How Does a Portable Air Conditioner Work?

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What is a Portable Air Conditioner?

Unlike window air conditioning units that must be installed in a window frame, portable air conditioners are placed on the floor and can be easily moved from room to room. Portable air conditioners are a good choice for temporary building use, in buildings that do not have a window opening, or in buildings where the air conditioner will need to be moved from room to room.

How Does a Portable Air Conditioner Work?

Portable air conditioners have a clever design that allows them to be used without installation. Air conditioners need to intake fresh air and expel hot air outdoors. Air conditioners expel the hot air outdoors to prevent the hot air from entering back into the building. Window air conditioning units must be installed in a window so that the back of the unit is outdoors. The outdoor part of the unit brings in fresh air and pushes out hot air. Central air conditioning units operate in a similar manner as window units. They are installed outdoors to allow cool air intake and hot air out take. Portable air conditioners avoid the issue of installation to allow for air exposure, by using a tube. One end of the tube connects to the unit and the other end is placed through a window, a mail slot, or other opening. When the unit is moved, the tube is moved with it. The portable air conditioner and the tube are both light in weight.

Operating a Portable Air Conditioner

To operation of a portable air conditioner is not complicated. The unit is plugged in, one hose is connected to the unit and the other end is led to the outdoors, and the unit is turned on. The only special care required is an emptying of the reservoir. All air conditioners get a condensation build-up. This is usually not an issue because window and central air conditioners are installed either partly or fully outdoors. Window and central air conditioning units allow the condensation to drip out of the unit. Since a portable air conditioner is kept indoors, the unit holds the condensation in a reservoir. The reservoir must be emptied on a regular basis. Most models automatically shut off if the reservoir becomes full to prevent leakage.

Energy Consumption

The energy consumption of a portable air conditioner depends on the model. Portable air conditioners come in various sizes. Different sizes are suitable for different spaces. Some only will only one room, others can cool a whole building. The portable air conditioner specifications on the package lists how many square feet the unit cools. The use of a portable air conditioner over a central unit can save energy. A small energy efficient portable unit can be used in a room with a closed door. The closed door keeps the cool air in the room. A central unit uses enough energy to cool the whole building. When only one room needs to be cooled, a small portable unit is the smart energy saving choice.


Rose Kivi

Rose Kivi has been a writer for more than 10 years. She has a background in the nursing field, wildlife rehabilitation and habitat conservation. Kivi has authored educational textbooks, patient health care pamphlets, animal husbandry guides, outdoor survival manuals and was a contributing writer for two books in the Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Series.