If you have recently moved from a home with central air into an apartment or home without it, you may be wondering how you will keep your living space cool during the summer. Both portable and window air conditioners provide an efficient alternative for cooling your home, but they do come with some drawbacks. Consider the pros and cons of each before you choose one for your apartment or new home.
What is a portable air conditioner?
Just as the name implies, portable air conditioners can be moved from room to room with ease. These units utilize an exhaust hose, similar to the vent hose on your dryer, to carry warm air to the outside.
- Can be used to cool one room or to cool your office. If you typically spend most of your time in one area of your home, a portable air conditioner can be used to keep that area cool. Moving it to a new location, such as into the family room in the evening or into the dining room for meal time and then moving it to the bedroom for sleeping keeps you comfortable without the need to cool the entire house.
- Lightweight and easy to move. These units are typically on wheels, making it possible for nearly anyone to move them from one room to another.
- Easy to install. Portable air conditioners do not require professional installation and are not subject to codes. Because they are not visible to the outside, you don't need to worry about home owner association regulations, either.
- Requires draining. Portable air conditioners have an attached tank that fills with water as the unit removes moisture from the air. This tank must be emptied regularly. Some units have an automatic evaporator, but this means the moisture is put back into the air. If high humidity is an issue in your home, the automatic evaporator may not be the best choice for you.
- Initial costs are higher. Portable air conditioners are more expensive than window air conditioners.
What is a window air conditioner?
Window air conditioners are installed in a window. Side panels prevent hot air from entering around the air conditioning unit. The air conditioner itself extends outside your home with only a sleek front panel and air vents that are nearly flush with the window visible on the inside.
- Can be used to cool more than one room. Window air conditioners come in a variety of sizes. Some units can cool several rooms as long as you provide enough air circulation.
- Permanent location. Once the window air conditioner is installed it remains in the same location and you do not need to move it around during the day. It can be left in place all winter or it can be removed when cold weather arrives and reinstalled the following summer.
- Does not require floor space. If space is a concern, a window air conditioner may be a good choice as it does not take up floor or wall space.
- Automatically drains outside. The window air conditioner automatically drains excess water to the outside and does not require draining or emptying. However, if your unit is installed on a second floor, the drips may pose a nuisance to pedestrians or may rust metal siding or roofing.
- Readily available and are relatively inexpensive. Window air conditioning units can be found in hardware stores, home improvement centers and department stores. Prices vary depending on the model.
- Units are heavy and need support. Installing a window air conditioner may require two people, as the units can be heavy and awkward for one person to maneuver. In addition, it must be braced or supported to prevent it from toppling out the window.
- May be prohibited by housing authorities or home owner organizations. Because the unit is visible on the outside of the home, it may be prohibited for aesthetic reasons.
- Prevents access to the window. When a window air conditioner is installed in a window, you no longer have access to the window.
Run your ceiling fan so that it pushes the air downward during the summer. This will create a breeze and help to circulate the cool air from your air conditioner.
For help maintaining your new air conditioner, contact a company like Getzschman Heating, LLC.