A Guide to Multi-Function Portable Air Conditioning Units

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A Guide to Multi-Function Portable Air Conditioning Units

Staff Writer · Mar 24, 2010

Portable air conditioning units are a great investment, but ones that have multi-functions are even better. The ones available on the market are 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 combos, including a heater, dehumidifier or both. Any of these can replace your use of a central air conditioning or heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. The benefits to you might be worth it, even if you have one of these other systems in place at your apartment.

Portable Air Conditioning Units with Heater

If you’re going to invest in a portable air conditioner with a heater built in, you should know that there are few limitations. For example, some models don’t work well when temperatures fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, because of how it works to heat the room. The hoses attached to the unit bring in warm air from the outside and expels cold air. This works great if the temperature outside your apartment is warm enough. If it’s not, you’ll be bringing in cold air, which doesn’t solve your heater problem. You would be better off buying an electric heater, another type of portable heater or using the apartment’s HVAC system. However, some portable air conditioners with heaters can work well in the winter when the temperatures are much lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

When comparing models, find out the details of the heating capacity in regards to outdoor temperatures. Compare that to where you live currently, but keep in mind other places you might move to in the future.

Portable Air Conditioning Units with Dehumidifier

The dehumidifier function works separately from the cooling function in some units. Buy a model that works as if you purchased only a dehumidifier, even though it’s built in, because you will use less power when you want to remove moisture from the air. A portable air conditioner that requires you to cool the room at the same time will require more energy consumption, which will result in higher energy bills. If price and other limitations make it necessary to buy a unit that cools and dehumidifies at once, then at least buy one that is highly efficient overall.

Portable Air Conditioning Units: BTU Guidelines

You will need to determine how many BTUs you need for the room that you want to cool, to make sure the model you buy works efficiently. Miscalculations on the BTUs required will result in the unit not being able to cool the entire room. Since cooling is the primary function for your portable air conditioner, it’s important to get it right. The manufacturer should state how many BTUs it puts out and the maximum room size it can cover effectively. Multiply the length and width to find your maximum room size and compare that to the manufacturer’s stated maximum room size.

If you’re going to buy a portable air conditioning unit, you might as well buy a multi-function one. Even with the limitations of the heating function for some models, it’s still a good choice.

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