Written by Dewy

Advice on portable air conditioners

A portable air conditioner allows you to control the temperature and humidity in a certain space. It's a lightweight air conditioner, which means you can easily move it or put it away when you're not using it for a while. A portable air conditioner only works with a drain hose. It provides more comfort on hot summer days, or on cold days when the air is very dry. With an air conditioner, it's better to keep the temperature stable, instead of lowering it drastically. We'll help you find the best air conditioner for your situation.

1. How does a portable air conditioner work?

Operation of a portable air conditioner

A portable air conditioner basically works the same way as a classic fixed air conditioner. An indoor unit attracts heat and an outdoor unit releases that heat again. A fan sucks hot air out of the room and carries the hot air to a heat exchanger. Coolant flows inside the heat exchanger, absorbing the air. Next, the cooled air is blown into the room. Because of the hot air, the coolant takes on the form of gas. This gas is released through the outdoor unit. We distinguish here between mono-block air conditioners and portable split air conditioners. Portable split air conditioners consist of an indoor and an outdoor unit. These units can't be disconnected. A monoblock airco consists of 1 piece. There is no outdoor unit that releases hot air. That's why you use a drain hose here.

2. How large is the space you want to cool?

A portable air conditioner can, generally speaking, only cool 1 space. Before you make your purchase of a portable air conditioner, you should decide how large (in m³) the space you want to cool is. Based on that, you make a selection of the most suitable models for you. A portable air conditioner sets air in motion. The higher the air movement per hour, the more air is moved and the more effective the cooling will be.

The cooling capacity of a portable air container is measured in BTU or in watts. An indication: you'll need around 136 BTU or 40 watts of cooling capacity per m³. Note: if the space is poorly insulated and/or has large windows, it's recommended to choose a portable air conditioner with a higher cooling capacity.

3. How much noise can the portable air conditioner make?

Cooling the bedroom on a summer night is nice, but you don't want the air conditioner to make noise that keeps you awake. Because of that, it's a good idea to pay attention to the appliance's noise level when purchasing. What matters here is the number of decibels at the loudest setting. There are no very silent air conditioners, however, there are differences when it comes to that. We distinguish, for example, between extra silent, silent, and audible. A relatively silent air conditioner produces between 50 and 60 decibels. For comparison: a dishwasher in operation produces around 60 to 65 decibels of noise.

Number of decibels Comparable sound level Noise level Suitable for space
49dB or more silent Soft murmuring Extra silent Bedroom, study
50-60dB Background noises, electric tootbrush Silent Living room
61dB or louder Normal conversation at a 1-meter distance Audible Kitchen, bathroom, hallway

4. Are there any portable air conditioners without a drain hose?

Portable air conditioner without hose

There's no such thing as a portable air conditioner without a drain hose. Want an airco without an outdoor unit? You'll need an air cooler. An air cooler is a kind of 'light' version of the portable air conditioner. The difference with a portable air conditioner is that air coolers don't dehumidify a space, they merely freshen it. You should place a portable air conditioner in a spot where the drain hose can easily reach outside, for example next to a window or door. Keep in mind that the crack shouldn't be too large, since that impedes the functioning of your portable air conditioner. A sliding or tilting window is best. Or make a hole yourself and fill it with insulation material if needed.

5. How energy-efficient is a portable air conditioner?

Every portable air conditioner has an energy label, on which you can see which category the appliance falls into. The way you use the air conditioner also influences how energy-efficient the appliance is in practice. The more often and the longer you turn it on and the higher the temperature difference you're trying to reach is, the more energy the air conditioner consumes in order to do its work.

6. Want to heat or purify the air in the space too?

Most portable air conditioners in higher price ranges often have an additional option for heating the space. That means the appliance isn't just useful on hot summer days, it also provides comfort in winter. In addition, some portable air conditioners have an ionizer. An ionizer cleanses the air, fighting pollen, mold, and dust.

7. What sort of condensation trap do you want on a portable air conditioner?

Cooling the air always creates condensation water. That water will obviously have to go somewhere. That condensation water is led outside through a drain hose. On portable mono-block air conditioners, that condensation water goes into a special collection cup which needs to be emptied every few hours. An average air conditioner produces 1 to 2 liters of condensation water per hour. Is the cup full? The air conditioner will automatically turn off until you've emptied the cup.

8. Accessories for portable air conditioners

Portable air conditioner accessories

Want to control your portable air conditioner remotely? Check out our assortment of remotes and switches. To increase the distance between the socket and the portable air conditioner, a power strip or extension cord may be handy. Drain hoses should be run outside through a window or door. This creates a crack. Is this crack too big? Then air from outside will come in and interfere with the functioning of your air conditioner. To combat this, there are special window seals with zipper closures. Open the zipper closure and stick the drain hose through that hole. This way, you'll prevent hot air flowing back into your room from the outside. Apart from that, of course, it also keeps mosquitoes and other insects out of the house.


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