How to Select a Portable Air Conditioner | Ask This Old House

How to Select a Portable Air Conditioner | Ask This Old House

Ask This Old House plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey walks host Kevin O’Connor through the choices In air conditioners
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Steps:
1. Window air conditioners install in a window and vent hot air and condensate directly out of the back of the unit.
2. Portable air conditioners sit on the floor and vent through a flexible duct. They need to be emptied to drain the condensate.
3. Evaporative coolers cool by using ice and water. They leave behind humidity.
4. Newer air conditioners may include smart functionality to allow control from a smart phone.

Resources:
Window and portable air conditioners are available at home centers.

Swamp coolers are available at home centers in the American Southwest, but are not recommended in other regions as they add humidity to the air.

The smart phone controlled air conditioner is the Aros, manufactured by Quirky (https://www.quirky.com/).

About Ask This Old House TV:
Homeowners have a virtual truckload of questions for us on smaller projects, and we’re ready to answer. Ask This Old House solves the steady stream of home improvement problems faced by our viewers—and we make house calls! Ask This Old House features some familiar faces from This Old House, including Kevin O’Connor, general contractor Tom Silva, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, and landscape contractor Roger Cook.

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How to Select a Portable Air Conditioner | Ask This Old House
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50 Comments

  1. DH on September 25, 2022 at 4:33 am

    With portable air conditioners, the only thing one must consider is the SACC rating, or seasonally adjusted cooling capacity. And using the SACC rating, figure 20 BTU per square foot for cooling. That means these portable air conditioners are only good for about 500 square feet max, so you will need 2 of them to sufficiently cool down spaces larger than this.

  2. soundwavs1961c on September 25, 2022 at 4:33 am

    2:34 Does anyone have one of these who live in the S.W? We live in AZ and have nothing but disgusting luck with rentals due to moldy mildewy smelling acs.

  3. ouv on September 25, 2022 at 4:34 am

    Have central air, going to add a window AC to my detached garage with a big window Ac that will be added in a fresh cut out section in the garage, then I’ll make a cover on it for the winter. Be install on the back side of the garage wall

  4. Elle on September 25, 2022 at 4:36 am

    Always appreciate free sound advice and tips…so thank you. I would have liked to have heard them explaining the importance of matching the square footage of a room with the BTU. It is an important part of the factor…window AC units are more efficient than the portable ones on casters.

  5. Ricardo Hamilton Jr on September 25, 2022 at 4:37 am
  6. Jeremy Presgrave on September 25, 2022 at 4:39 am

    Can I put this in an 8 by 8 storage building and run it off an extension cord my dogs are outside dogs and my dogs and I would like to get them some type of way to cool off

  7. AFTECH 72 on September 25, 2022 at 4:39 am

    Tesla is already working on an with a wifi enabled control from anywhere aircon also comes with a HEPA Filter and consumes the fraction cost of electricity that run on solar power – and use utility power as a backup – tradition aircon use – its an advancement in technology –

  8. Rei Lea on September 25, 2022 at 4:41 am

    My Media lasted 4 weeks and died. Piece of crap. Cost $240

  9. Life is too precious on September 25, 2022 at 4:41 am

    I bought that third one and I wish I could have my money back 🤦

  10. mavirek on September 25, 2022 at 4:41 am

    Do you think that the WattFun 320W (640W peak) or similar power station (e.g., the Jackery 300, or Goal Zero Yeti 200x) can run a portable air conditioner (e.g., 10,000 BTU) for at least for as long as the battery lasts? 🤔 Thank you.

  11. MonkeyMan on September 25, 2022 at 4:47 am

    The noise is so annoying but I hate heat

  12. Pollos on September 25, 2022 at 4:48 am

    Hi do you know where I can buy a dual hose AC in Sweden?

  13. Endoe Kronic on September 25, 2022 at 4:48 am

    Quirky is no longer in business… They are currently pending a class action lawsuit. I DO NOT RECOMMEND purchasing from them.

  14. John Savage on September 25, 2022 at 4:48 am

    Portable AC units are a failure.

  15. MyOtherNewName on September 25, 2022 at 4:50 am

    Your thoughts on the portable unit. Why do they use cool air in your house to cool the coil going outside? I’ve seen double hose units but have never looked at one close enough to know if those types take care of that issue.

  16. Kong Strong on September 25, 2022 at 4:51 am

    Under ground builds are earth cooled.

  17. Eye on art on September 25, 2022 at 4:52 am

    My daughter bought portable and it goes down only to 61 degrees and is not worth it

  18. Veo on September 25, 2022 at 4:55 am

    How to use a window ac unit with a window 🪟 with plantation shutters ?

  19. Bobby Dick on September 25, 2022 at 4:55 am

    why there is not thermostat on a 5,000 btu AC ? I hate it when it runs for nothing.

  20. DuCharme HVACR Consulting on September 25, 2022 at 4:55 am

    the portable ac unit shown will actually put the room under negative air pressure and is much less efficient than the newer 2 pipe systems that bring in outside air for the condenser and then exhaust it the same way that the 1 pipe system does. Also, the newer units have a sling condenser fan that will pick up moisture from the dehumidification of the evaporator coil and spray it on the hot condenser to increase efficiency and then expel the moisture in the exhaust air. They will still have a bucket for excess condensation under a very humid day with a safety shut off but it isn’t always needed.

  21. CIC- JAKE VAND DAL GEE' MYERS. on September 25, 2022 at 4:56 am

    Ok

  22. jealousofmypuddin on September 25, 2022 at 4:59 am

    Helpful for sure. We’re renting a condo which has central air, unfortunately it appears the coil etc need to be replaced and the owner likely won’t replace it due to cost, so we’re considering a mobile unit.

