Window vs Portable AC units

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. Read 900 times.

Doublej

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 2017
Window vs Portable AC units
« on: 26 Jun 2017, 12:55 am »
Looking for advice on portable vs. window units and brand recommendations. I am not sure what to make of Consumer Reports rating the portable units much lower than the window units.




Brettio

Re: Window vs Portable AC units
« Reply #1 on: 26 Jun 2017, 02:02 am »
We currently have about a half dozen window mounted units and one portable in service in rental units.  From what the tenants tell us the portable one is quieter and they like that it can be moved around. It's been in service for approx. 18 months and never had an issue with it (I would bet it's on and cooling more than not).

Initial cost was higher for the portable but for my home use that's the way I'd go. 

Bought it on amazon:
Haier HPN12XCM Portable Air Conditioner, 12000-BTU
« Last Edit: 26 Jun 2017, 03:25 am by Brettio »

srb

Re: Window vs Portable AC units
« Reply #2 on: 26 Jun 2017, 02:26 am »
I am not sure what to make of Consumer Reports rating the portable units much lower than the window units.

The portable unit has to vent hot air outside through a vent hose.  All the vent hoses I have seen are basically uninsulated.  This puts a percentage of removed heat right back into the room.  Also the compressor is producing additional room heat itself, whereas the compressor in a window or wall unit is located outside of the room.

For these reasons, SEER and efficiency numbers will always be lower for the portable models.  If I were to get a portable AC unit, I would definitely come up with some good insulation for the air vent hose.

Also, the moisture removed from the air must be drained from a reservoir which adds a hassle factor for the portable units compared to the window/wall unit's condensation drain.

Steve
« Last Edit: 26 Jun 2017, 03:37 am by srb »

Brettio

Re: Window vs Portable AC units
« Reply #3 on: 26 Jun 2017, 03:29 am »
Steve brings up good points...I wonder what our tenants are doing with the condensation... :slap:

srb

Re: Window vs Portable AC units
« Reply #4 on: 26 Jun 2017, 04:54 am »
...I wonder what our tenants are doing with the condensation... :slap:

For this particular model (Haier HPN12XCM), an excerpt from the manual:
 

Not sure how removing moisture from the room air then letting it evaporate back out into the air does anything to control humidity ( :scratch: ), but in any case for almost all of the portable AC units, if the water tank becomes full the unit will shut down and either a warning light or a code on a display will signal the tank needs to be emptied, preventing overflow and room damage.

Steve
 

JLM

  • Restricted
  • Posts: 8653
  • The elephant normally IS the room
Re: Window vs Portable AC units
« Reply #5 on: 26 Jun 2017, 10:30 am »
Looking for advice on portable vs. window units and brand recommendations. I am not sure what to make of Consumer Reports rating the portable units much lower than the window units.

I only read CR for it's annual car issue, but did run across an article they wrote regarding running AC that stated window units are all but useless compared to whole house models.  The article stupidly recommended to open up the house at night and run AC during the day.  As the basic premise of AC is to first lower the humidity that doesn't work, same with the Haier unit mentioned above. 

It's also the time of year to dismiss home made swamp coolers (saw a better than average one yesterday online) as poor man's AC.  I say "poor man's" because they work (sort of) poorly.  BTW swamp coolers use evaporation to cool (to a point). 

Brettio

Re: Window vs Portable AC units
« Reply #6 on: 26 Jun 2017, 11:53 am »
Thank you Steve for that info.  In my defense i had Amazon deliver the unit out of state for me so I never read that....what did you call it? Manual?  :oops: 

Another option is right here- https://youtu.be/ITtlxjvLQis 

It'll allow you to cool your room and beverage of choice at the same time.   :thumb:

roscoeiii

Re: Window vs Portable AC units
« Reply #7 on: 26 Jun 2017, 02:58 pm »
A friend just got a portable, and called it the best $450 she's spent in a long time. I believe it has totally replaced her window units. Apparently, there are some portable units that require emptying the reservoir, and others where that is not needed (not sure the technical details of why).

She did say that the portable is a bit louder, which may be of concern to someone on an audiophile website.

Escott1377

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 326
Re: Window vs Portable AC units
« Reply #8 on: 26 Jun 2017, 03:54 pm »
Cold air hitting warm air equals condensation which is why most of these units have a water reservoir.

The unit that is described above sounds more like an evaporative cooler or possibly the scenario of running in a very dry climate.

I live the in the southeast so humidity is always an issue.

Comfort cooling w/ mechanical refrigeration will always remove your latent capacity 1st (dehumidify) and then will continue to run to meet your sensible capacity (temperature set point on your stat).

Portable units have to use a hose to reject the heat of dissipation.  You are removing heat from the space and it must be dumped somewhere.

