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Portable air conditioners, or PACs for short, are a great alternative to central air conditioning when it comes to protecting yourself. PACs offer instant cooling, are easy to install, simple to operate, and a lot more versatile than you might think. Portable air conditioning units are available in a wide range of cooling capacities and include various user-friendly features. But instead of buying the first PAC you see, we recommend you read this article to learn which factors you should consider when purchasing a portable air conditioner for your home or office.

Cost

PACs tend to be far more affordable than central AC units, but their price can vary greatly depending on factors such as performance, design, and features. Less expensive PACs are typically not as efficient as higher-end models, so they end up costing you more money down the road in the form of higher energy bills.

Keep in mind that a higher price tag doesn’t always mean better performance. In this regard, PACs are not too different from other home appliances. There are packs that offer excellent value as well as packs that cost way more than they should. We recommend you stick to trusted brands like Honeywell to avoid PACs from manufacturers that are known to use deceptive sales tactics just to increase the likelihood of making a sale.

Room Size

Most people don’t buy a PAC to cool an entire house or apartment. PACs are typically purchased for cooling specific rooms, but that doesn’t mean you can purchase any pack you want without paying close attention to the size of the room where you want to use it.

There are numerous factors such as room size, ceiling height, insulation, size of windows, level of sunlight that determine the right PAC. Below is an approximation of required cooling capacities for different room sizes.

Recommended
Room Size m2
Recommended
Base BTU*
33m2 2.3 kW
42m2 2.9 kW
51m2 3.5 kW
65m2 4.1 kW

*Room environment conditions can affect the cooling efficiency of a Portable Air Conditioner; the above table is for references only. Recommended base BTU is based on the assumptions that the room is exposed to little sunlight, has average ceiling height, insulated well with average ceiling height. For a well-insulated room of average ceiling height but with high sun exposure and multiple windows, its recommended to add 0.59 kW to the base kW. In a kitchen where, heated appliances and hot food will be present regularly, add additional 1.1kW to base kW.

Maintenance

When a portable AC cools indoor air, it also acts like a dehumidifier and removes water from the air. There are different ways in which this water is removed, some brands come with a drain hose while others feature the self-evaporation technology. Modern PACs like the Honeywell MN10CES often feature a no-drop design that uses an auto-evaporation system to evaporate all or most of the water they collect, except the humidity is too high. Since auto-evaporation PACs remove moisture for you, they require far less maintenance than PACs without auto-evaporation.

Features

If possible, choose a multi-functional PAC that combines three appliances into one: an air conditioner, a multi-speed fan to help air circulate in your home, and a dehumidifier to ensure your space stays dry during wetter months.A good example of such PAC is the Honeywell MN12CES, which has a washable filter that cleans in no time under a faucet for easy maintenance. The Honeywell MN12CES also has several other features that any good PAC should have, including digital controls and a convenient remote control that lets you change settings from across the room.

Noise

Portable air conditioners make some noise like most electric appliance. Most of the reputable manufacturers have put considerable effort into making their products quieter through building special features. The Honeywell MN12CES, which we’ve already mentioned as an example of a multi-functional PAC that combines three appliances into one, produces between 51 to 54 decibels, about the sound level of an average conversation between two people in a quiet room. In other words, you won’t even know that it’s actively keeping your room pleasantly cool.

Installation

PACs are not difficult to install, but they do require a window installation kit that makes it possible to exhaust hot air outside. Most PACs come with a window installation kit included in the box, the ideal way is to follow the instructions from the same manufacturer. Here’s is a quick video to help you install a PAC in simple steps.You might also want to buy an extra installation kit if you plan on moving your PAC between one room and another. Provided you follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions step by step, you should be able to install your new PAC without any problems and with nothing but a few basic tools.

 

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