  23. Burevestnik on September 25, 2022 at 4:59 am

    why every fker on this media think he is f. brad pitt and that he has to f. act like one. oh f. morons

  24. Had It All on September 25, 2022 at 5:00 am

    Y2022, no ventless AC? I have central AC for 1800 Sq ft condo, place is cool at ac set at 73 summer, I just put Duct cleaning in, was that a good idea? Did sealant screw up vents? I also revamped ac inside closet and serviced outside maintenance, it’s 98 degrees last night central FL heat index. HOT, & bedroom is only warm room, I have dehumidifier set up when I shower, so what’s the deal ? Westerly side of home, white building, but no neighbors above, no AC either. Do I just crank AC to 68 at night? Or can I get a room AC Ventless system?

  25. A Christianson on September 25, 2022 at 5:02 am

    never knew what a swamp cooler….I’ve heard it a million times before. but now I know

  26. Ancia Gabe on September 25, 2022 at 5:03 am

    A single hose portable AC sucks cool air from the room and dumps it out. That air has to be replaced so it seeps in from the outside all around the house.
    In other words the room the portable AC is in will cool down while the rest of the house increases in temperature.

  27. ENERGIZERb on September 25, 2022 at 5:04 am

    If they require electric plug in power then they’re really not a true portable.

  28. Sharon Ducci on September 25, 2022 at 5:04 am

    If you’re interested in putting central air-conditioning which I’ve already got a new furnace and separate heat zone in the basement but I would like to have its own blower for just the air conditioning if possible and it would be central air because all the vents are and everything is done I also have the rods put in for the air-conditioning already installed into the new furnace. If you want a project and it’s a decent price give me a jingle. But only from this platform no other contractor should try to reach me.

  29. John A. DiMeglio on September 25, 2022 at 5:04 am

    WOW THE THINGS HE DIDN’T TELL YOU.

  30. catherine mcgrath on September 25, 2022 at 5:05 am

    Hoses are not long enough

  31. Devine Lyric on September 25, 2022 at 5:06 am

    DOes he even tell you how to select a portable AC… didnt even finish teh video stoppped at the last WINDOW … AC talks about WINDOW…ac more than the portable thanks for waisting my time

  32. Endoe Kronic on September 25, 2022 at 5:09 am

    GPS you say? The app doesn’t collect my personal information you say? Old people and not understanding how wifi works you say?

  33. thekooosh on September 25, 2022 at 5:09 am

    ALWAYS pick the window unit where practical. All portables are uncomfortably noisy. They also start to lose the battle with the heat when it gets to about 90 degrees outside. Really inefficient devices.

    Portables are a bit of a godsend, but only as a last resort.

  34. Antonio Ric on September 25, 2022 at 5:10 am

    Any unit can be turned in a wifi unit with an alexa smart plug. This way I send alexa a message when to turn on my ac unit. Works perfect

  35. Sean McGuire on September 25, 2022 at 5:11 am

    Those water ones are more garbage than the ones with the hose to the window.

  36. Burevestnik on September 25, 2022 at 5:11 am

    are you fkers musicians???? amusement???? f. idiots. show you trade no music, morons. capisco????

  37. Tracie Tackett on September 25, 2022 at 5:11 am

    Is there one for an off grids situation.

  38. Mary Buford on September 25, 2022 at 5:13 am

    These are truly great. You can get one smaller than indicated they work so well. 250 dollars at home depot , ez to install. Fyi the portables with one hose.

  39. Sashine B. on September 25, 2022 at 5:14 am

    Portable ACs don’t work well with casement (crank windows). Because the window cranks open, there is a very large gap that isn’t sealed, so the hot air from outside comes inside.

  40. Haakon on September 25, 2022 at 5:15 am

    serious question: is there an AC unit that is the reverse of the portable AC unit shown here? Specifically, the mechanical assembly (and drainage) is set on the ground outside, and the de-ressurizing cooling action happens outside too, then two hoses (intake and outlet) circulate air from inside, through the window, through the outdoor unit, and back in again?

  41. T Jam on September 25, 2022 at 5:19 am

    They never mention how "inefficient" single tube portable AC units are compared to window units. They dump a certain percentage of "just-cooled" air to the outside.

  42. Emily Rodriguez on September 25, 2022 at 5:19 am

    Portable air conditioners are obnoxiusly loud. I had to return mine and buy a window ac.

  43. Hi there on September 25, 2022 at 5:20 am

    “Stay cool” he was waiting to say that lol

  44. Gary Wallace on September 25, 2022 at 5:23 am

    Love you guys but your headline for this video is totally misleading!!!!

  45. sky watcher on September 25, 2022 at 5:25 am

    Sure til they take over with the internet of things

  46. grathado28 on September 25, 2022 at 5:26 am

    lol that is the worse description of how an ac works ever lol

  47. Victor Fols on September 25, 2022 at 5:27 am

    I have the same Frigidaire unit you showed and it cools like a dream. It’s pretty light too.

  48. mri on September 25, 2022 at 5:27 am

    Great video

  49. Ben Dutta on September 25, 2022 at 5:28 am

    Been wondering if anyone knows. I live in an apartment building that still has the old wall heater. It’s a metal cage about 5ft tall and 3 inches depth from the wall. It’s no longer operational. I have the same portable ac unit in this video, the one on wheels with the exhaust tube. Can a wall heater be used to exhaust the heat out with the tube? Just wondering because looking to have a more slick cooling look in my place with less things sticking out the window

  50. Tom bryan on September 25, 2022 at 5:32 am

    The LG upright is not a good solution, it sucks out room air which has to be replenished from outside air, it’s inefficient, noisy, heavy and uses a lot of power. I own that one, I can’t even give it away.

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