In the window unit example, the condenser coil is located on the backside (exposed side) of the unit and runs a fan across it to get rid of your heat (condensing the refrigerant from a gas back into a liquid).

Not sure of your budget, but a ductless unit is your best best for comfort and energy efficiency.  The compressor modulates to match your load and the indoor fan can vary as well.

Good luck w/ your decision!

Don_S

Re: Window vs Portable AC units
« Reply #9 on: 26 Jun 2017, 04:24 pm »
Cold air hitting warm air equals condensation which is why most of these units have a water reservoir.

The unit that is described above sounds more like an evaporative cooler or possibly the scenario of running in a very dry climate.

I live the in the southeast so humidity is always an issue.

Comfort cooling w/ mechanical refrigeration will always remove your latent capacity 1st (dehumidify) and then will continue to run to meet your sensible capacity (temperature set point on your stat).

Portable units have to use a hose to reject the heat of dissipation.  You are removing heat from the space and it must be dumped somewhere.

In the window unit example, the condenser coil is located on the backside (exposed side) of the unit and runs a fan across it to get rid of your heat (condensing the refrigerant from a gas back into a liquid).

Not sure of your budget, but a ductless unit is your best best for comfort and energy efficiency.  The compressor modulates to match your load and the indoor fan can vary as well.

Good luck w/ your decision!

How does a ductless work?   :scratch:

Interesting thread.  My mother has a window unit that her neighbor and I install and remove seasonally.  A necessity in N.E. Ohio.  Don't even get me started on the humidity.

srb

Re: Window vs Portable AC units
« Reply #10 on: 26 Jun 2017, 04:29 pm »
How does a ductless work?   :scratch:

If you're talking about a portable unit .... not very well.  ;)

macrojack

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 3764
Re: Window vs Portable AC units
« Reply #11 on: 26 Jun 2017, 04:42 pm »
How does a ductless work?   :scratch:

Interesting thread.  My mother has a window unit that her neighbor and I install and remove seasonally.  A necessity in N.E. Ohio.  Don't even get me started on the humidity.

It's called a ductless mini-split and it can heat as well as cool. It is a heat pump with the compressor outdoors and the fan and brains located in your house. These can be very efficient, achieving up to 35 SEER in some smaller models. Mine is a 2 ton (24,000 BTU, 19 SEER) unit that cools only. I have baseboard hot water heat. Another feature with the mini-split is the ability to individually heat/cool up to 8 rooms from a single compressor.
Up front cost is multiples of what you would spend to buy a window unit but much of that will come back to you in savings, reliability and comfort. Install is for pros only. Units are very quiet compared to window units. I have no experience with portables. In mini-splits Mitsubishi, Fujitsu and Daikin are the most respected brands. Good luck. The key is the installer. You want someone who can accurately determine the size you need and where to put it. This option will probably require a licensed electrician for a 220 line.

Tubeburner

Re: Window vs Portable AC units
« Reply #12 on: 26 Jun 2017, 04:58 pm »
I had two window units that out performed my portable units, but getting older and my back issues, I went portable. I had back surgery two months ago, so I'm not risking lifting window units any more. The portable units are nice for set up and use, but they only are good for 600-700 sq. ft. I have one in the bedroom and one in the living room. One uses the moisture to help cool the coils and is exausted out the hose through the window. My bedroom unit has a drain that I run into a stock pot and I have to dump this twice a day. I could run a condensate pump and hose out the window to solve that issue. It was 90 degrees in Seattle yesterday and we started early, but the two units worked hard, but it was 77 degrees in the house. I could tolerate that with a fan, but not ideal. Listening to music is not ideal because these are noisy as are window units. Personally, the window units work better and are more efficient. If I owned this home, I would put in a heat pump and enjoy the central air along with the quiet. Ductless is a growing trend, but only good for a particular area, so for a little more money, have the heat pump and central air IMO. I don't know enough about the Ductless systems, but I don't want a fan unit on my wall.

So to sum this up:
Portable units are convenient, but noisy. When you are done, they roll away into storage.
Window units are more efficient, but lifting and noise are a factor.
Heat pump which includes central air has a higher initial cost, but the efficiency and lack of noise gets my vote.

Escott1377

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 326
Re: Window vs Portable AC units
« Reply #13 on: 26 Jun 2017, 06:45 pm »
It's called a ductless mini-split and it can heat as well as cool. It is a heat pump with the compressor outdoors and the fan and brains located in your house. These can be very efficient, achieving up to 35 SEER in some smaller models. Mine is a 2 ton (24,000 BTU, 19 SEER) unit that cools only. I have baseboard hot water heat. Another feature with the mini-split is the ability to individually heat/cool up to 8 rooms from a single compressor.
Up front cost is multiples of what you would spend to buy a window unit but much of that will come back to you in savings, reliability and comfort. Install is for pros only. Units are very quiet compared to window units. I have no experience with portables. In mini-splits Mitsubishi, Fujitsu and Daikin are the most respected brands. Good luck. The key is the installer. You want someone who can accurately determine the size you need and where to put it. This option will probably require a licensed electrician for a 220 line.

