Many people wonder if their new portable air conditioner can also function as a heater. Most live in climates where temperatures require both a heater and air conditioner at different times of the year. An ideal solution would be a unit that can cater to all your climate control needs, without having to spend a small fortune.
So then, do portable air conditioners heat? This is not a simple question to answer. Strictly speaking, the function of a portable air conditioner is to cool down the area. It draws in warm air, cools it, and pumps the cool air back into the room. But in considering this, there are two especially important questions that you need to keep in mind. Firstly, where does the warm air go? And secondly, what about the unit itself heating up from the energy it exerts while doing its job?
How an AC unit works
Once an air conditioner draws the warm air in, it cools it down before expelling it again. This is usually how most portable air conditioners work. Some units make use of an exhaust hose, which, when placed by an open window or door, pumps warm air outside. This exhaust hose is also where hot air created by the unit whilst it is functioning goes. The idea being that pump the hot air outside, and the cool air inside, to cool down the room.
Now think about this for a few moments. If you want to use your portable air conditioner as a heater, how might you accomplish this? How could you use your existing unit to warm your home without needing to buy a second one? Knowing the above facts about how portable air conditioners work, have you solved it?
Turning your portable AC unit into a heater
Imagine your portable air conditioners exhaust hose did not lead outside the room. Imagine you are using the unit in a closed space, with the hose pumping exhaust air right back into where it initially took the warm air from. What might the effect on the space be?
With nowhere for the warm air to go, and the heated exhaust air from the unit working so hard staying within the room, the area will not be cooled down. Instead, it will become warmer. This would of course be horribly counter-productive if you are trying to cool your home, but if you’re trying to warm it up, it becomes a handy little life hack. Simply use your portable air conditioner as normal but keep the exhaust hose inside the room and make sure all windows and doors are kept closed. There you have it, your portable air conditioner has now magically become a portable heater.
Noting that portable air conditioners come with specific use and safety instructions that direct you to make sure the exhaust hose is leading somewhere outside, many may wonder if this method of turning your air conditioner into a heater is potentially dangerous. And this is a valid question. Nobody wants to be using any electrical appliance in an unsafe manner and risking damage or injury to themselves, their family, or their home. Likewise, nobody wants to bear the cost of needing to replace a unit that broke down because it was not being used correctly as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
Never fear. This method for turning your portable air conditioner into a heater is completely safe and risk free. As with any electrical device, it’s always recommended to not leave it unattended. And be aware that you should not put anything too close to the exhaust hose and should never obstruct it anyway. If you stick to these safety precautions, your portable air conditioner will be safely heating your home in no time.