Installing a portable air conditioner is a perfectly valid solution if you don’t want to do work, or want to use it in different rooms. We are going to explain everything you need to know to buy one of these teams.
Summer continues its course and it seems that it will last a long time, and it is that it takes longer and longer for the cold to arrive, something that makes the investment in an air conditioning payback for a longer time. Is it worth buying one? What are your chances? We are going to see everything you should take into account when buying a portable air conditioner.
Logically, the ideal solution would be to install a conventional air conditioner, but it has many drawbacks. They cost a lot of money, you have to pay for the installation separately, and you have to do work. Literally, a hole in the wall to take the pipe out to the street, as well as holes and fittings to hang it from the ceiling and carry the current there.
Perhaps the purchase and installation is too expensive for you, or you live in a rental house and the landlord will not let you do work. Or maybe you want to use the air in different rooms, depending on the day or other circumstances. In all these cases, a portable model may be sufficient in some specific cases, although not in all.
Do I need permission to install my air conditioner on the facade?
The air – conditioned portable work like conventional ones . They are usually a little less powerful because they are smaller, but the operation is the same: they generate cold air at the cost of extracting hot air from the room. The difference is that instead of pulling the hot air tube through a hole in the wall, it is pulled out through the window. This has obvious advantages (ease of use, portability), but also drawbacks, which we have to minimize.
Don’t be fooled: if there isn’t a tube that draws the air outside, it’s not air conditioning.
We are going to see everything you have to take into account when buying a portable air conditioner.
Before acquiring the mobile air conditioning device, you have to make a series of preliminary checks, and know its characteristics, to buy a model that meets our needs.
Before choosing your portable air conditioner
Is your room ready?
Although a portable device can be used almost anywhere, there are a few things to keep in mind.
As we have mentioned, these devices take the hot air out through a window, so logically the room where you are going to place it has to have a window that opens onto the street. You cannot install a device of this type in rooms without an air outlet to the outside.
You also have to try to place the tube as close to the window as possible. The tube that takes the air out is usually plastic and gets quite hot. If the appliance is far from the window, the tube will run through the entire room and, in addition to being annoying and unsightly, it will be hot, so it will heat up the environment that the portable air conditioner is trying to cool, increasing energy consumption. and therefore, the electricity bill.
Make a hole in the room to place it as close to the window as possible. Buy the tube as small as possible, or shrink it (some are stretchable) so that it takes up as little space as possible.
The shape of the window
If the window only opens at the top, or just a small slit where the tube won’t fit, it can be a problem. So you have to check it before.
Most portable air conditioners, especially cheap ones, usually come with the tube as is, sometimes with a square adapter for the windows that open upwards. But in most cases, a lot of window will be left open.
There are people who choose to make a hole in the glass of the window the size of the tube, to be able to remove it without having to open the window. When they don’t use air, they put an insulating cap.
Another option is to put on an insulating cloth cover. It is a fabric that covers the entire open window except the tube, preventing heat from entering:
It fits all types of windows, and it works quite well. They are also cheap. On Amazon they barely cost $18.
What characteristics should you look for?
How many frigories do I need?
Before buying an air conditioner, you need to know how many refrigerators it should have, depending on the room where you are going to place it.
The frigories per hour measure the capacity of the portable air conditioner to absorb the ambient heat in one hour. The more frigories you have, the faster it cools a room and maintains the temperature more easily, but the air conditioner is more expensive.
The frigories depend on the size of the room, but also if there are glass walls or ceilings, the orientation of the room, the outside temperature, our geographical location, the time of year, the building materials of the house, etc.
It is not easy to calculate them, so the average value is 100 frigories per square meter. This means that if you want to cool a room of 15 square meters, you would have to buy an portable air conditioner with a minimum of 15 x 100 = 1500 frigories. If you live in a very hot area or your house is constantly in the sun, or the building materials are of poor quality, it is advisable to increase the frigories to 110 or 115 per square meter. Since a portable model performs less, the most sensible thing is to use 140 frigories per square meter.
However, some experts recommend cutting the total value in half because technology has improved a lot (newer appliances cool better with fewer frigories), and also to increase energy efficiency. The equipment will cool down slower, but will remain comfortable for longer and consume less.
Be careful because these calculations are for an empty room. If there are people while it cools, add 100 frigories for each adult in the room, and 30 frigories for each child.
If you have calculated 1600 frigories and there are 2 adults and a child in the room, the total will be: 1600 + 100+ 100 + 20 = 1820 frigories hour.
In summary: 100-140 frigories per square meter, a little more if your house is especially hot, 100 more per adult and 30 more per child, and reduce the value by half if you want to improve energy efficiency and save on your electricity bill. the light.
Another method that experts use, more precise, is to multiply the surface of the room by its height, and by 50. If we have a room of 15 square meters with a ceiling height of 2.2 meters, the necessary frigories would be 15 x 2 , 2 x 50 = 1,650 frigories.
They are approximate values. You can buy a 1,300 or 1,400 frigor appliance, or a 1,800 frigory appliance. But if you buy it far below the figure you have calculated, it will take a long time to cool the room, and if it is far above it, it will be expensive, it will consume a lot, and it will cost you to keep the temperature stable, because it is too powerful.
And what’s that about BTUs?
Some brands of air conditioning instead of using refrigerators, use a measure called BTU, or British Thermal Units. The concept is the same: the more BTUs a device has, the more heat it can extract.
To calculate this figure, Samsung recommends this formula: (room length x width x height) / 2.
