Kara Zorn on May 1, 2014 62 Comments When shopping for a portable air conditioner, it is normal to have a few questions. After over a decade of getting to know this versatile product and offering one of the largest selections of portable AC units online, we want to be able to answer all of your questions before you even have to ask them. Click Here to View All Portable Air Conditioners Based on our experience, here are the most frequently asked questions about portable air conditioning units, along with their answers. What is a portable air conditioner? Do all portable air conditioners need to vent? What happens to the moisture that is pulled out of the air? How noisy is a portable air conditioner? What factors should I consider when looking for a portable air conditioner? Do portable air conditioners require any unusual power accommodations? Are portable air conditioners energy efficient? How long is the exhaust hose that the portable air conditioner comes with? Can I vent a portable air conditioner out a dryer vent? Can I cool my garage using a portable air conditioner? Can I use a portable air conditioner to cool my server room? If you have any questions that you don’t see listed here, please leave us a comment below or give our product experts a call at 1.800.297.6076. 1. What is a portable air conditioner? A portable air conditioner is an air conditioner that is mobile. Unlike window, through-the-wall, or central air conditioning units, portable units do not require permanent installation. Commonly, these units have caster wheels for easy portability, are relatively lightweight and are generally about 28″ to 34″ tall. 2. Do all portable air conditioners need to vent? The short answer is yes. Much like any air conditioning system, all portable air conditioners need to be vented in some form or fashion. Portable air conditioners pull in warm air, cool it, and expel the cooled air out of the front of the unit and the remaining warm air and moisture out of the back of the unit. It is this warm air and moisture that needs to be vented out of the room you are currently cooling. The easiest and most popular way to vent your portable AC unit is through a nearby window, which is why each and every portable air conditioner we offer on our site includes an easy-to-use window snap kit. 3. What happens to the moisture that is pulled out of the air? Since portable air conditioners pull moisture as well as heat out of the air, many people are concerned about where the water goes. Many units, specifically all EdgeStar and Koldfront portable air conditioners, have self-evaporative technology. This innovative technology internally processes and evaporates the collected moisture and then exhausts it out of the back of the unit. In climates that are extra humid, some water may collect in a reservoir located inside the unit. In this case, you can either manually empty the reservoir when it is full or use the integrated gravity drain. With that said, due to recent advancements in portable air conditioner technology, the need to drain is increasingly rare. 4. How noisy is a portable air conditioner? Because of the differences in personal preference, this can be a hard question to answer. Since portable air conditioners contain both a compressor and fan, they sound similar to a window air conditioning unit, which most of us have heard at one time or another. With that said, you want to pay attention to a portable air conditioners decibel rating (dB level) which is located on each product description page. Most units fall anywhere between 48 dB (which is the same noise level as falling rain) and 60 dB (which is the same noise level as a normal conversation). 5. What factors should I consider when looking for a portable air conditioner? BTUs/Room Size — A portable air conditioner’s BTUs tell you how powerful the unit is. This directly affects the room size and how quickly the unit will be able to cool. The higher the BTU, the larger the area the portable air conditioner can efficiently cool. Single or Dual Hose Design — Single-hosed units expel warm air and moisture and are easy to install. Double-hosed units, which are also fairly easy to install, expel warm air and moisture while simultaneously pulling in more air to cool. Read More: The Differences Between Dual Hose vs. Single Hose 6. Do portable air conditioners require any unusual power accommodations? All of the portable air conditioners that we carry operate on 115 Volt / 60 Hertz. This is standard household voltage. These units come with a “three prong” grounded plug. 7. Are portable air conditioners energy efficient? A good rule of thumb is to look at the Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) of the air conditioner you are purchasing. The higher the EER, the more energy efficient the portable air conditioner is. Also, by cooling specific areas, your portable air conditioner gives you the freedom to use your central air conditioning system less, if at all, which will significantly lower your energy costs. 8. How long is the exhaust hose that the portable air conditioner comes with? Exhaust hose lengths vary by model, but generally they are 4-7 feet in length. They are made of a temperature-resistant plastic reinforced with metal. 9. Can I vent a portable air conditioner out a dryer vent? Generally, this is not recommended by the manufacturer, especially if the diameter of the vent hose is greater than the diameter of the dryer vent. A standard dryer vent is 4″. Most portable air conditioners have 5″ exhaust hoses. Some units have smaller diameter vent hoses, and these units may be vented out a dryer vent. However, you should not use the external part of the dryer vent that has flaps, as the compressor is not strong enough to push these flaps open. If you need to cover that exterior opening of the vent, we recommend using a screen. 10. Can I cool my garage using a portable air conditioner? Although it is not typically recommended that you do so, there are a few factors that, when manipulated, can accommodate this cooling set up. We would recommend you read the following article for more information. Read More: Using a portable air conditioner in your garage 11. Can I use a portable air conditioner to cool my server room? Although these are not industrial machines, this is an excellent use for a portable air conditioner. Even with central air, computer server rooms have more robust cooling needs than other parts of the building tend to require. A portable air conditioner, such as EdgeStar’s AP14009COM, works well to boost the cooling in a server room.