Aesthetically Pleasing Venting Options for Portable AC

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Old 07-08-14, 12:02 AM
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Aesthetically Pleasing Venting Options for Portable AC

I'm considering adding a split AC to my home, but was soft quoted $6K-$8K over the phone for a 2-zone system. That's a couple thousand more than what I had hoped to spend.

So, much to my chagrin, I think I need to consider a portable AC. First room to tackle is the master bedroom - 200 sq ft with a big 70"W x 60"H window that opens right to left. Most of the venting options I've seen are for much smaller, up/down windows.

Any thoughts on what I do to make this fit in a somewhat aesthetically pleasing way? And besides venting through the window, are they any other venting options or kits that I should check out?
 
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Old 07-08-14, 12:20 AM
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Maybe a mini-split would be a better option? Or was that what you meant in the first sentence?

Portable A/Cs are very inefficient and ugly, as well as taking up a lot of room. I think I'd consider a window unit before a portable. There's always a way to block off the un-needed section of the window.

I thought very few people had A/C in WA state?
 
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Old 07-08-14, 01:10 AM
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I thought very few people had A/C in WA state?
Depends upon which side of the state. Eastern Washington is much more like the midwest and regularly has temperatures in the nineties and above. Western Washington, while generally more moderate, also has ninety degree temperatures on occasion. As I write this (just past midnight) I have the window A/C running, albeit more for humidity control.

Portable A/C units are not inherently less efficient than window units but they DO require that the outside air ducts be insulated or their effectiveness is lessened by the heat radiated from the ducts. Also, you really need to use a two-duct model or else you are exhausting a large amount of conditioned air which will be replaced by outside non-conditioned air through leaks in the house's envelope. The duct adapter can be mounted in a sliding window vertically and when doing so the hot exhaust duct should be the higher one.

But I agree with Gunguy that a standard window unit can usually be fitted to a sliding window without too much trouble by making a panel to fit between the top of the unit to the top of the window opening. That is what I have done and I added foam board insulation between the inside and outside panels.
 
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Old 07-08-14, 03:10 PM
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Helpful info, thanks. Yeah, very few people in western WA have AC, but seeing as I've spent countless nights sweating in my bed, it would be a solid investment.

How do you feel about those wall units that are basically a window unit, but installed in the wall?
 
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Old 07-08-14, 03:52 PM
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Probably a fairly small percentage of people in western Washington have central A/C but most of the people I know in the Puget Sound area have one or more window units.

Through-the-wall units have all the downsides of a window unit along with requiring a hole in the wall. The one thing in their favor is that they don't obstruct a view or block an egress point. They are generally higher in cost for the unit itself and when it comes time for replacement often hard to find one of the exact same size thereby requiring re-working of the hole.

Depending on how much money you want to spend perhaps the ideal is the mini-split. This has an inside unit that either hangs on a wall or is close to the ceiling (in the center of the room) and only requires a three-inch hole to pass the piping and electrical outside to the condensing unit. Some models can supply multiple indoor units from one outdoor unit. The cost is considerably higher than a window, through-the-wall or portable unit but the performance can often rival that of a central unit as well as provide "zoning" to allow for different temperatures in different areas. The noise level is very low compared to the lesser units. Prices for the least expensive mini-splits (Chinese clones) start at about $1500. A name brand unit with a single indoor unit is about $4,000 installed whereas in this geographical area central starts at about $6,000.
 
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Old 07-08-14, 04:51 PM
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Wow...4 grand to provide and install a mini-spilt that only runs $1200-1500? Thats a crazy price. prob no more than 5-6 hrs work based on what I've seen.
 
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Old 07-08-14, 05:03 PM
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If you offered $1500 for a name brand unit like a Mitsubishi they would laugh you out of the store. Sure, you CAN buy a small unit for that over the Internet and you CAN butch one in with about 5-6 hours of work but you will get exactly what you paid for. Further, labor costs in my area are significantly higher than in much of the country.
 
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Old 07-08-14, 06:06 PM
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Must be that $15 minimum wage? lol
 
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