What to Consider When Buying a Ventless Portable Air Conditioner

When looking to purchase a ventless portable air conditioner, a number of things come to mind. First, you have decided that your need for air conditioning is small enough that a relatively low power unit will suffice. Portable units can generate as much as 12,000 BTUs, but they are most suitable for small and medium-size rooms. Secondly, you'll want to consider a few things before making a purchase including BTU output, convenience features and energy efficiency. You have a wide variety of brand names to choose from. However, don't automatically pick a familiar brand before finding out all you can about other air conditioners that may offer you more in terms of cooling capacity, durability and multi-functionality. 

Benefits of a Portable Air Conditioner

Ventless portable air conditioners come with heavy-duty casters that allow them to be easily transported from room to room. The least powerful units generate roughly 5,000 BTUs per hour and can comfortably cool rooms 150 to 250 square feet in size. Bigger, more powerful models feature higher BTU outputs, up to around 12,000. These models are able to cool rooms as large as 500 square feet. Top-quality portable air conditioners double as fans, dehumidifiers and, in some cases, heaters. At the very least they'll possess cooling and fan-only settings which allow you to alternative between air compression cooling and basic circulation to increase energy efficiency. Portable AC units are perfect for small to medium-size rooms and are useful to supplement larger systems that can't quite reach every room. 

What to Look for

When evaluating portable air conditioners, first know how much space you have to cool in your home or commercial property. Calculate the square footage and figure that 25 to 30 BTUs will be needed for every square foot of space. A well-insulated space will require fewer BTUs per square foot, usually 15 to 20. Thus, according to this formula, a room 150 square feet in size will need 3,750 BTUs to effectively cool it, so a 5,000-BTU unit will be more than adequate. Look for a portable air conditioner capable of handling whatever size room you need to cool, otherwise it won't produce the necessary power. 


Next, consider the convenience factor. Many portable AC units come with an array of features such as remote control, programmable timer, auto restart and digital display. The easier it is to operate, the happier you will be with your portable air conditioner. Another thing to consider is the method by which it disposes of excess moisture. Since it is unvented, the moisture it draws in from the air has to go somewhere. Some portable units either drain this excess moisture into an internal bucket that must be emptied, or they allow for continuous draining by means of a hose. The best units, however, use evaporative technology that recycles the moisture. It draws moist air in and then uses the condensed water to cool the hot coils while at the same time evaporating it. This means there is no water bucket to empty.

A portable air conditioner can be a great help for small to medium-size room cooling. Before buying one, calculate the amount of space you need to cool and get the model with the appropriate output. Also, keep an eye out for units with features that make its use more convenient.