Homeowners may live in an older home that doesn’t offer central cooling. Installing central air can be an expensive investment, and some homeowners just don’t want to pay the price. Yet, depending on the climate, that home could face high temperatures in the summer.
Homeowners’ could also face a broken central cooling system. In both cases, fans can only provide so much comfort.
To cool off the home, homeowners might opt for window or portable air conditioners. These small units can provide more relief than a fan, but are portable air conditioners energy efficient?
Central heating and cooling systems can be extremely energy efficient; homeowners just need to look for the ENERGY STAR label and find the system that works for the budget and needs. ENERGY STAR labels also can be found on window air conditioning units. This means that finding the best and most energy-efficient room air conditioner is a breeze—a cool breeze!
However, homeowners also may notice units that are denoted as ‘portable air conditioners.’ These are smaller air conditioners that, like a small heater, can be unplugged and easily moved from room to room.
Unfortunately, portable air conditioners do not include the ENERGY STAR label and finding the most energy-efficient options may lead to homeowners doing a bit of research.
Are Room Air Conditioners the Same as Portable Air Conditioners?
ENERGY STAR provides a list of the most energy –efficient room air conditioners. Are these models the same as portable air conditioners?
Not necessarily. Some homeowners may consider any air conditioner that isn’t a central air conditioning system as portable. Most of these units fit in the window but some fit through the wall. These units aren’t really designed to be moved from room to room.
Portable air conditioners are smaller. They can easily be unplugged and placed in a new room. These smaller options might not be used for long-term cooling. Instead, on really hot days they may be used for additional cooling in older homes or in rooms that just get warmer than other parts of the home.
Are Portable Air Conditioners Expensive?
Portable air conditioners are available in a range of sizes, and their price may vary by size or even brand. These air conditioners can be found in most home improvement stores, though, and won’t be a huge investment for homeowners.
Prices may start at around $300 and go up from there. To ensure that the unit keeps the space cool, homeowners will need to choose the right size to cool their room. Stores like Home Depot let homeowners choose the square footage of their room to find the best portable air conditioner for their needs. Sort the results by price to find the best option for the budget.
The Most Energy Efficient Portable Air Conditioner
Homeowners who just don’t have the time to independently research different portable air conditioners to find the best options for energy efficiency can turn to the site Learn Metrics for help. Learn Metrics compiled a list of the most energy efficient portable air conditioners.
The site’s top pick for the most energy-efficient option was the Whynter ARC-14S Dual-Hose. The model sells for about $500.
An Easy Way to Find the Most Energy Efficient Portable Air Conditioner
For homeowners who are trying to determine the most energy-efficient portable air conditioner should look at one number: the Energy-Efficient Ratio (EER). Higher numbers denote better energy efficiency.
All models will include the EER. When shopping online, the EER also will be noted somewhere in the product description. Homeowners may have to scroll down to find the information, though.
Why Use a Portable Air Conditioner?
Homeowners may use a portable air conditioner for a number of different reasons. Some homes don’t offer central heating, and these units could provide cooling comfort to the home during hot summers.
Some rooms also could get warmer than others. Small portable units could be used to add a bit more cool air to the room.
Also, a central cooling system could suddenly break down. Homeowners may purchase a small portable unit to keep the home cool in the interim.
While an energy-efficient central air conditioning system may be the most energy-efficient choice for keeping the home cool, homeowners who need to infuse the home with cold air and who don’t have access to central AC can use a portable energy-efficient air conditioner instead. However, when homeowners need to provide cooling for many large rooms in a spacious home, portable air conditioners might not be the ideal choice or the most energy-efficient option. Homeowners could opt for window units or more permanent cooling solutions to maximize energy efficiency.