Portable Air Conditioners: No Substitute for the Real Deal

Portable? Yes. Powerful? Maybe. Permanent. No.
Let’s get something out of the way now: Portable air conditioners are not the same as portable air coolers. We may cover the differences at another time. But for now, let’s focus just on portable ACs.
There’s a lot of buzz out there about portable air conditioners. And you’ve probably heard about them by now. Portable Air Conditioners (PACs), also known as spot coolers, are becoming increasingly popular due to their perceived ease of use, convenience and energy efficiency. But portable air conditioning units are not meant to replace central air conditioning or an entire home’s cooling system. PACs have some documented drawbacks such as difficult water management and poor cooling range.
For Temporary Use
Before we get into the positives and negatives about portable air conditioners, we need to mention something. The ace HVAC technicians at Super Heat & Air use PACs as a TEMPORARY means to keep customers happy in the heat while their ACs are getting fixed or replaced. In other words, they bring them along to keep customers cool until their ACs are fixed.
Our technicians either have portable AC units readily available for our customers to use, or go out of their way to get them as a temporary solution. The techs at Super Heat & Air use portable air conditioners to provide a better customer service experience. Portable ACs allow customers to have a working cooling system until their new systems are installed. However, portable ACs are also called spot coolers for a reason: they’re only meant for cooling a particular spot, not an entire home!
Now that we got that out of the way, the following are some of the positives and negatives of portable air conditioning units:
Small: cheap. Makes sense? Portable air conditioners are generally more affordable than any conventional air conditioning system, including window units. This makes them desirable to budget-conscious consumers. PACs are smaller and therefore end up costing less than your traditional window unit or central air conditioning system.
Easy to Install
You can do it yourself. We’re not going to lie: you can install a portable AC unit without our help! You don’t need one of our technicians to do it for you. All you have to do is find an exit for the exhaust hose, plug it in and you’re good to go. However, we will reiterate that portable AC units are by no means a suitable substitute for a central air conditioning system. We will say that a portable unit may suffice for a single room, a small studio apartment or a camper/RV, but never for cooling an entire house!
Portability & Convenience
Carry on, carry on! Obviously you know that one of the benefits is that they’re portable (hence the name). But most PACs are lightweight and come with wheels, which makes it easy to roll them from room to room. Think of a portable AC unit as the carry-on luggage of air conditioners. If you’re a road warrior and travel a lot, a portable AC unit is a handy appliance to bring along. And if you live in a home with a pesky Home Owners Association that doesn’t allow the use of window unit ACs, a portable air conditioner is a great alternative. It can be kept concealed inside, away from the prying eyes of the HOA from H-E-L-L! But again, a portable AC should never be your primary cooling system.
Energy Efficiency
Big savings for small spaces. Because they are smaller than window units and central air conditioners, and only designed to cool small spaces, portable air conditioners are naturally energy efficient. That is, of course,  for cooling a small space. If the portable AC is being used to cool a larger space it wasn’t designed to handle, it will have to work harder and thus consume more energy.
Bonus features. Portable ACs are beneficial for cooling small spaces while also dehumidifying the air. Some PACs have settings for dehumidifying only. This is good for removing moisture from the air and reducing allergens even if you’re not using it for cooling purposes. Some high-end PACs also have additional features that may serve as an air conditioner, a heater, a dehumidifier, an air purifier, or a fan for year-round convenience.

Cozy but Noisy
Loud little buggers! Will a portable air conditioner keep your room cool? Perhaps, but PACs are known to be quite noisy too. So if you’re looking for a cozy night’s sleep or some quiet time for studying or reading, a portable AC may not be the best option for you.
Watery Mess
Blame it on the drain! Some PACs drain water into a tank. And you will have to empty the tank on a regular basis, possibly every few hours. If the portable air conditioner you choose has an attachable venting hose, you will need to find an opening for that hose to evacuate the water outdoors. Bummer.
Carpet Catastrophes
Speaking of a watery mess. Portable ACs may be bad for your precious carpet if they leak. Mobility might also be an issue with heavier PACs on carpeted flooring. Rolling a portable AC from room to room on a carpeted surface might be a pain. And if you cherish your carpet, keep an eye out for any leaks from the unit or any dirt on the wheels when rolling it from one place to another.
Cooling Inefficiency
Repetitive? Perhaps. But as we mentioned several times before, portable air conditioners are not meant to cool large spaces. They are also not a suitable replacement for an entire home’s air conditioning system. So if you’re getting a portable AC for all your cooling needs, you might be in for a major disappointment!
And speaking of all your cooling needs (you know what’s coming), call Super Heat & Air 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for … well … all your cooling needs!
We keep portable AC units like the one pictured below handy in case you need one while we’re installing your brand-new, energy-efficient, state-of-the-art, cost-effective, up-to-code, major-butt-kicking, heat-beating, standard-exceeding (insert another hyphenated adjective here) air conditioning unit!
Our final word on portable ACs (once again) is that they’re a great temporary solution, but never use them as a substitute for an entire cooling system.

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