According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), heating and cooling accounts for more than half of the energy used in a typical home, with the average family spending nearly $2,000 a year to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures. The DOE also reports that you can save up to 50% on your cooling bill by investing in a new, energy-efficient air conditioner.
Popular among homeowners as well as business owners, portable air conditioners (PACs) provide substantial energy-savings because they cool only one room instead of the entire home or office. Depending on size and frequency of use, PACs have operating costs that range from $6 to $40 per month.
Also known as spot coolers, portable ACs are easy to set up and move from room to room — so you can spend the evening chilling out in front of the television, and then roll your PAC into the bedroom for a comfortable night's rest.
There's no reason to cool your entire house if you spend most of your time in just one or two rooms. If you have central heat and air, a spot cooler will allow you to turn up the temperature on your thermostat during the summer. For each degree, you'll save about 1% on your electricity bill. For each degree above 78 degrees F, you'll save 3% to 5% on your energy bill. With a PAC, you'll enjoy lower energy costs without sacrificing comfort.
To achieve maximum energy efficiency, it's important to choose the right size portable air conditioner. The PAC's BTU, or British Thermal Unit, rating must be sufficient for the room in which it will be used.
Use these BTU guidelines for a standard room with 8-foot ceilings:
If your ceilings are taller than 8 feet, or if the indoor environment is extremely hot, then you'll need a higher BTU rating. Read our Portable Air Conditioner Buyer's Guide for more information on choosing among BTU ratings.
To get the most out of your portable air conditioner, keep all windows and doors shut tightly. Don't place objects on or near your PAC because you might inadvertently block the airflow.
You can reduce your summertime cooling bills further by following these tips:
When the summer comes to an end, be sure to drain and clean your portable air conditioner. Store it in a safe, warm place so that any trapped water will not freeze and damage the PAC. With these dollar-saving tips and the right maintenance, you'll continue to enjoy energy-savings for years to come.