Installing a portable room air conditioner can be easy and may often only involve plugging it in, installing the exhaust hose outside your window, and turning it on. But have you ever wondered how portable air conditioners work?
The basic function of the portable room air conditioner is similar to other air conditioners. The primary goal is also the same — the appliance is meant to extract heat out of the room and transfer the heat outdoors. To accomplish this purpose the portable air conditioners must have three key components: a refrigerant, compressor, and a fan.
The refrigerant’s main role is to cool the air. The compressor’s main role is to compress the refrigerant and the fan moves the air. Every portable air conditioner basically works on this refrigeration cycle.
How a Portable Room Air Conditioner Works
Portable room air conditioners how do they work? The following steps describe how the whole process works.
- The process begins when the fan sucks in hot humid air from the room inside the portable air conditioner.
- The cold coils in the air conditioner will cool down the air. At the same time, the cold coils will also extract the moisture from the air and the moisture condenses on the coils. The heat from the air is transferred to the refrigerant in the coils. The refrigerant turns the liquid to gas.
- The cooled air is then vented back into the room.
- The moisture from the air is then collected and can be vented outside or depending on the type of portable air conditioner you have. You may have to manually remove the bucket.
- At this point the refrigerant is in gaseous form. It’s then compressed by the compressor on the condenser coils. This process releases the heat which is then vented out of the exhaust vent that is usually installed through the window or sliding door.
- This cycle is then repeated over and over until the desired room temperature is achieved.
Different Types of Portable Air Conditioners
There are two types of portable air conditioners. They include the following:
Single-Hose Portable AC Unit
As the name suggests, this type of AC unit has a single hose that is often attached through the window or sometimes even through a wall. It’s simple in functionality, which also makes it easy to install. The single hose works by literally sucking the air out of the room without replacing it. This means that the room will have lower pressure although you may not be able to feel it.
Double-Hose Portable AC Unit
These are less common, mainly because they are more expensive and may not be easy to install. They do however have the advantage of high energy efficiency. The first hose in a double hose portable AC unit brings in fresh air from the outside and the second hose’s purpose is to vent the hot indoor air out. As a result, there is less pressure in the room and the air is better conditioned that when using a single hose portable AC unit.