So the last couple of days have been quite hot in my area. We’re talking about going from 31 degrees Celsius to 33 degrees Celsius inside. (thats 87.8 – 91.4 Fahrenheit)
Due to some space issues and the fact that there will be some construction going on soon, I could not install a fixed normal AC. You know, the split kind, with one unit inside and an exterior unit.
So I’ve taken drastic measures: being unable to work as apparently I can’t take 33 degrees Celsius, I went out and bought the only kind of portable AC available in my city: a Silvercrest 7000 BTU from Lidl.
I was so sick of the heat that I couldn’t be bothered to wait for an online delivery :-))
The price in the picture comes to about $210. And it can operate in three modes: AC, dehumidifier, and fan.
Its job is to cool down a room that needs about 6400 BTU, according to this calculator. Two people, two PC’s, 4 screens, and two routers are in this room.
Why am I writing about this?
I was skeptical about portable air conditioning units. There is a lot of bad feedback surrounding them. My original plan was to wait another year until we get a proper AC system.
I’m here to tell you that a good functioning unit, provided you manage to properly take out the hose on a window hole or something, will cool down things if you scale it appropriately and might make summer more bearable on those insanely hot days.
So don’t go hoping something like this will cool down all of your house. It will probably work in just one room. And a bigger than the 7000 BTU one I got will probably do a better job.
The main takeaway from this article is that while not that efficient or amazing, a portable air conditioning unit will cool down a room. It will not be Antarctica-freezing, but it will be better.
What are my results with this portable AC?
- in just over 3 hours, it brought the room from a 32.9 degrees Celsius to 28.1 degrees Celsius. ( 91.22 -> 82.58 Fahrenheit). So yes, it does cool! It might not be amazing, but I can work at 28.1 degrees. 32.9 degrees is way to much to do anything.
- if in the morning when things start heating up after a cool night, I close everything and turn on this portable AC, it can maintain a nice 27 degrees Celsius (80.6 Fahrenheit).
- it is freaky loud on high. And acceptable on low. Acceptable as in… well at least it’s not hot anymore :-))
- I did not try it overnight as it is kind of loud and it goes down to even 24 degrees Celsius in the night, so its not needed.
The cons of a portable air conditioning unit
1. It is inefficient when compared to a proper fixed AC. But it does cool.
2. Freaking loud.
3. It is portable and easy to move. But it has that back hose, so it’s not quite that easy to move and place somewhere properly.
4. In my model, you have to take out the water it accumulates when it is full. Not really so bad. Don’t care. I often used a small electric dehumidifier anyway – it too needed emptying.
I am basically writing this because I was very close to not even try a portable AC due to all the bad talk I see about them. And I am happy I purchased this unit. Working for about 2 to 3 months in 32-33 degrees Celsius is a pain. I am not even sorry about the unit’s price or the current it’s consuming (~780W/h).
Yes, it’s not that efficient. Yes, it is not really that portable. And yes, it is noisy. But when you work from home, it makes the difference between hot and anxious due to the high temperatures and quite comfy and working… it’s worth all the money.
Well, if I had to give any tips… make sure to buy a unit rated for your usage. If your room requires about 8800 BTU according to the calculator linked above, get at least a 9000 BTU unit, or even a 10000 BTU one. And if you really want it to do stuff, stick to one room.
And after having it for almost three days now, I have to say that you could probably make it more efficient by insulating the exhaust tube (it gets really hot) and making a hole somehow that fits the tube exactly, so no hot air comes in. Make sure windows and door seal properly so no hot air comes in your room. If you were to go extreme, you could probably fabricate some kind of intake with a tube so it would get fresh air from outside.
I did not modify anything and use it as it is. Just put the tube up a window. If it gets any hotter, I guess I’ll try some of the above ideas for fun. But for now I am happy. It’s summer, and I can work in those godawful days when it was >40 degrees outside and 33 inside. (yes, over 104 Fahrenheit. That’s hot.)
I hope this article has helped you if you were not sure about getting a portable AC. Some people tend to exagerate to the point that it seems they do nothing at all. They do help!
Tech jack of all trades. Programmer, sysadmin and a general tech enthusiast. I work with a lot of stuff, and love learning and talking about new or interesting stuff.