I NEED a portable air conditioner - any suggestions?

I live on the top floor of a 3-story courtyard building. Heat rises. My living room and bedroom face West and get the full force of the searing afternoon sun. By the time I get home after work it’s invariably hotter inside my apartment then it is outside, even with the windows open and the fan blowing all day.

My old window A/C unit fizzled out at the end of last Summer. So, thinking I could save a few bucks, I tossed it in favor of box fans and open windows, figuring I could get by without it this year. It had been a relatively cool Summer; I live in Chicago; how bad could it get?

I was horribly wrong. I spent most of the past week literally stuck to the couch and taking cold showers. (No, I was not watching porn.)

So I need a new air conditioner.

I want a portable one because window units are a huge pain in the ass to install every Summer and uninstall every Fall. And I’d like the ability to easily move it from my living room during the day to my bedroom at night. The rooms adjoin so cords/hoses shouldn’t be a problem. The combined living/bedroom area is roughly 500 square feet, so I think I’m in the 10,000 BTU range.

Any experience/suggestions? My sweat-soaked body* thanks you in advance.

You do realize that a portable a/c needs a place to place the heat it just pumped out of the room, normally through a air tube that goes through a window.

Due to the price and the inefficency of portable a/c’s I really think you would be better with a window unit.

(again as I pointed out in another thread you want or desire a portable a/c - you don’t ‘need’ it)

Many portable air conditioners have ventilation hoses and the like.

This one is pretty good: http://www.brilliantcooler.com/conditioner/portable_conditioner_alw12000e.htm

Oops, misunderstood Kanicbird’s post. Yeah, more cost efficient just to buy two window air conditioners. Since most portable ones run around 500 dollars.

Plus, as I recall from shopping for small A/Cs a few years ago, the portable units use 3 or 4 times the electricity.

BW, you mention the sun in west facing windows heating the place up while you’re at work despite leaving the windows open. Do you have good window coverings? Have you tried closing the place up in the morning when you leave for work? I live in an apartment with west facing windows, too. My place is much cooler at 5 or 6 pm if I close the place up in the cool of the morning. That won’t help you much on weekends of course. And it may not work as well if you have smaller daily temperature swings where you live.

But why do you need to uninstall it? Is it something to do with the cold winters you experience in Chicago?

That’s your problem right there. When the heat and humidity is that bad, you want to CLOSE your windows. Close them up, pull the blinds, close the drapes, and even cover the windows with sheets if you have to. Then maybe put on a fan, and keep the rooms as dark as possible.

I got a 6000 btu window unit from Kmart for a hundred bucks that cools 400 feet nicely.(adjoining rooms as you have) With small/light units like that, a temp install is easy, hell, the window frame itself holds mine. You don’t need outside brackets/supports. I realize 10000 btu will be heavier, but for a quick fix for a couple months, you might go with the smaller lighter unit.

If it needs support from the inside, just put some 1x4 boards between the AC flange and the window frame, and duct tape as required. :slight_smile: As I said this is a temp install, and looks don’t matter.

I should also point out that when a manufacturer says a say 6000 btu unit is good for only 150 sq ft, IME that is wrong. My 6000 btu AC cools 400 sq ft and if I leave it on all night, the room temp is 65 in the morn. (While outside temps here are now ranging from 100 day to 80 night.) Not bad for a hundred bucks.

And looking at the electric bill, it seems to be adding maybe ten bucks a month, worth it to me.

Thanks for all the insight! So far I’m not hearing much love for portable A/C units. To answer some questions:

I would love to have two window units but my building is ancient and the power supply is a little sketchy. When I used to run my old single unit I had to turn it off before I ran the microwave or else I would trip the circuit breaker. So I fear two window units running would probably make this place go up in flames! (Yeah, I know, I should move, but the location is fabulous and I’m in the lease until May.)

I have blinds on all the windows and they are always down to block out the sun as well as the peering eyes of the neighbours across the courtyard. I’ve tried closing all the windows during the day but then this place just gets stuffy as Hell. On the upside, this place is quite toasty during the Winter.

Oh, and I have to remove window units each Fall due to building policy. If it was up to me I’d much rather leave them in all year rather than lugging them down three flights of stairs to put into storage.

Sounds like I just need to stick it out this Summer and then move to a better building next Spring.

:smack: :wally

My brother has a portable and it works great. I’ve lived in an apartment that was the top floor and got full sun. My fish aquarium was somewheres around 100F when I got home. You need to get the next size up for the harsher conditions, or it won’t cool down enough, especialy if you have a 105F day out. like last week. You may need one that can do 12,500 BTUat least, You have to acount for the height of the ceilings also.

I looked into getting one of these too. I concluded that because I could buy a very small window unit at Wal-Mart for 90$, when the cheapest portable unit I could find was $275, the portable units weren’t worth it.

I just bought a portable two weeks ago because it would be very difficult to install a window air conditioner. (I have these four-foot-tall windows that slide open sideways, which would have required a bit of carpentry and a second set of hands to install). The portable came with a little venting kit that fit into my window vertically, taking all of five minutes and one wood screw. My desire not to drop an air conditioner three stories overrode the price difference between the portable and the window units.

The portable may be less efficient and more costly than a window air conditioner (or so I’ve read everywhere), but it keeps my large-ish bedroom quite comfortable. The only inconvenience is that it has a water tank to collect the condensation that has to be emptied about once per day. (It has a little float switch that turns off the compressor when the water’s full, which seems to work well). It also has a remote, on/off timers, etc.

I think it’s working out for me, but once again, I have weird windows and am not very handy about installing things.

I have a portable 9000 BTU air conditioner, which is more than I need for my ~130 sq ft room, but I was hot and desparate when I bought it last summer. I would have gotten a window unit, but I’m not actually supposed to have an air conditioner in here, so I needed to be sneaky.

It has wheels, so moving it from room to room shouldn’t be a problem. Just make sure you can put it near a window in each room and you should be fine.

I got one for my office, which is not air-conditioned, and ran it before the word came down from on high that they are not allowed. :mad: I would definitely recommend a window unit over this one. It feels cool only when it’s pointed right at you. The reservoir fills up quick and when it’s full the A/C drops down to the fan setting. The good part is it has fan, dehumidifer and space heater functions in addition to the air conditioner one.

I’ve been looking into solutions to deflect the full sun, and am thinking either the windshield shades from cars, or a piece of Aluminet which is supposed to deflect sun and heat.