Shopping for a Portable Air Conditioner/Heater? 5 Features to Compare

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Shopping for a Portable Air Conditioner/Heater? 5 Features to Compare

Staff Writer · Mar 18, 2010

A portable air conditioner and heater is a good choice when you don’t have a heating and cooling ventilation system in your apartment, or a space heater and window air conditioner isn’t working out for you. There are many units to choose from, and comparing 5 features will help you find the best unit for your money:

1 – BTUs

Compare the BTU level of the units before you make a purchase. It’s best to buy a portable air conditioner with heater that has more BTUs than what you think you need. Many renters need one in the range of 12,000 to 14,000 BTUs, which is more than enough for most apartment needs. The air conditioner industry has the following guidelines for BTUs to consider:

  • 9,000 BTUs for cooling a room with 200 square foot space
  • 12,000 BTUs for cooling a room with 400 square foot space
  • 14,000 BTUs for cooling a room with 550 square foot space

Take into account the weather patterns where you live, if the room you cool faces direct sunlight, any heat produced from electronic devices in the room and other factors that might increase or decrease your need for cooling and heating.

2 – Maximum Size of the Room

The maximum size of the room the unit covers matters a lot. Some units will cover a room that’s as large as 400 square feet, which is enough to cover many apartment rooms. Measure the square foot area of the largest room in your apartment to find out the coverage you need. As you compare portable air conditioner with heater units, include the maximum room size features as well. Keep in mind that the larger coverage area does result in a higher electric bill, because it takes more energy to run it.

3 – Drip or No Drip

A portable air conditioner with heat drip model comes with a tray that you’ll have to empty (water) every day or every other day. Replacing a tray all the time may be a hassle, and you might want to buy a no drip model instead. No extra water is produced, which means you don’t have a tray to empty. However, a no drip model costs more, and may not fit within your budget.

4 – Dehumidifier

An ideal system to consider is a 3-in-1 portable air conditioner with heater that includes a dehumidifier. You’ll have cleaner air with the dehumidifier feature. Not all units include a dehumidifier, so you’ll want to make sure that it’s included if you want it.

5 – Energy Consumption

The type of unit you buy has an impact on your electric bill. The higher the watts required to operate your portable air conditioner with heater, the longer you’ll need to plug it in for it to work effectively. Your electric bill is based on a number of cents multiplied by the number of kilowatts you use. Therefore, it matters the watts your unit requires.

When buying a portable air conditioner with heater online, find online vendors that offer free shipping. You’ll appreciate the break in shipping costs.

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