A portable air conditioner definitely costs less than typical central air – the cheapest we found was $89! But how well does it WORK?
How it works
There are different kinds of portable air conditioners, so there’s no one way for us to tell you “how it works.” Some portable A/Cs have a hose that leads from the unit to an outside window, and these are usually pretty heavy and are wheeled around rather than carried. (So, a bit less portable.) Other models don’t have a hose and are easy to pick up and take from room to room. As you can imagine, the first type is more effective – it works by sucking in warm air from indoors, and simply blowing it out the window outside! Then, its cooling power is motor-powered. Or, there’s a slight variation of this type of portable A/C, one with two hoses instead of one, so it can bring in fresh air from outside through one hose, and then dump stale indoor air and moisture outside through the other hose.
These sturdier portable A/Cs are usually what someone is talking about if they bring up the idea, and they are in fact a decent alternative if someone doesn’t have central air. However, they are a bit on the expensive side, ranging from about $500 at the cheapest to $3,000 at the priciest, and that’s just to cool down one room. So if you’re only needing to cool down the room you’re in, you might think to yourself, why not get an $89 portable air conditioner? One that uses cold water to operate instead of a hose system?
The $89 portable air conditioner – yay or nay?
The answer isn’t so straightforward … The YouTube channel “Unbox Junkie” tried out a popular portable A/C brand offering its latest model for $89 and gave an honest (not sponsored!) product review. Host Matt Hawkins liked that the portable A/C was easy to use. Just add water, plug the machine in, and that’s it. The way this particular model works is by absorbing cold water into a matrix of filter sheets, and then a motor blows cold air over the layers of thin sheets.
Sounds easy enough! But, there were also some unintended issues, as well as some required upkeep. First of all, Matt noticed that when he first got the product, many of the sheets were not sticking out far enough to actually absorb any water! While this may have just been a fluke, it goes to show that the system is pretty intricate and won’t work its best unless all sheets are touching the water. Also, if the system gets knocked over, all the sheets get completely soaked, and the system will turn off and be unusable for a day or two until the sheets are dry again. Last but not least, there is a bit of expected upkeep with the system. Because it runs on cold water, you have to re-fill the water reservoir when it gets low.
Overall, if you’re only looking to cool down your immediate area, the $89 model isn’t too shabby! According to Matt, it won’t cool down a whole room, only where you’re sitting. So it’s not suitable for more than one person, or especially for a whole family. But if you’re ever in a situation where you’re left without central air, and a heavy and expensive type of “portable” A/C isn’t an option, we do think that cheap portable A/Cs that run on water and electricity are a pretty good option!
If you’re experiencing air conditioner problems in the Bloomfield Hills area, know that you can rely on a portable A/C temporarily … but you definitely need to get the problem fixed by an expert at H.A. Sun. Schedule an appointment online or call (248) 335-4555 for fast, reliable service!