A portable air conditioner is a valuable appliance for both residential and commercial applications. For all but the largest projects, there is a portable air conditioner what will fit your needs. Though not the most efficient cooler, PAC’s are very flexible and fit a large variety of spaces. The blowers aren’t equipped to push air a long distance such as a hallway or multiple rooms.
Most portable air conditioners cool under 500 sq/ft so they are ideal for a large bedroom, kitchen or small workshop. There are PAC’s that are made for cooling more than 500 sq/ft and they are generally installed in commercial applications like computer rooms meeting rooms etc. So what size do you need?
- 7,000 BTU cools 150 sq. ft. or 1,200 cubic feet
- 8,000 BTUs cools 200 sq. ft. or 1,500 cubic feet
- 10,000 BTUs cools 300 sq. ft. or 2,400 cubic feet
- 12,000 BTUs cools 400 sq. ft. or 3,000 cubic feet
- 13,000 BTUs cools 450 sq. ft. or 3,500 cubic feet
- 15,000 BTUs cools 500 sq. ft. or 4,000 cubic feet
These are estimates and would change significantly with the number of rooms, height of the ceiling, or the presence of other appliances that generate heat.
How do Portable Air Conditioners Work?
The mechanics of portable air conditioners are identical to normal central air conditioners. Heat is exchanged, moisture is from the surrounding air, and condensed water forms and must be drained. Because a portable air conditioner doesn’t sit in a window where heat can diffuse in the outside air, an exhaust tube must carry the heat generated away from the room usually through the ceiling or a window. Water condensate must be carried away as well and this is done in a number ways. Some portable air conditioners have a basin underneath that must be emptied periodically but in most applications a tube whisks water away via gravity.
What Electrical Requirements Are Needed?
Most portable air conditioners require normal 110/120 Volt electricity while some of the larger PAC’s (15,000 BTu and higher) might require 220/240 Volt or three phase wiring.
What Is Needed For Set Up/Installation?
Typically portable air conditioners use window kits to deal with heat exhaust and condensation. Depending on your level of expertise, you could install two flanges on an adjacent wall that are the exact size of the hoses which will limit heat escape. If you have drop ceiling, there are kits available for that type of installation though they are not as aesthetically pleasing as a window or flange application.