The dog days of summer are bad enough. But when the humidity hits, the
days (and nights) are a misery. If your home hasn’t been blessed with
central air conditioning, you’re probably examining your alternatives right now. Allow us
to show you your options.
Some Things to Know about Air Conditioners
Air conditioners work basically like refrigerators; they pull hot air into
a chamber to be chilled against coils full of refrigerant. The coils absorb
the heat, and the moisture in the air condenses and drips into a catchment
tray below. Then the cooled air is pushed back into the room. In this
way, the air conditioner both filters and dries the air, resulting in improved
air quality as well as condition.
Air conditioners are built to specific qualifications to match specific
sizes of rooms. If you put an AC unit into a room that is not the right
match for it, it will either work too hard, shortening the life of the
unit, or it will work too little, cooling the room haphazardly and wasting
a lot of electricity.
Finally, all ACs have an Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) listed on the yellow
EnergyStar tag. It ranges between 8-11.5, with higher being better. The
more energy-efficient the unit, the more it costs, but the more money
it saves you over time.
Portable ACs vs. Window Units
Both options have their pros and cons.
Portable AC Pros:
- Don’t need to be lifted into a window
- Don’t require a tight seal to be efficient at cooling
- Sun exposure is not an issue
Portable AC Cons:
- Heavy, and not easy to move
- Ease of drainage may be an issue
- Takes up floor space
- Needs to be near a window to exhaust hot air
- May be less efficient than a comparable window unit
Window Unit Pros:
- Easy to install and then remove for the winter
- Affordable — getting one for each bedroom is not unfeasible
Window Unit Cons:
- Unit has to be measured to fit a specific window because a tight fit is
crucial for efficient cooling
- Efficiency is reduced in sunny spot
- Blocks the view from the window
As you can see, the balance is not tilted strongly in favor of either option.
It just depends on your needs and preferences. If you just want to cool
your bedroom at night, a window unit would suffice, but if you want a
whole living area cooled, you might upgrade to a portable unit.
Hopefully this article has helped you make a better decision about your
air conditioner needs.