We’ve mentioned a few times in our previous articles the importance of preparation and understanding your rooms needs before spending your money on a portable air conditioner. We have spent a lot of time breaking down what a portable AC is and how it works, but we haven’t really covered a good explanation on what to do and what to expect upon receiving your machine.
Below is a short list of things to do in your home that will make you better prepared and help you avoid any surprises later on down the road.
1.) Before going online and doing any research I strongly suggest measuring the size of your room. Use a measuring tape or anything that will help you determine the total square foot area that you need to cool. Once you’ve established how many square feet your room is, you can then start looking around for a unit that will adequately cool it’s size. Before you do that though, I would strongly suggest asking yourself the following questions.
– Does my room have a kitchen (oven/stove), and will I be cooking regularly?
– Does my room have a computer or any other additional electronics that give off excessive heat consistently?
– Do I have a big window in my room? Or does my room get direct sunlight at peak times during the day?
– Am I cooling just a single bedroom? Or am I cooling a family room type of area with more than one person?
The reason for these questions is to determine whether or not you need to purchase a unit with more BTU power on not. Take a look at the BTU section of our previous article on what to look for when buying the best portable air conditioner. That should give you a good idea of why it’s important.
2.) Research. Now that you know how many BTUs you need, it’s time to determine whether to get a single hose or a dual hose. See our previous article, Single Hose vs Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioners. Which is best for you?, to get a better idea of the benefits of each.
3.) Now it’s finally time to head out to the store or go online and find out which cooling system will not only meet your rooms space requirement, but also cool it effectively.
One thing you should keep in mind however, is that not all windows are made the same. With that said we must understand that not every window kit is going to fit correctly right out of the box. In some cases you may need to extend or even cut your window kit down to size to properly fit your window.
On that same note, you should also consider the length of your hose(s). Most machines have a fairly average length hose, while others are unfortunately short. You can buy an extension later, but it’s always good to know in advance before you buy.
One topic I can’t forget is drainage. These days, most if not all portable AC’s come with some type of auto evaporative system for getting rid of excess condensation. Some units drain to a bucket, while some auto evaporate and drain the excess into a similar bucket as a safety. There are also some units that allow you to continuously drain into a larger external bucket or even through a hole leading outside. The upside to that is you don’t have to worry as often about emptying any drainage from the machine itself and you lessen the risk of causing any leaks on your floor.
Lastly, find out how many functions your machine is capable of. Most people are fine with just the AC function. Although, many people look to portable air conditioners for their multi-functional benefits. If you look carefully you may be able to find a machine that works as an AC, a fan, a dehumidifier and a heater for the same price or less than a machine with just an AC.
4.) Measure again! You’re probably wondering what else you need to measure? Some AC manuals don’t even state this but it’s recommended to leave at least one to 2 ft ( in some cases 5 ft.) of space around your entire unit for proper and efficient ventilation. If you fail to leave enough room around your unit, you may cause it to overwork and not cool properly at all.
I know we’ve given you a lot of this information before, although we’ve never broken it down in a sequential fashion that made sense to the first-time buyer. We hope this gives you a better idea on how to prepare yourself, so you can spend less time reading and more time enjoying your portable AC when it arrives.
Click here to read our article Question Sessions #4: Answering the Top Questions About Portable Air Conditioners
Or click here to read our review of the Whynter ARC-143MX 14,000 BTU Dual Hose