Summer is here and although the heat has not yet made an appearance, it will soon arrive ready to raise the temperature of our homes. Air conditioning is a great option to get rid of or minimize its effects, and one of the possibilities on the market is portable equipment that is increasingly present in stores.
Maybe you are considering buying one and if you have never had one of these devices at home, you will surely have doubts about whether they really work well, if they are effective, produce enough cold and above all what are their advantages and disadvantages, aspects that we are going to try to clarify below.
Portable air conditioning systems are equipment that works similar to that of fixed ones, with an integrated compression system this time under their casing. However, unlike these, they do not need installation or at least not so complex, so it is enough to place it near a window and take out a pipe to extract the hot air to the outside (there are more complex models with several pipes).
Therefore, they do not require the visit of a technician and we can operate them ourselves following the manufacturer’s instructions. This lowers its cost since we save its installation. In addition, we can move it if we need it and store it when we do not use it and even change it if we are easy to move pop up camper air conditioning.
It is especially indicated in situations in which we cannot or want to install a conventional one such as when we are for rent, in second homes, when the community of neighbors does not let us place one with an outdoor unit, etc.
In addition, in recent years manufacturers have been incorporating more functionalities and, in the market, we can find models with a heat pump for winter or de-humidification systems that do not need installation either.
Based on my experience with this type of equipment during the last decade (we have had several different brands at home), three are the main disadvantages: they take up considerable space, energy efficiency is reduced compared to a fixed model and they are very noisy.
Starting with the question of space, it is evident that we have to reserve a space in the room to place the air system. Despite the fact that modern equipment is very compact, the fact of having to take the tube outside at the end forces us to put it near a window and in positions that are not always the most suitable to go unnoticed.
The second problem is that of energy efficiency. The tube expels the hot air to the outside but also radiates part of that heat inside the room as it is generally a plastic tube without any type of insulation. In addition, although some adapter usually comes to cover the space of the window that is left over, there are always holes through which the cold escapes and the air from the outside enters so we will need more fridges than normal. For example, if with conventional air we need 2,000 or 2,500 fridges to cool a room, with a portable one this number will probably increase to more than 3,000 given its inefficiencies.
Finally, we have the noise aspect. It does not matter the figures indicated by the manufacturer in the advertisement. Portable air conditioners are usually very noisy. Normally we find values between 45 and 60 dB much higher than the 24-25 recommended for sleeping with the device turned on at night.
Is it annoying? Well, it depends on whether you can put it a few meters away or if you have to be sitting next to it. During the day you can get used to the ambient sound, the TV, the street noise, etc. but if you want to use it at night and you’re a light sleeper you should probably turn it off.