Nowadays, there is an increasing demand for portable air conditioners due to its compact size and mobility. Portable air conditioners are primarily available in two designs- the single hose and dual hose systems.
Before choosing a system it is important to have a clear understanding of its features, benefits and mechanism. To help you make a well-informed choice, here is a comparison of the two designs along with the pros and cons of each individual design.
But first, let’s zoom in and take a closer look at the main component of both the units, which is the hose.
Function of the hose
In every portable air conditioner, air is drawn in from one vent, cooled and released into the room through the front. The heat generated by the system is released through another vent or hose, found at the back of the unit.
The hose must be connected to a window or wall, basically any opening connected to the outside, so that heat can be released out. It should be understood that the removal of the heat generated by the unit is crucial to the cooling process.
Single vs Double hose portable air conditioner
Here is a detailed comparison of the two units:
Number of hose: As the name suggests, the primary different between both units is that:
- Single hose system has a single hose to exhaust the air outside.
- Dual hose system has two hoses that regulate and set the right temperature in your spaces.
Dual hose system
Working mechanism: Like with all other air conditioning units, both these designs are equipped with a compressor to extract the heat from the room. The heat generated by the system is released through the exhaust hose or pipe. Now, for a closer look at how each design works:
- Single hose system: In this system, as the hot air generated by the compressor is pumped through the exhaust to the outside, a negative air pressure is created. This is attributed to the fact that the single hose system draws in cooled air from the room, to cool the system. Besides causing a wastage of already-cooled air, the loss of air creates a negative pressure in the room. As a result, following the principle of heat transfer, warm air from outside flows into the room through openings and cracks found in the walls and doors.
- Dual hose systems: This system is able to bypass the issue of negative pressure through its hoses. That is, when one hose exhausts the hot air outside, the secondary hose simultaneously draws in cool air from the outside, preventing the creation of negative pressure within the room.
Working efficiency: The principle of negative pressure affects the working efficiency of the unit. In case of:
- Single hose systems: The negative pressure adversely affects the unit and forces it to work harder to lower the temperature of the room. This reduces its overall efficiency and the unit takes longer to cool the room.
- Dual hose system: Since there is no issue of negative pressure, the efficiency of the unit is increased and the unit can cool the room much faster.
Thus if you are looking for a unit that delivers the best cooling efficiency, then you should consider a dual hose portable air conditioner.
- Single hose systems, despite having a lower efficiency, consume less energy and power.
- Dual hose systems consume more power as it has two internal fans within it.
Single hose systems are therefore a suitable choice for people who want to avoid a drastic increase in their electricity bills.
Cost: A dual hose system costs more than a single hose system. So, if you are working on a lean budget, the single exhaust system is more pocket-friendly.
Room size: The high efficiency of dual hose system makes it more suitable for cooling large rooms. As compared to their single hose counterparts, these air cooling solutions are faster and offer better cooling performance. Single hose systems are more suitable for cooling smaller spaces.
Noise: Unlike window air conditioners, the entire unit of the portable air conditioner is set within the hall. This means, we are quite aware of every whiz and hum of the unit (when turning on and off, and ongoing sound) The average sound level of portable units are around 53 decibels. However, this level depends on the fan speed. Dual hose cooling systems are therefore noisier than single hose systems of same capacity, as it has two internal fans.
For a quick recap of the comparisons, take a look at the table below or go through the video:
|Single Hose System||Cost effective.|
Less power consuming.
|Due to negative pressure warm air seeps into the room.
Circulation of same air within the room.
|Dual Hose System||More efficient as it overcomes the problem of negative pressure.|
|More power consuming as it has two internal fans.
Souce: Compact Appliance
Installed unit Source: Compactappliance.com
Installing a portable air cooling system, be it single or dual system is quite simple. A venting kit will be provided with both units and this has to be installed. Once the location for the unit has been decided, attach the unit to the exhaust connector and the connector to the exhaust hose. Measure the width of your window and cut the plastic provided in the venting kit to the correct measurement. Place it on the window and close the sash so that it fits securely. Connect the end of the exhaust hose to the plastic window adaptor (provided in the kit) and attach the adaptor to the plastic piece. Use duct tapes to secure both ends of the exhaust hose and your venting is now in place.
Maintenance of units
Portable units must also be regularly maintained to ensure effective functioning. These include:
- Drain the collected condensed water manually or use a condensate pump to drain the water away. Newer models are available with an auto-evaporative technology to drain the water.
- Clean the filters on a bi-weekly or monthly basis. If washable, wash and rinse the filter thoroughly in warm water and using mild detergents. Remember to dry them completely before replacing in the unit. Some units have a carbon filter, these should be handled as per the instructions on the unit.
- Clean the exteriors using a soft, damp cloth, when it is powered off. Keep the unit away from sunlight to avoid damage to the color of the unit.
There is no proper evidence proving that one type of system is better than the other. It is better to match the type of system to your preferences. If you are more interested in performance, the dual hose portable air conditioner is the better choice. However, if you are looking for a cooling system for your small room and your budget is limited, then the single hose design is a suitable option for you.
FYI: The Air Geeks' top-rated portable AC units tested in 2020:|
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)