Portable Air Conditioner Glossary: Terms to Know When Shopping for a Unit

If you’ve been searching for a portable air conditioner or simply wondering if they are the right option for you, you’ve probably encountered some strange terms. To help you with any confusion, we’ve compiled and defined the terms to know when shopping for a portable air conditioner.

Portable Air Conditioning Unit

If you find any terms listed on any of our portable air conditioners that you are unsure of or would like clarification on, please leave us a comment below, refer to our FAQs page and/or give us a call at 1.800.297.6076.

Auto Restart  —  Auto restart functionality ensures that in case of a power outage, the unit will automatically power on once power is regained. This is comforting news to those who use portable air conditioners to cool down server rooms or important equipment.

BTU  —  This acronym stands for British Thermal Unit. This is a scale used to measure cooling and heating power. When used in relation to portable air conditioners, this term denotes cooling power. The higher a unit’s BTU rating, the larger the area the unit can cool.

Carbon Filter  —  Carbon filters sometimes come with your portable air conditioner. They are odor-reducing and smoke-stopping filters. Carbon filters are not reusable and need to be replaced periodically.

CFC-Free  —  This phrase is used to denote that a product does not emit chlorofluorocarbons, which are known to contribute to ozone-depletion. For example, R410a is a CFC-free refrigerant.

CFM  —  This acronym stands for Cubic Feet per Minute. When used in relation to portable air conditioners, this is used to show a differentiation between operation levels. The higher the CFM, the harder the unit is working to cool the space.

Decibel (dB)  —  This term refers to the measurement of sound. Each portable air conditioner has a decibel rating, which lets you know the noise level to expect when the unit is operating. If noise levels are a concern for you, you’ll want to pay attention to each unit’s rating.

  • Recommended – The EdgeStar AP14003W is one of the quietest portable A/C units on the market, featuring an incredibly low dB rating of only 49.

Dehumidification Capacity  —  Many portable air conditioners double as dehumidifiers, working to remove moisture from the air while they cool. If this is the case, the unit should list a dehumidification capacity. This lets you know how much moisture the unit can remove from the air within a 24 hour period.

Dual Hose  —  This is one of two hose configurations available in a portable air conditioner. Dual hose configurations have 2 hoses, one for air intake and one for exhaust. This allows for incoming air to come from both inside and outside of the room, ultimately resulting in a more stable air pressure and more efficient cooling.

EER  —  This acronym stands for Energy Efficiency Ratio. This denotes the efficiency of a portable air conditioner. The higher the unit’s EER, the more energy efficient you can expect it to be. Simplified, this number is generated by dividing by the unit’s cooling power by its wattage.

Exhaust  —  Because they work similarly to any other air conditioning system, all portable air conditioners have to exhaust warm air and moisture. Your portable air conditioner should arrive equipped with everything needed to properly exhaust.

InvisiMist  —  A fairly recent technological innovation, InvisiMist technology removes the need to empty your unit of moisture. Once your portable air conditioner’s reservoir is full of water, the InvisiMist feature will pump the water to the exhaust hose, transform the water to a light mist, and then emit the water through the exhaust.

  • Recommended – The Avallon APAC140HC features InvisiMist Technology to ensure uninterrupted moisture removal in even the most humid of climates

Louvers  —  Air louvers direct the air flow coming from a portable air conditioner. If you are using a fan with your unit, it can be helpful to direct the air flow towards the fan.

Pre-Filter  —  Pre-filters typically come standard with your portable air conditioner. They are reusable, washable filters designed to trap large airborne irritants, such as pet hair and dust.

Programmable Timer  —  Programmable timers allow you to set the unit to turn on or off at a specific time. Many people use this feature to cool down a room before they return home or to have a unit stop cooling after they’ve left the space.

R410a  —  This is a type of refrigerant used in portable air conditioners. Unlike other refrigerants, R410a emissions do not contribute to ozone-depletion.

RoHS  —  This acronym stands for the Restriction of Hazardous Substances. This is an agency that restricts the use of harmful materials sometimes used in product production. All portable air conditioners we offer are RoHS compliant.

Self-Evaporative  —  This is a technology used by portable air conditioners in which the unit evaporates incoming moisture and exhausts it. This greatly limits the amount of water collected within the unit.

Single Hose  —  This is one of two hose configurations available in a portable air conditioner. Rather than having two hoses, a single hose unit has one exhaust hose. These units take in air from the immediate room only.

  • Recommended – The EdgeStar AP12000S is one of the top-rated portable A/C units that features a single hose configuration.

Hopefully this glossary helps alleviate your confusion, so you can continue your search for that perfect cooling solution.

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About Author

Sarah is a savvy urbanite with small town roots. As a foodie, wine lover & adventurer, she loves the bustling city and the great outdoors equally. Her motto is that you don’t have to sacrifice comfort, convenience, or fresh air for small-scale urban living.

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