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Kilowatt Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical Blog

Why We Don’t Recommend Portable ACs for Home Cooling Solutions

A ductless mini split air handler

Many older homes in Southern California weren’t built with central air conditioning in mind. But today it’s hard to imagine making it through our summers in comfort without some type of AC. If you live in a home that doesn’t have central air, you’ve probably looked for a cooling solution, such as a portable air conditioner.

The Basics of the Portable AC

A portable air conditioner is a way to deliver cooling to a room without using a bulky window air conditioner. A portable AC sits in the room on rollers and exhausts hot air through a hose that connects to a window or sliding door.

A portable air conditioner can be moved easily from room to room, so you don’t need to invest in units for every room in the house. They also obscure less of the window they use for exhaust, and you can wheel them around the space so you get the most direct cooling possible. They come in more powerful sizes than available in window ACs.

We Still Don’t Recommend Them

If the portable air conditioner is such an improvement over the old window air conditioner, why don’t we recommend purchasing one? There are a few reasons:

  • They’re expensive to buy. In fact, you may pay twice for a portable unit what you would pay for a window unit with the same cooling power. If you’re looking for a major cooling power upgrade, you can expect steep costs.
  • They’re expensive to run. There are currently no ENERGY STAR-certified portable air conditioners—all portable units are big electricity drainers.
  • They may be portable, but they aren’t exactly convenient. If you have a large home, you may need more than one unit to provide the cooling your family needs. Considering their cost, you may end up paying more on a portable unit than a better alternative.
  • Portable units give off heat because of their compressor, sometimes making the room hotter than it was before.

Yes, There Are Alternatives

How can you enjoy cooling in your older home if you don’t use either window or portable AC units? You may be surprised to find out you have more options for air conditioning in Encino, CA than you realized. In fact, a big part of our job at Kilowatt is helping upgrade older homes with central air conditioning.

One of the best options to consider is a ductless mini split system. This is a type of central cooling that uses small indoor air handlers mounted on the walls in different rooms around the house. Each air handler acts similar to a window AC—except it doesn’t use up a window or protrude through the wall. The units connect through refrigerant and power lines through small holes in the wall to an outdoor cabinet that handles the exhaust. It’s simple to set up a ductless mini split system in most homes.

You can also have a ducted central system put in. Let our technicians survey your home and see where we can add ducts (such as in the attic or the back of closets) so you can enjoy conventional central cooling.

Kilowatt Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical serves Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. Call us for whole-house cooling solutions.

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