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Portable Air Conditioners

Portable air conditioners, as shown in Figure 1, are a relatively new product to enter the market. Based on the same principles as window air conditioners the compressor and evaporation coils are housed in one unit that is on wheels. These units have exhaust duct(s) that deliver the hot air to the outside and bring fresh air into the unit. The exhaust ducts mount in a frame that sits on a windowsill. These portable air conditioners have cooling capacities that range from 6,000 to 14,000 BTH/h. Almost all of the window air conditioner manufacturers are now offering portable units.

portable air conditioner
Figure 1 - Portable air conditioner

Air Conditioning Sizing Chart:

Portable air conditioner extension cord
Figure 2 - Portable air conditioner extension cord
Commercial portable air conditioner
Figure 3 - Commercial portable air conditioner

Selection of portable air conditioners.

Most portable air conditioners do not require special electrical outlets for their operation. However, it is important to ensure that the electrical circuit that you are planning on plugging the unit into is capable of handling the current requirement. There are some exceptions, with larger units that may require 230VAC.

Check the voltage and total power consumption of the air conditioner, before you buy!

If you have to use an extension cord, as shown in Figure 2, to operate the unit make sure that the wire gauge is correct. Using an underrated extension cord can damage the air conditioner and worse, cause a fire.

Most air conditioners have their capacity rated in British Thermal Units (BTU). Generally speaking, a BTU is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound (0.45 kg) of water 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.56 degrees Celsius). Specifically, 1 BTU equals 1,055 joules. In heating and cooling terms, 1 ton equals 12,000 BTU.

The Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) of an air conditioner is its BTU rating over its wattage. For example, if a 10,000-BTU air conditioner consumes 1,200 watts, its EER is 8.3 (10,000 BTU/1,200 watts).

Portable air conditioners are also available for commercial applications as shown in Figure 3: