Tuesday, August 16

Consumer Reports Frowns Upon Latest Portable Air Conditioners

Many Americans are turning to portable air conditioners this summer, as unseasonably low temperatures cause many people to decide that full HVAC installations aren’t necessary; but homeowners may want to think again. Consumer Reports has recently released data, based on tests of eight different portable air conditioners, showing that performance levels of portable air conditioners are surprisingly low. Most of the air conditioners couldn’t even cool a room from 90 degrees Fahrenheit to 80 degrees within 100 minutes — despite the fact that 78 degrees is considered the borderline for keeping indoor rooms comfortable.

Why do people choose portable units?

Many residents think that “portable” means the unit can be placed anywhere in the room, and they also assume that a smaller temporary unit will be a better investment than having a professional service install a permanent AC unit. The struggling economy in recent years, as well as lower summer temperatures this year, have left many homeowners thinking that a portable AC unit is a better option.

Why do portable units fall short?

Despite being called “portable,” these air conditioners really aren’t portable at all. A hose needs to connect the unit to a separate kit in the window, the hose itself is five to seven feet long, and the unit itself needs to be in an open area that won’t restrict airflow. Consumer Reports states that units typically weigh 50 to 80 pounds, and even those units with wheels can be difficult to move across carpets.

The efficiency of portable air conditioners is another area in which the units fall short. Consumer Reports noted that its testing didn’t include measurements regarding energy efficiency, but based on the inability of the units to effectively cool rooms to a comfortable temperature, it’s possible that portable air conditioners can actually incur a bigger energy bill at the end of the month.

Does this mean good news for standard air conditioning units?

It certainly seems, based on this recent data, that standard AC units are much better for long-term cooling solutions, and Consumer Reports emphasizes that portable units should only be used as a last resort. Standard units are easy to have installed professionally, and the investment will certainly pay off in the long run.

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