Are Portable AC Units a Lot of Hot Air?

On paper, portable air conditioners seem like a great alternative to a central AC or ductless AC system in the Lower Mainland, but they aren’t always an ideal solution to your air cooling needs. As more and more people look to install air con in their homes, a portable unit looks like an instant and easy-to-install option – they give you flexibility with where you want to place the unit and they’re ready to use right out of the box.

Intended for homes in which you might be prevented from installing a major system or in which you feel that you need an instant air conditioning fix, the issue is that they are almost always noisier, more unsightly, and use extra energy than a central or ductless AC system. So, are they worth purchasing for the Vancouver region, or are they simply a lot of hot air?

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Portable air conditioners are really noisy and a little ugly

With a portable AC, you basically have all the working components sitting inside the room that you’re attempting to cool down. This means that the unit can be much noisier than other systems and can drone away in the background. This noise comes from the compressor where the AC motor is constantly running to compress refrigerants in the unit. With other systems, the compressor will be outdoors or tucked away out of sight and hard to hear. With a portable unit, the noise will be quite loud and can soon become uncomfortable to listen to.

It’s also worth pointing out that portable AC systems look a little out of place sat in your main room like a fridge on wheels, while the tubes that run from the portable unit across the floor and into your window are bulky and unappealing. On the other hand, a central or ductless system works quietly in the background and is completely out of sight and out of mind. 

Portable air conditioners are cheap but generally inefficient

While a portable unit costs less than a central or ductless system for your home, the trade-off is that the efficiency just isn’t there. A portable unit will use conditioned air from the room that it’s positioned in to cool its mechanicals. This, in turn, will create negative pressure that can cause warm air from other rooms to flow into the room that you’re trying to cool – in effect, they are heating, not cooling, the room.

Also, a smaller, portable unit may not suit the size of the room that you intend to cool. They are limited to only cooling a small area, so if you plan to cool the whole home, then you’ll need many portable units and the cost will quickly add up. An undersized air conditioner will also run all of the time, which can also quickly become expensive, yet without the desired end result, whereas a central or ductless AC system can do the job within a few minutes.

Portable air conditioners have other issues too

For one thing, installing a portable AC unit won’t add any value to your home, whereas a new ductless or central AC system can directly impact the sale price of your property. It’s also debatable just how portable these units are, as once the hose is connected to the kit in the window in order to vent the warm air outside, you will not really want to move the unit. They can also be difficult to move around on carpets even though they have wheels. Finally, a portable AC unit can also be prone to breakdowns and when they do break, they are often unserviceable.

It’s not hard to see that while a portable AC unit can seem like a fast and cheap investment, it will actually end up being a poor choice when it comes to cooling your home. A central or ductless AC system may cost you more upfront and may require more initial effort to install; however, it simply works better and can provide greater comfort around your home over the longer-term.

Talk to us about the advantages of professionally installing an AC system that will serve you for many years to come.

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