Air Conditioning

Things to Consider When Buying a Portable Air Conditioner


If you need flexible cooling for a home addition, an infrequently-used guest room, a getaway cabin or any other space, a portable air conditioner (PAC) may be ideal. To make an informed purchasing decision, weigh these factors:

Cooling Capacity

The cooling capacity for portable air conditioners is measured in British thermal units (BTU) per hour, and a higher rating signifies more output. You'll find the BTU rating on the EnergyGuide label of each PAC, which makes it easy to compare models. Be sure to choose a capacity that corresponds to the square footage of the space you plan to cool.

Placement Limitations

Depending on the capacity of the portable A/C you choose, it will need to be plugged in to either a 115- or 230/280-volt outlet, so check that there's the right type near where you plan to use the unit. Placement of a PAC is also limited by proximity to a window for venting, since the exhaust hose is likely only seven feet long at the most.

Energy Efficiency

You'll find an Efficiency Ratio (EER) rating on the EnergyGuide label of each portable air conditioner, and the higher the rating, the more energy efficient the unit. If you want a unit that offer the greatest energy savings, look at different available models that match your budget and select the one with the highest EER rating.

Condensate Options

Portable air conditioners condense moisture out of the air as they cool, and there are a couple of choices regarding its disposal. Basic, less expensive PACs have a built-in collector pan that must be emptied regularly. There are more costly “self-evaporating” models that send the condensate out through the air exhaust hose, or recycle the liquid to cool the coils.

Noise Level

PACs are self-contained units complete with a compressor, so they're noisier than other types of A/Cs. You can find one that's less loud by comparing the manufacturer's data for decibel (dB) output on models that meet your other criteria.If you're considering purchasing a portable air conditioner and need expert advice, contact your Broken Arrow comfort pros at Air Assurance.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about portable air conditioners and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.