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Is Portable Air Conditioning Energy Efficient?

Jul 25, 2013

Ask any air-conditioning salesperson what their busiest day of sales is, and inevitably they’ll tell you, “The first hot day of the year.” Why so many people wait until it gets hot before thinking of buying an air conditioner remains one of life’s unsolvable mysteries!

But when those sweltering dog days of summer have you screaming for some relief, you’ve just got to cool down the house. So, the question is, which is more energy efficient and cost-effective: a portable unit that you can move from room-to-room, or a central air conditioning system that cools the whole house but costs much more.

Portable units have become increasingly popular and many are designed for use in any room of the house. Larger models that are equipped with wheels can be moved from room-to-room conveniently and without any installation problems. One argument for the portable cooling option is that it’s usually only being used in the room that you’re in; therefore you’re not wasting cold air in rooms that you’re not occupying. Now if you’re considering getting a portable air conditioner, you need to consider the area you want to cool. Keep in mind that you should buy a portable unit based on the size of the area you want to cool. If you select a model that doesn’t have sufficient power to work efficiently in a given space, you will be wasting money as the unit works overtime to vent warm air and provide adequate cooling. Either way, consider getting an ENERGY STAR certified model, as it will be more energy efficient.

Nevertheless, in comparison to other cooling options, such as window-mounted AC units and central air, portable units are, for the most part, less energy efficient in general. That is just an inherent part of the design of movable air conditioning. But if it’s transportability that you’re looking for, then you may consider the convenience of a portable unit worth those extra energy costs. It all comes down to your needs. In the long run, central air conditioning is the most energy efficient way of cooling a home and will add value to a property.

Your best bet is to do a little homework before you purchase in order to find out what type of air conditioning system will meet your needs based on your home, space, and of course your budget. Talk to your local certified RESNET HVAC Contractor for good advice on what your most cost-effective solutions are.