Kara Zorn on April 30, 2015 6 Comments A/C & Heating, How To, HVAC & Central Air Conditioners, Lifestyle, Lists, Portable Air Conditioners, Tips, Tricks & Life Hacks air conditioner, air conditioning, appliances, central air conditioning, energy, home, home-living, HVAC, list, portable air conditioner, tips During the summer season the only thing worse than the overwhelming heat is the size of your energy bills. Portable air conditioners are a great and affordable way to keep you and your family cool, while simultaneously keeping your bank account from sweating out. Let’s take a closer look at six reasons why you should consider buying a portable air conditioner to help you lower your energy usage, and ultimately, save you money. 1. Energy Efficient Cooling Option One of the more obvious reasons why a portable air conditioning unit can lower your energy bills, is because they can easily be moved from room-to-room. No matter where you are in your house, you can rest assured that you will be in a room that is cool and comfortable. This allows you to use your central A/C less, or maybe not even at all, and still keep it cool in the area of your home that matters the most — the room you and your family are in. Why keep your entire house cool when you nobody is occupying those rooms? It’s a waste of energy and money, which is precisely why a portable air conditioner is an efficient option that allows you to control your indoor temperature in a strategic manner. 2. Better Control of the Temperature In addition to the energy efficiency benefits of portable air conditioners, you can also save money by altering the temperature to a higher setting. There’s no need for you to spend money you would otherwise save by turning the room you want to cool into an icebox. Slowly adjust the temperature of your portable air conditioner to a higher setting over the course of a few days to give your body a chance to acclimate. You may find you’re just as comfortable with a slightly higher—and less expensive—temperature setting as you are with a lower temperature setting. 3. Quick Cooling Devices We’ve all had that time when we’ve had company over, and it seems to get hotter due to the extra body heat from your guests. When this happens, the first thing most of us do is go and crank down the air conditioning unit to get a quick blast of cold air to counteract the extra heat. Unfortunately, if your home is equipped with an HVAC unit, that “quick” blast of cool air isn’t that quick because it’s being dispersed throughout your entire home. A portable air conditioner, however, can provide that quick blast of cool air directly where it’s needed the most. This same quick cooling strategy can also be utilized when you’re cooking in the kitchen. Whether your cooking on the stove or using the oven, they both create excess heat that wouldn’t be there otherwise. Depending on what kitchen appliances you’re using, the temperature of the kitchen is sure to rise, and perhaps increase the temperature in nearby rooms. This extra heat can, in turn, cause your HVAC unit to kick-on to get the temperature back down to where you prefer it. A portable air conditioning unit is a great way to give a specific area in your home a quick boost of cool air, helping get the temperature back to comfortable levels quicker than any other type of air conditioner every could. Click Here to View All Portable Air Conditioners 4. The Right Size Equals Extra Savings Just as you need to make sure you have the right sized HVAC unit to efficiently cool and heat your home, you also need to make sure your portable air conditioner is the right size. Having one that is too large means you’re unnecessarily using energy when you don’t have to. On the flip side, having one that’s too small means that your unit will have to work harder to cool the room to your desired temperatures. Unfortunately, this extra strain on the unit could shorten its overall lifespan. This is why it’s important to figure out the best portable unit for your home. To determine what kind of portable unit you’ll need, measure the square footage of the rooms and figure out the estimated BTU, which stands for “British thermal unit.” Check out our BTU Cooling Capacity Calculator to find the right size for you. While not exactly precise as the cooling capacity calculator, below are some general rules to follow when determining the right size unit for maximizing the amount of money you save on your energy bills: Small Spaces less than 250 sq. ft. — 7,000-8,000 BTUs Mid-Size Spaces ranging from 300-425 sq. ft. — 10,00-12,000 BTUs Large Spaces ranging from 400-525+ sq. ft. — 14,000 BTUs 5. Better Than Window A/C Units If you rely on a window air conditioner to cool your home or apartment, a portable unit may be a better option for you. There are many reasons to support this, but lets highlight the top three: Energy Efficiency: Contemporary portable units are made to be more energy efficient than wall units. Something you have to keep in mind is that window units roast in the sun all day, which can cause premature wear and tear and make them work harder than they have to, which may cause your energy bills to go up. Neighborhood Restrictions: Portable units are also a fantastic option if you live in a neighborhood or building where you aren’t allowed to have a window air conditioner. Whether it’s due to the laws in your city or just an overly-aggressive home owners association, just because you’re not allowed to have a window unit doesn’t mean you have to be uncomfortable. A portable A/C unit is not only an efficient option, it’s also not going to violate any restrictions put in place in your area. Eyesore that Blocks the View & Natural Light: One of the main complaints of window air conditioners is that they are an eye-sore that obscures the view from your window, as well as lessens the amount of natural daylight that comes into your home. Portable air conditioners, on the other hand, take up very little—if any— window space, allowing more natural light in without blocking the view out of your window. 6. Great Options for Older Homes Depending on when and where your home was built, you may have small windows in your home that can’t easily accommodate a window air conditioner, or you may not be willing to lose the view outside of your window to install a window unit. No matter what situation you find yourself in, a portable air conditioner is easily the best solution for you. There’s also the fact that you may have an older home that doesn’t have ductwork, which may call for some extensive and expensive renovations in order for you to install a HVAC system. A portable air conditioner is easier on your budget and eliminates the need for you to make drastic changes to your home. Additional Steps You Can Take to Stay Cool In addition to getting a portable air conditioner, there are several other things you can do to stay cool and save money. Using ceiling fans can help make rooms feel as many as four degrees cooler. Make sure they’re running counterclockwise to push all of that cooled air down rather than clockwise and pulling the air up into the ceiling. For those times where you have no choice but to run your HVAC system to beat the heat, it would be wise to use a programmable thermostat. With a programmable thermostat you can set it so that your air conditioner is at a higher setting when you aren’t at home and at your desired temperature before you arrive home. While you can always change the temperature when you leave and arrive home, there may be times where you forget to adjust it before you leave. Plus, what’s better than coming back to a nice and cool home and knowing that you haven’t been wasting energy and money by having the unit on when the house is empty? You should also make sure your HVAC unit stays well maintained. Have it inspected and serviced before you start using it in the summer and make sure you change your filters every month. Having dirty and clogged filters makes your unit work harder than necessary, which costs you money. Planting shrubs and trees that provide shade for your home and HVAC unit can also save money and keep you cool, as can using drapes to keep the hot rays of the sun from beaming into your home. On a related note, you should also make sure the caulking on your windows and weather stripping around your doors are intact to keep cold air from leaking out, or hot air from finding its way inside. Additionally, make sure all exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen are cut off when you aren’t using them. How to Take Care of Your Portable Air Conditioner Once summer is over, you’ll want to make sure you drain and clean your portable air conditioner so that it’ll be in good shape for next year. It’s best that you store it in a warm space in order that any water that may remain inside doesn’t freeze in the winter and cause damage to the unit. Check the owner’s manual for additional maintenance tips on taking care of your specific model and how to use it properly. Beat the heat and the high costs that come with summer cooling by using a portable air conditioner this summer. Once you see how much money you save, you may be able to take a vacation to a cool destination next summer and skip the heat entirely.