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Portable aircon units - Grin with cat attached
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Portable aircon units Jun. 18th, 2006 11:17 am
Does anyone own one of these? I've been disinclined to get one previously both for cost and energy-usage reasons, but I just shut down in hot weather (how the hell I managed to play poker yesterday I don't know) and I'm forced to admit it might actually make sense to get one.

Plus I just switched my electricity tariff to 100% renewables, so the guilt factor of extra energy use is somewhat reduced there, too.

So:
Do these things work - particularly the ones sold for home use?
How much do they cost to buy? (and are the lower-end ones actually usable?)
How much do they cost to run?
Any recommendations - what should I be looking for?

Thanks in advance!

(ETA: Argh! Some b*d's booked out every streetcar in south London until 6pm!)

Update: been for a look around - looks like around here Homebase, B&Q and Currys do them, and if I get a 9000BTU unit I might even be able to move the thing (anything bigger is simply impossible to lift). Argos appear to only do them online for delivery, currently quoted between 3 and 5 weeks.

Still, it also looks like the week might be a bit cooler, so if I decide to get one I can book a car out after work and pick one up.

From: dennyd
Date: June 18th, 2006 - 10:36 am (Link)
They do work fairly well in a properly sealed reasonably small space. Their effect is still noticeable but fairly weak in an open-plan office without the windows sealed around them.

No idea on pricing etc.
From: cookwitch
Date: June 18th, 2006 - 10:57 am (Link)
We have two here (remember the large white box in the front room?)

We got the one for downstairs from B&Q - I think it was about £250 - and just bought another one for itsjustaname's oven room from Homebase for £150 as they had a deal on.

They work very well indeed. The one we have downstairs cools the whole length of our front room.
From: itsjustaname
Date: June 18th, 2006 - 12:57 pm (Link)
And I can confirm that my £150 one works very nicely!

silenttex did some research into 'air coolers' which are much cheaper than air conditioners, but they don't work in humid weather and aren't really designed for cooling rooms so they look to be a false economy.
From: wechsler
Date: June 18th, 2006 - 03:13 pm (Link)
I did take a brief look at the evaporative air coolers, but I'm sure they can't be very effective (the energy has to *go* somewhere, after all), and any gain from lowering the temperature has to be matched by the making the room feel muggier.

Swamp cooler

From: webcowgirl
Date: June 20th, 2006 - 10:51 pm (Link)
Oh my, we used evaporative coolers in Arizona, and, believe me, they are totally unsuited to London. Ask if you want details (or, more accurately, a recounting of the horrors of swamp coolers).
(no subject) - cybermuppet
From: wechsler
Date: June 18th, 2006 - 03:11 pm (Link)
I'm sure the efficiency of these things isn't fantastic - as you say, something's got to carry the heat away, but even then they quote cooling efficiecies of around 2.5, which isn't bad. Still, I'm suprised there don't appear to be any two-hose versions.

The main issue I'm concerned about is the fact that only the top halves of the windows in this flat open, meaning that the only venting points are about 5 foot from floor level - which appears to be about the maximum length of the hoses supplied.

Unfortunately, this being a rented property, portable units are still just about my only option - unless I agree with the landlord to pay to fit a unit and then leave it behind.
(no subject) - asrana
From: wechsler
Date: June 19th, 2006 - 06:23 am (Link)
2) AFAIK - and from what I've seen sold - the stand-alone ones with no external hose or cooling module must be evaporators, not condensors; evaporation will remove heat energy from the room and turn it into Kinetic/Phase Change energy in the water vapour, but a condensor would have to remove energy from both the water vapour *and* the room and so need an external output of energy.

The ones with hoses do condense, but as an energy-losing side effect, not a primary cooling function. I'm really not so interested in the hoseless type which cool the room at the expense of making it more humid.
From: silenttex
Date: June 19th, 2006 - 10:41 am (Link)
The evaporative coolers don't really cool the room. They produce a stream of air up to 12 degrees cooler than ambient (in optimal conditions), but if you're not in the air stream you won't notice any real difference. (Think sticking a block of ice in front of a fan.)
You'll probably find with all the cheaper portable air-con units that the exhaust hose isn't long enough. The manufacturers seem to assume that everyone has sash windows. The solution is to simply stand the unit on a table or similar, which does limit the portability.
The other advantage to air-con is that most will have a setting that dehumidifies as it cools.