AC Features: How to Get More from Your New Portable Air Conditioner
You probably know that BTU ratings are an important when it comes to choosing the right portable air conditioner. But there are several other features that you may want to consider before making a purchase. Options such as auto-evaporative technology, timers, and even built-in heaters can make your mobile AC even easier and more convenient to use.
So before you buy your new portable AC, be sure to check out these features:
Every air conditioner has a cooling capacity rating that ranges anywhere from 5,000 to 30,000 BTU's. The higher the BTU value, the stronger the air conditioner. Purchasing an air conditioner with the wrong BTU value for the space you're cooling will result in problems with cooling efficiency, as an air conditioner that's too powerful will cycle off too quickly and not properly dehumidify the room, and similarly, a unit with too low a BTU rating will not adequately cool.
To accurately find out how many BTUs your room needs, perform one of these two equations:
Find the square footage of the room and multiply this number by 35 to get a general ballpark figure.
Find the square footage of the room and find this number range in the following chart:
150 square feet
up to 5,400 BTUs
200 square feet
340 square feet
400 square feet
450 square feet
550 square feet
750 square feet
850 square feet
1,000 square feet
1,400 square feet
1,520 square feet
1,600 square feet
EER stands for "Energy Efficiency Ratio," and this is another number that's commonly used in the portable air conditioner industry. High EER ratings are preferable because this means the unit costs less to operate.
Portable ACs have EERs usually ranging from 8 to 11 - the higher the EER, the more the air conditioner will cost to purchase. But if you plan operating it constantly, it may be cost-effective to get a unit with a high EER to save on utility bills.
Air conditioners remove water from the air as part of the cooling process. This water collects in an internal bucket that must be emptied periodically. Different models offer different options for drainage:
Self-evaporative - Recycles most of the water to cool the condenser coils and then exhausts it through the vent. These ACs only need to be drained manually in the most humid weather.
Continuous drainage - Some units allow you to connect a hose to the water tank to train continuously.
Manual drainage - Every AC will allow for manual draining. Usually, this involves removing a plug at the bottom of the unit and letting it empty in a dish.
Most modern portable air conditioners run quietly, but if you're concerned about noise levels, be sure to pay attention to decibel ratings. The higher the decibel, the louder the unit is. To get a basic idea of decibel ratings, refer to the following chart:
Decibel Intensity Level
Typical 10,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
Military Jet Takeoff
Almost all portable air conditioners will have at least two settings for airflow - how fast the fan blows out cold air - but you may want additional settings to increase the unit's versatility. Some manufacturers list CFM (cubic feet per minute), which is a measure of the volume of air flow. A higher CFM will mean more airflow.
The air quality indoors is often many times worse than the air outdoors, and to address this issue, most portable air conditioner manufacturers will include some kind of air filter to remove impurities. The types of filters available might include:
HEPA filters - High-Efficiency Particulate Arresting (HEPA) filters trap particles as tiny as 0.3 microns, with an efficiency rating of 99.7%. They're ideal for capturing allergens like pollen, dust, animal hair and mold.
Activated carbon filters - Remove unpleasant odors and pollutants such as fumes and cigarette smoke.
Ionizers - Cause fine particles to attach together so they are easier to capture in a filter.
Electronic & Remote Controls
Most modern mobile ACs have electronic control panels with LCD displays, so that setting and monitoring the thermostat and other features is simple.You can also get a remote control with most units so you can control it from across the room, from the comfort of your chair.
Temperature Range and Increments
If you live in an especially hot and arid climate, portable air conditioners spanning less than 20° may not be sufficient. Also look for temperature increments, and be sure that the model you choose can be adjusted in notches of 1° to 2°, as this allows for greater precision and prevents electricity waste.
Timers allow you to save energy by running the unit only at set times. Sleep settings are also quite useful as the air conditioner will slow down the cooling process to a minimum while you are sleeping, therefore saving you time and money.
Adjustable louvers in a portable air conditioner will allow you to adjust the louvers from up/down or side-to-side. This function will provide you with more options for directing airflow.
Some portable air conditioners offer even more versatility by both cooling and heating your area.
Portable air conditioners will usually come with installation directions and window kits for venting. When choosing a portable air conditioner and if venting through a window, make sure the window you intend to install the vent on matches the type of window covered by the kit.
Beacuse portable ACs are meant to be mobile, they usually have features that make them easty to move around. These include:
- Casters or wheels
- Carrying handles
- Cord storage compartments
If you have any questions about the features available on any of our portable air conditioners, give us a call and talk to one of our cooling experts. We're happy to help you make the right choice to meet your cooling needs.Click here to see our selection of portable air conditioners for sale - we offer free shipping on hundreds of in-stock items.
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