It’s been hot, you’ve been uncomfortable, and have decided to take the plunge and buy a portable air conditioner. However – how do you know which type to get, to make sure that your requirements are met?
The benefits of a portable air con vs split and/or inverter AC
In a conventional split air conditioner, there is a part known as a compressor, which shuts off once the temperature you have set is reached. When the temperature rises again, the air con kicks in again and the compressor starts running once more. While this is particularly useful in regulating the temperature, this mode of operation can also be awfully expensive to run.
An inverter aircon can be a bit cheaper to run, as it has no need to shut off anything. Instead, the compressor runs constantly, but at a much lower capacity, while the unit releases small but regular bursts of cool air. The theory is that this method conserves energy.
Where does a portable air con fit into the mix?
Portable air conditioners are small, mobile units that can not only cool air, but often claim to purify the air it processes.
Its compact, small design is much smaller than a conventional AC unit and is often designed to serve as a personal space cooler. The more desirable models come pre-fitted with filters that remove dust and particles from the air. Add to this varying fan speeds, adjustable angles and color-changing LED lights, and your selection suddenly looks a lot bigger!
Many models also offer the option to add some form of scent or deodorizer to help freshen the air. These ingenious little units are plug and play – simply plug it in and hit the button – there is seldom any form of setup required.
What is tonnage?
Tonnage has to do with the cooling capacity of an individual unit. Factors that will influence the cooling capacity of any unit, are:
1) The size of the space it needs to cool. If the area is too big for the cooling capacity of the aircon, the effort, energy (and the resultant bills!) will be wasted.
2) Whether or not you will have to contend with direct sunlight in the room, and how that will affect your portable air con’s ability to cool the area.
3) The speed at which you expect the cooling to be done, and what your ideal temperature is.
4) Whether you want to get more use out of the unit by day or night.
Are portable air cons effective?
Many models use a water curtain as an air-purifying mechanism. Air passes through the layers of water, which removes germs, particles and other impurities from the air that passes through it. The fact that the air passes through water also assists with humidifying the air.
Portable air conditioners largely rely on the principle of evaporative cooling in how it manages the heating and cooling of air. This method requires the presence of water in the AC unit to work.