Written by Daan

Advice on portable air conditioners

A portable air conditioner controls the temperature and humidity in a certain room. It's an air conditioning system with wheels, making it easy to move or store it when it's not in use. A portable air conditioner has a drain hose, which drain warm air through a window or door. It provides comfort on warm summer days, but also on cold days when the air is very dry. In this article, I'll explain the most important properties of portable air conditioners.

How does a portable air conditioner work?

Operation of a portable air conditioner

A portable air conditioner works basically the same as a traditional air conditioner. Regular air conditioners have an indoor and outdoor unit that can drain heat or supply it. A portable air conditioner consists of 1 unit with a drain hose that hangs out of the window or door. This way, the device can drain the heat outside. That's why it's important that the air conditioner is used near a window. Because a portable air conditioner doesn't have an outdoor unit, it makes a bit more noise than a split air conditioner. The device inside does all the work.

How large is the space you want to cool?

Portable air conditioner in space

The cooling capacity of a portable air conditioner is measured in BTU (British Thermal Units). This is often translated into cubic meters or an area in square meters, which is stated either on the box or in the manual. The surface area is average, as the capacity depends on your ceiling height. In addition, the number of windows, the location of the room, the insulation of your home, and the amount of people in the room influence the cooling performance. That's why we state several values in the specifications on the product page:

  • The maximum capacity according to the manufacturer in cubic meters (m3)
  • The maximum area (m2) with an average ceiling height of 2.5 meters
  • The maximum area (m2) with low heat loads, according to Coolblue - Good sun protection, few windows, good insulation
  • The maximum area (m2) at high heat loads, according to Coolblue - Windows on the south, poor insulation, space on high floor

How much noise does a portable air conditioner make?

Noise level air conditioner

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. Is noise an essential feature? Look into purchasing a split air conditioner. 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.

Noise level

Number of decibels Comparable sound level Noise level Suitable for space
50 - 59dB Background noises, electric tootbrush Silent Bedroom, Living room
60 dB or louder Normal conversation at a 1-meter distance Audible Kitchen, bathroom, hallway

How does the drain hose of a portable air conditioner work?

Drain hose portable air conditioner through window

Every portable air conditioner has a drain hose. 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. When installing the drain hose, make sure the doesn't bend too much. Keep in mind that the crack in the door or window 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.

What is the energy consumption of a portable air conditioner?

Portable air conditioner in room

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.

How does the condensation trap of a portable air conditioner work?

Portable air conditioner

Cooling the air always creates condensation water. That water will obviously have to go somewhere. With portable air conditioners, the condensation water goes into a special collection cup. You need to empty this cup every few hours. An average air conditioner produces 1 to 2 liters of condensation water per hour. Is the cup full? The air conditioner indicates you need to drain the water. You can use a tap to do so, after which the air conditioning can do its job again. Dehumidifying the room also ensures a more pleasant feeling.

Do you want to heat or purify the room as well?

Heat or purify

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.

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Article by:
Daan Air Conditioner Expert.

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