust vent is a concern. One idea is to use a plexiglass insert in a window or door to vent a portable air conditioner while still allowing in light. It is recommended that you do not use additional hose to extend the length of a portable air conditioner exhaust. I thought that you could perhaps use something like a dryer exhaust hose for this but portable air conditioner manufacturers say that you should not do this.

Comment by Dinheiro
2008-06-09 19:52:18

Note: ** Frank, I can’t get my comments to stay

Great article frank. Here in my country we’re at the moment with temperatures like that (30 C - 35 C) every single day, and at night at least 21C - 23C, it’s hot, really hot! We’ve recently buyed a new portable air conditioner, and my god, it was the best thing we could buy. But since a portable one, i had to build one add-on for my windows, for puttin the hose outside.

Comment by jfc
2008-06-10 06:45:16

Hi Dinheiro,

Portable Air Conditioners seem to be more popular outside the United States. You did not see Portable Air Conditioners in most stores here until this year. Before you would only see window Air Conditioners at major retailers like WalMart. Window units are a lot less expensive but not as flexible as Portable Air Conditioners.

Comment by Robert
2008-06-10 01:39:50

Heh, we haven’t been out of the mid-high 40s here, but at least it’s relatively dry. :) We don’t use portable air conditioners, but either window air conditioners or the split units, just depending on the luck of the draw.

The split units might work better for RT, because you have the interior unit mounted on a wall with a 2″ or so flexible tubish connection coming out the back through the wall to the compressor and fan. They’re also a heck of a lot quieter than a window unit.

Comment by jfc
2008-06-10 06:53:27

Hi Robert,

That is a good point. I wonder how noisy these newer Portable Air Conditioners are? The information I’ve read indicated that most Portable Air Conditioners were between 50 and 60 decibels, not loud but noticeable. I guess that is slightly quieter than window unit ACs that can be rather loud.

It sounds like the split unit Air Conditioner would be good for a semi-permanent installation. They are apparently quieter and more efficient than window units or Portable Air Conditioners. They are also more expensive although they aren’t as expensive as a central Air Conditioner system.

Comment by trade show booths
2008-06-11 22:59:23

Hi Frank, Good article. I spent a summer working in Chicago and understand the need for air conditioning. I’d get soaked with sweat just walking between buildings during the day. An alternative to a portable air conditioner is just to live where you can get by without one, such as coastal California :) As a kid growing up in Nevada I remember our house didn’t have air conditioning so the basement was a favorite spot during the summer, and the car air conditioner consisted of the crank on the inside of the door that lowered the window. I think I also walked 10 miles through 20 feet of snow to get to school during the winter… ahhh, memories of childhood. Hey, anyone looking to save money on portable trade show booths? Oh, just portable air conditioners?… Oh, well. Cheers ~ Steve

Comment by jfc
2008-07-05 12:16:55

Hi Steve,

I remember the 4/60 AC we had on our cars, roll down all 4 windows and go 60mph. :)

Comment by Buy Business Note
2008-07-01 12:18:08

Portable Air Conditioners may be expensive buying them new but I have seen a few of them at local auctions go at decent prices. The other option is to wait and snag one when they go on clearance at your local Home Depot or Lowes. Though that won’t help you this season.

The starting prices on eBay for a Portable Air Conditioner is very low, I am sure there are bargains to be had. Though be careful with shipping fees.

Comment by jfc
2008-07-05 12:15:29

Hi Business Note,

The only problem I’ve seen with buying them at Home Depot, Lowes or Wal-Mart is that they run their inventory very tight and rarely have portable AC units for sale at closeout prices. When our window AC unit died last year I had to go online to buy a replacement.

You’re right, the shipping fees can be killer, particularly with gasoline prices so high. For smaller units, UPS is the best bet for shipping although sometimes you can find good deals with freight lines if you can deal with their delivery terms and schedule.

2008-07-04 07:51:11

We’ve been trying to make it through the summer without buying an air conditioner for my office. But I have a feeling we may have to go ahead and get one. It has been getting warmer and warmer and there is a limit to how many clothes I can take off and still feel like I’m being somewhat professional!

I really don’t want to go to the trouble of installing a regular through the window air-conditioner, so if I could get a portable air-conditioner that would be effective it might be a very good solution for me.

Comment by jfc
2008-07-05 12:10:18

Hi Amish,

How well these units perform is based a lot on room size. If you have a small area, about 150-200 square feet, they can really help. Much larger than that though the performance drops off considerably.

As for cost savings, last summer in our old house I figure we saved about $1000 using a window unit vs. the central unit and I suspect a portable AC unit would see similar cost savings.

Comment by Judy Online
2008-07-04 07:55:36

I’m lucky enough to live close enough to the coast that I have call breezes through most of the windows in my house. I really haven’t felt the need for a portable air-conditioner yet. However, in the winter it is quite a different story. Those cool breezes suddenly become rather nasty cold winds that whistle through the windows, so a nice portable heater might be a very good idea for me!

Comment by jfc
2008-07-05 12:12:11

Hi Judy,

Living on the coast can bring in a nice breeze. I used to live along the coast and that was one of the nicer things about living there, the evening breeze that usually followed the afternoon thundershower.

Comment by Cheap GPS Systems
2008-08-12 01:02:45

I am so glad these have been invented and I look forward to the price going down. Think I will try one out after they receive some refinements and lower costs. I never heard of these until your post.

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