Air cooling solutions help to create comfortable environments within our homes and living spaces. Some of the cooling solutions commonly used in households include central air conditioning units, portable air conditioners, air coolers and spot coolers.
Although these solutions differ from each other in some aspects like their design, brand and sizes, they do have one thing in common, which is to cool the air in the space where it has been installed.
In this article, we will be introducing you to Spot coolers and it’s functioning.
What are Spot Coolers?
A spot cooler is a self-contained, portable type of air conditioning system, whose parts (the compressor, condenser, evaporator coils, fan systems and vents), are all encased within a single insulated cover made out of plastic or metal.
Spot coolers are generally used for cooling specific areas or sections of a room, through a process which is known as spot cooling. Ideally, the most optimal use of a spot cooler is within spaces where a constant or consistent temperature has to be maintained.
Applications of Spot Coolers
Due to its versatile nature, spot coolers can be easily and quickly set up to create temporary cool environments at:
- Social gatherings.
- Theatre and movie sets, retail outlets, churches, event halls.
- Homes and other spaces, in addition to or when the central air conditioning unit is not working.
- Spaces where installation of other air conditioning units are prohibited.
Spot coolers are also used in spaces where consistent and specific temperatures are to be maintained such as:
- Industrial warehouses.
- Server rooms for IT and data centers.
- Equipment rooms which has heat sensitive equipment or with equipments that require constant cooling as they generate large amount of heat.
How do Spot coolers work?
Spot coolers like most air conditioning systems work on a principle of heat removal and dehumidification. Here’s how:
- Warm air from the surroundings is absorbed by the unit. This is by means of a refrigerant which is present inside the unit. The refrigerant is pressurized at low temperatures by the compressor, resulting in its evaporation. The gaseous refrigerant facilitates the absorption of warm outside air.
- Once warm air is absorbed, the refrigerant in the gaseous state is converted to liquid state, which is then passed through the condensor. The condensor then removes the heat from the refrigerant and releases the heat outside through the vents.
- The sub-cooled refrigerant flows to the evaporator, the flow of which is regulated by means of a metering device. The metering device further reduces the pressure of the refrigerant causing it to start changing its state.
- At the evaporator coils, the refrigerant again changes state from liquid to gaseous state. Here the water content from the air is absorbed, making it more cool.
- This cool air is circulated into the room and the cycle continues.
It should be noted that the circulation of cool air within the room and removal of heat through the outside vents occur simultaneously. The moisture removed from the air is collected in condensation tanks, which is then removed either manually or automatically.
Spot Coolers vs Air Conditioning Systems
While there are similarities between spot coolers and air conditioners, there are quite a few differences too. For instance, the spot cooler has components that are similar to those of an ordinary air conditioner. The process of cooling too is similar – warm air passes over an evaporator where it is cooled and excess water is captured. From the coiled evaporator, cool air is channeled to a spot through a nozzle while the captured water is drained away.
However the differences between the two units are as follows:
- Action: Unlike air conditioners, spot coolers are designed to cool a spot instead of an entire room or apartment. The nozzle of the cooler concentrates air on a specific place.
- Design: The spot cooler integrates its parts – the condenser and evaporator into one container. This design differs from the common central air conditioning unit’s design where the condenser and evaporator are placed separately. The evaporator of a central air conditioning unit is located within the house while the condenser is located outside the house. Refrigerant lines are used to connect the separate sections of the air cooling system.
- Cooling cycle: A spot cooler cools the same air in a continuous cycle until the desired temperature is attained. In comparison, a central air conditioning unit draws cold air from outside and pumps away hot air. Apart from cooling your room, the central air cooling system also ensures that the supplied air is fresh.
Converting the Spot cooler into an AC
Do you have a spot cooler and feel that it is performing poorly than you expected? If your answer is yes, then you should consider converting it into an air conditioner. In case, you are wondering if that is possible, the answer is YES! A spot cooler can be modified to operate as an air conditioner. All you will need is an air duct kit.
Using the air duct kit will enable the condenser to draw air from outside and pump away hot air from inside.
Does this conversion enhance the performance of a cooling solution? Yes, this modification enables the system to cool a room faster than an ordinary spot cooler.
However, if you are satisfied with the performance of your spot cooling system, then there is no need to incur an extra cost by modifying your air cooling system.
Advantages of Spot Coolers
Here are some reasons to convince you to choose spot coolers:
- Fast action: As spot coolers focus on a particular area as opposed to an entire room, the desired temperatures can be achieved quickly.
- Portable: Most units have wheels facilitating its easy transport to any location.
- Easy installation: Spot coolers can be easily installed. All one has to do is plug in, ensure that the venting using a flexible air duct is secured to an outside connection like a ceiling, window or door and that the condensation tanks are in place. If so, the cooler is all set to go.
- Cost effective: Compared to other traditional units, spot coolers are more effective economically. As they use less energy in cooling the area, the units are more energy efficient too.
- Easy maintenance: To maintain the unit, regularly check and clean the filter using water and remove the gathered condensate water from the water tank.
- Eco friendlier: Newer models are made in accordance with “green initiatives” such as using ozone friendly refrigerants.
Spot coolers are therefore a quick, effective, reliable and eco-friendlier type of air cooling solution, suitable for both homes and other spaces.
FYI: The Air Geeks' top-rated portable AC units tested in 2019:|
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)