Can a portable air conditioner truly save energy vs. central type

coodyJune 9, 2010

My house is one level. My kids usually play in the living room that opens to the kitchen. In the daytime, I can close all bedrooms. So I plan to buy a portable air conditioner placed in the living room that is more than 400 sqft because it opens to the kitchen. I choose the portable air conditioner because it is easy to install comparing with the window type. Do you think if it will save energy vs. the central air conditioner? In other words, should I run the central air conditioner instead? I am concerned about it may take more time to cool the room by the portable air conditioner comparing with the central air conditioner. If the portable air conditioner is a good choice, can you recommend a reliable portable air conditioner?

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For sure you need a portable with two hoses. The single hose models are very inefficient.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2010 at 8:17PM
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Do you mean two exhaust hoses to the window? What is the difference between two and one hoses? Why are two exhaust hoses more efficient?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 2:13AM
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with two hoses, one is an inlet and the other is an outlet. With a single hose, one is an outlet. Inlet air comes from the room. My Sharp works like this.

By and large, portable units are less efficient than window units of the same BTU rating.

If you have a regular vertical sliding window (not a casement window), I would recommend a normal window unit over a portable. It will be cheaper. You'll also need to keep the central unit turned off, or turned to a higher setpoint. A programmable Tstat might be of some use here.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 5:57AM
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Those bedrooms are going to heat up if the doors are closed and central air is off. When you go to bed, it will be in hot, probably humid bedrooms. It will take a long time for the central air to cool them down in the evening.

To get the bedrooms to cool, you will have to turn the thermostat down. That will over cool your portable cooled living areas in the evening/night.

Frankly, I think the portable unit will be a mistake, and you will save little, if any energy, and you will be less comfortable.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 6:37AM
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It should work. Right now I am cooling my house with borrowed window units because my central system is on the blink and I won't throw in a hasty replacement system.

I agree that the window units are more efficient. You will need to get something large enough to cool the LR and Kit, but don't buy one too large. It seems like all these modern window units run the blower constantly. If they short cycle, you will get high humidity.

You will probably switch off or turn up the t-stat on the main system and turn on the portable unit in the AM and shut the doors to the unused areas. All the window unit needs to do is keep it cool. Toward evening, you turn on the main system and shut off the window unit. The air circulation and mixing will even the temp out pretty quickly. If the rooms are still too warm at bedtime, you know that have to fire up the central a little earlier next time.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 3:32PM
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I admit the window unit is cheaper and more efficient. It even has an energy star moedl. However, it does not look good comparing with the portable air conditioner that can be placed on the floor. More important, the portable unit is easy to install without damage wall or anything in the house. You just place a hose to the window and thatÂs all. That is why I consider the portable instead of window unit. But, I may need a efficient portable air conditioner. Since you suggest two hoses better, do you know the brand name or any more efficient portable air conditioner in the market?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 4:54PM
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Costco has a dual hose model made by Haier on their website, but the reviews are mixed. FWIW, if you were to get one there and end up hating it, the return policy is really good.

Here is a link that might be useful: cosco dual hose a/c

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 7:55PM
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I am not a Costco member. I saw two 12,000 btu portable air conditioners, the Danby Premier at Home Depot and LG LP1210BXR (has not known which store sells it). The Danby Premier has two hoses with an EER of 9.35. I do not know the LG. Does anyone know those two unite?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 8:43PM
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Compared to central air, that EER is not competitive. A portable unit will contribute heat to the room because of the heat generated by the components irrespective of the exhausted air thru the hose.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 4:18AM
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I knew it is not comparable in the EER between the portable air conditioner and central air conditioner. I wonder whether the portable air conditioner can truly save the energy, especially you may just want to cool a living room only. If so, what is the most efficient portable air conditioner in the market?

    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 10:02PM
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