Yes to all of this but I would check your municipality as there may be some energy rebates available.  On the very cheap side (and you get what you pay for), I believe Midea and Gree are going consumer direct.  These are Chinese manufacturers and the 1's listed above are all Japanese and some have been in the US market since as far back as 1982.

Syrah

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 568
Re: Window vs Portable AC units
« Reply #14 on: 26 Jun 2017, 07:19 pm »
I live in the Caribbean, where everyone's an AC expert.

I agree with the above.  If you can drill a whole in the wall, and you can get wiring outside - I'd say go for a mini split.

If it has to be a window or a portable, my vote would be for a window unit.  They are much more reliable (I say this as someone who has thrown out three portable units before biting the bullet and getting a mini split), and usually cheaper.

A mini split is usually dramatically more energy efficient than a either a window or a portable unit.  But you do need to drill a whole in the wall.  Also, the electronics stay inside and the very noisy compressor stays outside.

ArthurDent

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 9107
  • Don't Panic / Mostly Harmless
Re: Window vs Portable AC units
« Reply #15 on: 26 Jun 2017, 07:50 pm »
Lots of considerations involved. Apt/Condo, house, size (SF to be cooled). A friend living in subsidized housing due to health issues was located in a 3rd flr, west facing apt, probably around 600 SF. His only option was the portable. We don't get a lot of hot days in the Seattle/Tacoma area, but there are usually two or three stretches of 80s to 90s for a few days. In his case, being the top floor, and with the west facing window, the portable couldn't really keep up during those periods.

Working from home for years I've had an old Kenmore window unit to keep my work space cool, I learned early on computers don't like temps above 85 for any length of time. I moved the unit when I moved my office from one end of the house to the other. It's still going strong approaching 20 yr in age. I do have a replacement in the garage, new in box, to swap out hopefully this year to improve efficiency. That unit keeps almost half of my 1200 SF fairly comfortable.

Last year, after a longer than normal hot stretch in '15 I checked with a friend who'd had a two of the ductless units installed a couple of years back. He was well satisfied, so I had an HVAC contractor who'd worked for me before check things out for my case. I got the 18K BTU Mitsu heat-pump unit. Installation was simplified as the unit went in above the old fan/resistance coil heater for the room. The 220 only had to be extended. As it happened last year we had the longest hot stretch I've experienced in my 30+ years here, and I was most thankful I'd made the decision. I don't need it 70-72 inside to be comfortable, but as with any structure when it's hot long enough & doesn't cool overnight the heat sinks in. The unit cools the listening room/home office very nicely, and via an open doorway to the living room, given time, cools that as well. It is really very quiet, and not that intrusive unless you're listening at fairly low levels. Admittedly it was an approx. $5K investment, but I figure it adds to the value of the house, and I couldn't afford a full blown ducted system.

So I think each type has it's +s & -s, and the choice is mainly what fits your situation, needs & budget. Lots of good input here, hope you find which works best in your case. And while Seattle set a new record at 96 yesterday, and it was 99 on my thermometers a touch SE (not a cloud to be found), today is a lovely 71 with nice high clouds. A fan keeping things very comfortable.

jpm

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 312
Re: Window vs Portable AC units
« Reply #16 on: 26 Jun 2017, 11:34 pm »
Lots of good advice, and here are a couple of other points to consider:

Brand / parts / repairability - may not matter if the device is cheap enough to start with, but increasingly there are portable units which are intended to be disposable if something goes wrong. Costco have a promo coming up and their satisfaction guarantee is a good backup to a warranty.

Usage - If you don't use it regularly, or at least annually, be prepared for a seal to have dried out or given up the ghost

Seek local advice - what works best in one part of the world may differ from another. In AZ, it's all whole house AC unless:
  • You're waiting for to get to the top of the AC repair list in summer, in which case you bought a portable unit to stay alive
  • You converted a shed / added an extension / built a DIY Camper Van, in which case you probably have a window unit



Bendingwave

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 261
Re: Window vs Portable AC units
« Reply #17 on: 26 Jun 2017, 11:53 pm »
This is what Ive been told by someone who works in installing Air Conditioners....the height placement is very important as cool air travels down ward hence why most widow AC's are more efficient then portables because a window unit is usually higher then the floor standing portable units....its also why air conditioning vents and ducts are placed on the ceilings.