For example, with a room 6 meters long by 3 meters wide and 2 meters high, it would be: (6x3x2) / 2 = 18. The minimum quantity would be 18,000 BTUs.
Converting from BTUs to frigories is easy, just divide by 4. For example, 12,000 BTUs is roughly 3,000 frigories.
Now is the time to learn some tips to consider when buying a portable air conditioner.
All mobile computers tend to have a similar shape and design, so this is not an important aspect. They weigh a lot, about 25 or 30 kilos, but they have wheels, so they are easy to transport.
We are going to see the different characteristics to consider.
The main external element that differentiates the most expensive and cheapest appliances, is the noise of portable air conditioners that they emit when they cool the room.
The cheapest are usually the loudest, but beware, the same happens with the most powerful. If you are going to use them while there are people in the room doing tasks where noise can disturb (for example studying or working), it is a factor that you should consider.
In the specifications of the devices they indicate the noise they make, measured in decibels (db). The lower this number, the better. 40 or 45 db is usually the minimum. Some go up to 65 db.
We have already seen how to calculate the frigories we need . One last note in this regard: laptops have a slightly more difficult time cooling than stationary ones . So it is convenient to take one a little more power than the frigories that we have calculated, about 20% more.
Like all household appliances, air conditioning devices also have an energy efficiency rating, which you can see on the label displayed on the box, or on the manufacturer’s website:
It is a good idea to buy one with an A or A + rating, which indicates that it offers good performance with moderate consumption.
The label also shows the annual electricity consumption, normally measured in kWh per year. Divide by 12, and you will have the monthly consumption. Check this link to calculate what it represents in the electricity bill:
Air conditioning consumption: how much am I going to pay on my electricity bill this summer?
One or two tubes?
The cheapest equipment uses a single tube – if you are looking for one that is really cool, you will not find portable air without a tube – where they extract the air. This has a problem: before extracting it, they have to absorb it from somewhere, either from a grill or from the air in the room itself.
The more advanced models come with two tubes. One draws air, and the other draws it from outside, rather than from the living room. They are more efficient, but also more expensive.
Also take into account the length of the tube. Logically it should come from where you want to place it, to the window. If you’re going to put it away, measure it, or check the specs.
The outlet of the water
Operating the portable air conditioner causes water to condense. Some models require a water tank to be emptied every so often. Others evaporate it and automatically remove it through the air tube.
What functions can this portable air conditioner equipment have?
Although any cheap equipment offers the basic function of cooling, remote control and programming, it is not the same in all.
It is recommended that it have different operating modes (night, only fan, smart or ultra-fast) to use the one that best suits us at all times.
Check that the programmer is not a simple timer. Ideally, you can program on and off several times a day.
Some extras make the product more expensive, but they can be useful.
Many mobile air conditioners, in addition to cooling, purify the air, and even accept the use of essences with different scents.
Others have a humidifier or dehumidifier, which can be useful depending on the area in which you live. Or a function that controls humidity at the same time as heat, to increase comfort.
The most advanced include a heat pump that allows them to be used as a stove in winter (that is, they also heat the room, in addition to cooling). They are more expensive, but you can use them in winter.
You have already purchased your air equipment. !! Congratulations!! But before running to open the window to place it, you should read these tips for using the air conditioning, because they will allow you to get the most out of it, and save money on the electricity bill.
It is not enough to put the air anywhere in the room, and something else… The place where we put it is important to achieve maximum efficiency.
It should be placed in a place that is not in direct sunlight (if possible), neither to the device nor to the tube.
Also consider the door. Try not to have the air conditioning in front of the exit door, because it will generate a pressure change that will cause hot air to enter from the outside to the inside of the room, even with the door closed, through the slits.
Blow the air so that the exit door is to the side, not the front.
If you want to reduce the noise, don’t put it in a corner, and put a rug underneath.
Tips to save with the portable air conditioner
With responsible consumption and correct use of the system, you can save up to 30% in the cost of air conditioning , without passing heat. Follow these prompts:
- If no one is in the room, turn off the air conditioning, or activate the economy mode
- The ideal temperature varies between 22 and 25 degrees, depending on the person. In summer, in very hot areas, it is not advisable to lower it below 25 degrees, because it is not good for the body that there is much difference from the outside
- The more humidity there is, the more you have to lower the temperature. In equipment with humidity control, it should be kept between 40 and 60% with respect to air
- Every degree you lower the temperature means 8% more in the electricity bill
- It is important that the air conditioning system is clean, especially the filters. If they don’t filter well, you will consume more. Clean the filters at least once a month
- If the air conditioning does not have a thermostat or it is very basic, try installing a more advanced one with programming according to the hours of the day, night mode, etc.
- Setting a temperature lower than what you want will not make the room cool faster, but it will consume more. Always set the correct temperature.
- If you isolate the room from the heat (put awnings, close the blinds and curtains) the air conditioning will work and will spend less
- Do not open doors and windows in the refrigerated room to cool other rooms without air conditioning. You will not get the desired effect and you will spend much more
- When the air is on, close the doors and windows of the room so that it airs better
- In summer, ventilate the house at dawn or at night, in the less hot hours
- Use the electrical appliances that produce heat (the oven, the iron, the computer) in the less hot hours of the day
- If you turn on the air conditioning while using the oven, dishwasher, or microwave and the power never goes out, you may have more power than you need. Reducing it can mean up to 30% savings on the bill.
You already know everything you have to take into account to buy one of these devices.