How to Lower Your Energy Bills With a Portable Air Conditioner

Many people wonder, Why should I buy a portable air conditioner if I already have central AC?

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, central air conditioning accounts for 5% of all energy consumption in the United States and costs homeowners over $11 billion a year. Rather than give in to the ever-increasing energy costs, change the way you think about home cooling. By using a portable air conditioner, you can lower your energy bills without sacrificing comfort. Here’s how:

The Power and Freedom of "Spot Cooling"

Most people spend a majority of their time in only one or two rooms of their home, yet Americans spend money cooling their entire home. The beauty and simplicity of a portable air conditioner in your home is that it gives you the ability to cool just one area. This practice is called spot cooling.

Say, for example, you spend most of your time in the den after you come home from work. You can set your central air conditioner to, say, 82 and then have your portable air conditioner in the den with you, cooling the room to your preferred temperature. Portable air conditioners average about $1 per day to run, and the typical “cooling season” in the U.S. is about 130 days. So, by setting your central air conditioner thermostat to 82°, or even turn it off altogether, you will shave a significant amount off your electric bill. Plus, that portable air conditioner can go with you from room to room.

When you are finished in the den and ready to turn in for the evening, you can bring the portable air conditioner with you to the bedroom, set it, and sleep comfortably. That is just one example of the benefits of spot cooling, of course. When you have the ability to make specific spaces comfortable without using your central HVAC, the opportunities for savings are endless.

Supplemental Cooling

There are many instances beyond extreme outdoor temperatures when the increased use of your HVAC is necessary. For example, when entertaining friends, rather than adjusting your central cooling system to account for the extra body heat, you can set up a portable air conditioner in your entertaining space.

The same logic applies when you’re cooking up a storm in your kitchen. With the stove, oven, and other appliances hard at work, you may feel tempted to turn down your central AC to make the area a more bearable workspace. Instead, consider placing a portable air conditioner in your kitchen area. Without having to make adjustments to the temperature in your entire house, you’ll be able to remain cool and collected while you channel your inner chef.

Individual Room Air Conditioners

Whether it’s due to a room add-on, drafty windows, computer equipment, or cooking, there are always areas in homes, apartments or offices that simply won’t get cool enough. Instead of adjusting your central air to compensate for this stubborn space, use a portable air conditioner to cool down that particular area.

By not having to cool the entire house just to get one room to a comfortable level, you’ll save loads on your energy bills. In the same way a space heater provides a little extra heat to those rooms that just won’t get warm enough, a portable air conditioner will provide that boost of cool air to keep any space comfortable.

A Note on Energy Efficiency Ratings (EER)

When you’re looking to save money and stay cool, it’s a good idea to pay attention to the EER of your prospective portable air conditioner. This rating will help you determine just how energy efficient the unit is. The higher the EER, the more efficient you can expect the portable air conditioner to be.

It’s quite clear that portable air conditioners, even if you already have a central cooling system in your home, are powerful investments. Whether through spot cooling, supplemental cooling, or individual room cooling, using a portable AC can ultimately save you money.

Kara Zorn

About Author

Kara Zorn is a wife and working mom who loves life hacks that help her schedule allow for as much quality family time as possible. She enjoys cooking with locally sourced food and produce and recently took up brewing Kombucha.

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