This page contains a collection of frequently asked questions about air conditioning and our answers in summary form.
The topic of air conditioning becomes surprisingly interesting especially when the weather starts to heat up in the run-up to summer each year!
During this time, people are looking to upgrade old AC equipment or maintain the appliances they already own. Some people are looking to buy new air conditioning equipment for any number of reasons.
Perhaps you have recently moved into a new property and it doesn't have a cooling system installed.
If the location is somewhere that is going to get hot during summer, you are going to need some kind of cooling equipment and for most areas, air conditioning is the most effective solution.
For more in-depth information, each question/answer links to a detailed article specifically covering that topic.
What we refer to as ventless portable air conditioners are really evaporative coolers, or more commonly known as swamp coolers.
These coolers do work exceptionally well at providing a lot of chilled air to cool you down in summer, but only as long as the atmosphere is relatively dry.
If you live in an area of high humidity, evaporative coolers struggle to produce cold air because the higher the humidity, the less moisture can be absorbed by the air.
This means these coolers are exceptionally good if your climate is dry, but not much good if you're climate is humid.
A question often crops up about what portable air conditioners do not need to be drained regularly.
Most portable AC units have a water catchment tank that needs to be drained periodically. This is because a lot of condensation is created inside the unit and that drips into the tank, filling it up over time.
The good news is that some of the newer portable AC models incorporate advanced technology that automatically deals with internal moisture before it can makes it to the tank below.
These are known as self evaporating portable air conditioners. As the name suggests, they auto evaporate the condensate that forms on the cooling coils and either reuse that chilled moisture to assist in the cooling process, thus increasing efficiency, or just exhaust it out through the vent hose.
A common question is "Do portable air conditioners need to be vented?"
Fortunately, the answer is rather simple and follows common sense when you realize that a AC needs to expel the hot air created by the compressor motor to the outside to enable it to produce cold air inside.
This can be accomplished using the typical manufatcturer's flexible vent hose connected to a window or a wall vent.
Depending upon where you live and what your local climate is like, ventless air conditioners work well if the air is dry (not humid) when it gets hot during the summer months.
Whether you choose to use these evaporative coolers (to give them their correct name) inside or outdoors, they represent the most economical form of mechanical cooling that actually works.
Because there is no reliance on refrigeration-based internal mechanics and their related big power drain, evaporative coolers (or swamp coolers) can run on as little as 100 watts of power yet still provide a welcome blast of chilled air to keep you cool!
Whether you decide to put them to use indoors or outdoors, evaporative coolers can be very effective at producing a cooling solution during summer as long as the air is not humid.
In dry air conditions, these extremely economical cooling devices come into their own to provide you with a welcome blast of chilled air indoors or out.
They come in a variety of sizes and airflow outputs from tiny desktop models right up to huge 1,000 CFM (cubic feet pre minute) cold wind behemoths!
Note: In humid conditions, evaporative coolers are not so effective and when saturation point is approached (100% humidity) they will not work at all except as a big fan.
Do Evaporative Coolers Work as Well as Air Conditioners?
If you are wondering do evaporative coolers work as well as air conditioners, the short answer is yes or no depending on what your local weather is like.
If your local climate has predominantly dry air during the hot months, such as in desert areas or inland away from any large water bodies, then a swamp cooler can represent a better investment than an air conditioner.
This is because evaporative coolers run on less than one tenth of the electricity that AC units do. Plus they can blast out enough cold air to drop the temperature inside by as much as twenty degrees or more, providing welcome relief from the dry heat.
However, if your climate has predominantly humid heat, a swamp cooler may not be the best choice, as the higher the humidity, the less effective this type of cooler becomes.
In high humidity areas, an air conditioner is generally the most effective way to keep cool, despite the higher energy usage and running cost.
When running an air conditioner, windows and doors should be kept closed, but I'm often asked do you need to open windows for evaporative cooling?
The answer is always a big YES! That's because evaporative coolers blast out cold, damp air, effectively raising the humidity inside the space being cooled.
If you have already read the answers to some of questions above, you'll know now that evaporative coolers loose their cooling effectiveness when the humidity rises.
So in order to maintain a low level of humidity in the space, opening a window or two to create a cross draft will allow the added moisture to circulate out of the building and keep the cooler producing loads of lovely cold air!
There are a number of ways to insulate a portable air conditioner exhaust hose, with the simplest being to buy a ready made hose cover, like the one made by Delonghi (you can buy these online).
Cheaper methods include wrapping the hose with insulating tape or fiberglass wrapping, but these don't look as good.
It may seem like pure common sense, but insulating a portable air conditioner exhaust hose will not only increase its efficiency, but also help to keep you cooler as more of the hot air can be removed from the room through the vent hose.
By insulating the exhaust hose, you effectively prevent heat from dissipating inside the room. Read more about insulating a vent hose for a portable AC by clickng the question heading at the beginning of this paragraph.
There are a number of different types of AC system that you can have installed in your home or office and depend on several factors.
These factors include the size of the area to be cooled, the usage, feasibility and budget.
Cooling systems range from the most expensive to the least expensive:
- Central ducted AC systems
- Ductless split systems
- Individual self-contained units such as window AC units, PTAC and VTAC
- Smaller portable AC units
- Swamp coolers and fans, depending on your location and humidity levels
Each type of system has its own pros and cons, while suiting different needs and applications.
Read the full article that explains these different AC systems by clicking the linked heading of this paragraph answer.
Note: This FAQ is growing as new questions come up and need covering. Call back soon if you don't see a question you may have yourself, or if you need an answer, hit me up with your question via my contact page and I will research it for you and publish my findings here. Thanks!
Last Updated: June 12, 2022
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