Nowadays, portable air conditioners are almost indispensable, especially in hot weather. Some models called “ Reversible monobloc air conditioners ” can even generate heat in winter.
It is true that these devices are very useful, but the question that intrigues those wanting to purchase this type of air conditioner is how they work. So now we’ll fill you in the workings of portable air conditioners so that you know a little more. How do portable air conditioners work?
Portable air conditioners: an intelligent system at work
Every basic portable air conditioner is equipped with a refrigeration system, coolant, reservoir and a ventilation or exhaust hose. Depending on the model, the features of the air conditioner can differ.
However, at a glance, the general working principle of portable air conditioners is through exchange– draw in hot air, process or cool the air and then evacuate or dispel it through an exhaust duct.
Hot air processing: The unit pulls in hot air from the room and condenses and releases it as cool air into the room. Condensation occurs by means of refrigerant which is circulated in cooling pipes. The heat generated by the process is then transferred outside the room through a vent or window kit. This kit is attached to the window, wall or ceiling.
Moisture removal: Portable air conditioners also work as dehumidifiers, drawing out moisture while cooling the air. The moisture is collected in a reservoir, which is then removed by several ways. These include:
- Manual removal: All basic models require you to remove the water from the reservoir every 8 hours.
- Gravity drain and condensate pump: Some models have a drain pipe and a condensate pump attached to it. The advantage of this feature is that, it drains the water out through a floor drain or drains it to another location.
- Self-evaporation technology: Recent portable air conditioner units are equipped with a self-evaporative technology in which the unit evaporates the moisture as it is pumped out through the exhaust pipe.
Reversible models work the same way, however, in winter, they treat cold air, which is warmed and diffused throughout the room.
The different types of air conditioners
There are many types of Portable air conditioners commercially available, such as:
- Single hose units: These units draw in, cools and send out the air using a single hose. But in doing so, it creates a negative pressure within the room causing hot air from outside to rush in, through any cracks. These units are more effective in smaller areas.
- Dual hose units: As the name suggests, these systems have dual hoses- one to draw in, cool and circulate the cool air inside; and second hose to transfer the hot air outside. As there are separate hoses for the functioning, the issue of negative pressure can be avoided using dual hose units. Another advantage of dual hose systems, is that they are more effective in larger areas and do not require to work more as compared to single hose systems.
- Portable reverse cycle air conditioners: With a flick of a switch these units can warm the air inside during winter. Instead of cooling the air drawn in, the unit absorbs hot air from outside to warm the air inside.
- Windowless portable air conditioners: These units are inconspicuous and need not be placed on windowsills. They can be connected to the window through a single hose system. They are easy to install and can remove odors from the room. On the downside, windowless portable air conditioner may take a while to cool the room and is not considered highly effective in really hot weather. These units are more effective when combined with a central air conditioning unit.
- Ventless portable air conditioners: These units have a tank or reservoir which is filled with water. The moisture collected during the cooking process is also channeled to this reservoir. This water is then made to evaporate, bringing down the temperature of the room.
Tips to improve efficiency
You can use the following tips to help improve the efficiency of the unit:
- Placement: place the unit correctly for optimal cooling of the environment. This should be based on the area and capacity of the unit.
- Avoid sources of humidity: Keep all doors and windows closed when the units are on, to reduce the sources of external humidity.
- Cleaning regularly: Cleaning the unit regularly keeps it’s filter free from dust and other particles.
- Vent correctly: Vent the unit correctly fly to ensure it’s proper working.
Portable Air Conditioners vs other types
When comparing portable air conditioners with other designs, there are three top reasons for choosing a portable air conditioner.
- Easy Installation: Contrary to popular belief, it is very easy to install mobile air conditioners . Indeed, this can be done by almost anyone and does not require the presence of a professional. Simply connect the unit to the wall outlet, set it to the temperature you require and it’s ready to go.
- Increased mobility: If you want the cooling unit to circulate cool air in other rooms in your home, you can simply switch it off and wheel it into another room. Once you have reached the right location, plug it in again and set it to run.
- Easy upkeep: Unlike large wall air conditioners, it is very easy to service portable air conditioners . In fact, they just need to be cleaned regularly with a natural-fiber cloth. The filter should be removed and washed every two weeks, and the whole unit thoroughly cleaned once a year.
It’s entirely possible, and recommended, to clean the unit yourself, and it won’t take you more than five minutes. Maintenance of this type of device is nice and easy to do.
In terms of deep cleaning and maintenance, all you need to do is check that the cooling system is working well .
Wrapping up : how do portable air conditioners work?
Now you know how these devices can keep you cool in summer and bring some warmth in winter. To make the right choice, you need to think carefully about some of the details . However, we assure you, it is not difficult to check the criteria in question.
FYI: The Air Geeks' top-rated portable AC units tested in 2022:|
1. Black+Decker – BPACT14WT: the all-around best option (very large rooms)
2. Whynter - Elite Arc 122DS: the best value (large rooms)
3. Honeywell - MN10CSWW: superior unit, great price (avg. rooms)
4. Honeywell – MO08CESWK: a very good entry-level option (small rooms)