Request for portable air conditioner recommendations.

Jeff7

Lifer
Jan 4, 2001
41,599
19
81
I'm considering getting a portable AC for my apartment, but various models seem to have good and bad things, and of course some are cheap junk.
And I want a genuine AC, not a "swamp cooler".
10,000 BTU seems to be about what I need, and I've only got 120VAC outlets. (One of them is a dedicated circuit for this sort of thing.)

What are the options with respect to disposal of the condensed water? Some that I looked at online said they vented it out with the hot air, but that the emergency condensate tray was extremely small, and that "emergency" was a misnomer, as it would frequently fill up and shut down the unit. Or another one had reviews which said that the water pan needed to be emptied every 2-3 hours. I'd of course like something reasonably quiet, and which also doesn't have such a cheap build that every component rattles constantly.

Stores in range that I can think of: Home Depot, Lowes, Sears, Kmart, Walmart, and likely others.

Thank you. :)
 
Last edited:

Jeff7

Lifer
Jan 4, 2001
41,599
19
81
Hm...now I'm reading stuff which says that you'd need about 2x the cooling capacity in a portable unit as you would in a window unit, due in large part to all the hardware being indoors. Is there anything to that? If so, I'll probably just have to slog through the reinstallation process with the darn window unit again.

The window rather sucks to disassemble; I've not yet found the "knack" for removing the spring-loaded things in the window sash. I've still got a small scar on my thumb from when one of them unexpected got loose. There's a lot of goddamn force in those little springs.

The other reason I'd have preferred a portable unit was to keep the window mostly closed, to keep out noise from people who like insanely loud motorcycles, and who need to routinely submit to their ancient urges to be dicks and make a lot of noise. And in summer, there are a lot of very loud motorcycles out here. I'm also limited as to where I can install a window AC. Specifically, I have one window downstairs that I can use. All the others are either too small, or else they are hinged at the top, or else are sliding. (It's an old building; most of the windows are still single-pane.)
 

WaTaGuMp

Lifer
May 10, 2001
21,207
2,506
126
I have both a portable and a window in 2 different rooms, the window does a FAR better job. The portable mainly comes down to blowing cooler air at me where as the window one cools the room.
 

MotF Bane

No Lifer
Dec 22, 2006
60,865
10
0
Sorry to disappoint, but really, go with a window one. It's just so much better.

They make types, usually larger ones, that have a frame cage you install first, it weighs no more than ten pounds, then you slide the main unit into it. Makes installation a lot easier when you aren't balancing a monster weight.
 

eldorado99

Lifer
Feb 16, 2004
36,316
3,163
126
The window units are certainly far better, however I have a portable unit which blows vapour out the window duct and works well for my purposes, but I only need AC for about 3-4 weeks per year; it is pretty humid where I live however. I guess like anything, YMMV.
 

Jeff7

Lifer
Jan 4, 2001
41,599
19
81
Sorry to disappoint, but really, go with a window one. It's just so much better.

They make types, usually larger ones, that have a frame cage you install first, it weighs no more than ten pounds, then you slide the main unit into it. Makes installation a lot easier when you aren't balancing a monster weight.
That's the type I've got. The trouble is really with the window itself. Half of it needs to be removed entirely, because it doesn't open far enough. (By only about 1/4" too.o_O)
Not only does the one half need to be removed, but the little lift spring things need to be removed as well, as they're in the way of a cross-brace I need to install - removing the half of the window makes the opening too wide, so I need to brace the gap with a piece of wood.
But those little lift spring things are seriously a pain in the ass to get out, unless you've done it 50 times before and know exactly what to do.
It's one of those great things where you need to remove a plastic cover, but in order to remove the cover you need to remove a screw - and of course, the screw is underneath the cover.

(Incidentally, I should probably buy some more of them. The previous ones got kind of maimed in my previous attempt to remove and then reinstall them. I don't even know what the proper name for them is though.
Edit: Ok, looks like it's called a "balance shoe." The balance shoe, and the thing it attaches to, both need to either be removed, or else just loosened and slid away.)
 
Last edited:

wirednuts

Diamond Member
Jan 26, 2007
7,121
4
0
i dont think dual hose is that much better then single. depends on application. problem with dual hose is the exahust and intake are usually right next to eachother- outside where its hot. so the air used to cool the condenser is very warm to begin with and fights itself. they work best when you put one hose in one window, and the other hose in a different window on the other side of the room. thats cluttery though.

with single hose you have to have a leaky house because the unit uses the rooms air to cool the condensor then thats exhausted to outside. this makes the condenser work a lot better, but youre also sucking in warm air through the cracks in your house. one thing to note is that its not hard to add a 2nd hose to a 1 hose unit. just duct in an intake hose from the outside, and fasten the end of the duct over the intake grill on the back of the unit.

thats why window units work so well. all the components are outside so you dont get residual heating, and the air cooling the condenser is better separated from its exhaust.

TIP- when using portable a/c, wrap the hoses in fiberglass or other non flammable insulation. the exhaust hoses carry a massive amount of HOT heat, and they will heat a room almost as good as the unit cools.
 
Last edited:

shortylickens

No Lifer
Jul 15, 2003
82,854
17,365
136
Portable AC's are usually very power inefficient compared to fixed ones.
You will end up spending more on electricity over the summer.
 

Jeff7

Lifer
Jan 4, 2001
41,599
19
81
Ok...well, this wasn't quite the kind of recommendation I was looking for, but I guess it's also better to not waste money on something that's got numerous inherent problems. :)

Thank you for the input! :)

Guess it's time to do epic battle with the window again.
 
Last edited:

wirednuts

Diamond Member
Jan 26, 2007
7,121
4
0
Professionals Advice : Dont bother, they suck

<-- Hvac technician


theyre not useless though. like i said if you wrap the hoses in insulation you greatly increase the efficiency of the unit. i had one cooling down 1000k growroom before, it kept the room at 70deg all the time, even when it was 110 outside.
 

Vette73

Lifer
Jul 5, 2000
21,503
8
0
Yea as said the portable ones are not that good.

Get a window unit or if staying there a while get a mini-split system. I'm putting a mini-split system in my shop.

Portable < Window < Mini-split
 

Hacp

Lifer
Jun 8, 2005
13,923
2
81
Maybe you want a two stage evaporative cooler. They condense the water in the air during the first stage(using refrigeration), then rely on the cooling provided by evaporation in the 2nd stage.
 

Jeff7

Lifer
Jan 4, 2001
41,599
19
81
Yea as said the portable ones are not that good.

Get a window unit or if staying there a while get a mini-split system. I'm putting a mini-split system in my shop.

Portable < Window < Mini-split
I'd never heard of a mini-split system until now. They look really nifty. :) But I don't know if I'll live here long enough for it to be worth getting. It depends on how frustrated I get with my job. ;) (Ever have a job where you try to do your best to make devices or products that are efficient, optimized, and robust, and repeatedly get told to stop doing that? Especially for someone who enjoys elegant, efficient, and optimal designs, that gets terribly frustrating.)



Maybe you want a two stage evaporative cooler. They condense the water in the air during the first stage(using refrigeration), then rely on the cooling provided by evaporation in the 2nd stage.
That's the "swamp cooler" thing though, isn't it?
I like air so dry that you wouldn't need a clothes dryer - the air would suck the moisture out of the clothing in the time it takes to be folded. :biggrin:
 
Last edited: