An air conditioner is a system that removes heat from the moisture of the surroundings to improve the comfort of the occupants in that certain space. It is also used to dehumidify rooms filled with heat-producing items or devices. This can be found in the air-conditioning units usually found in our homes or offices. These units come in several types or models.
There are six types of ACs available for commercial use. They are: the central units, ductless mini split units, window units, portable units, hybrid air conditioners, and the unit with geothermal heating and cooling. Each of the air conditioning units have different purposes and for different locations as well. However, most of them are switched on via remote control.
Central Air Conditioners
Central air conditioners are a type of air conditioner unit. They circulate cool air through a system of supply and return ducts. Supply ducts and registers (openings in the walls, floors, or ceilings covered by grills) carry cooled air from the unit to the home. This cooled air becomes warmer as it circulates through the space; then it flows back to the unit through return ducts and registers.
Even these air conditioners have different types in this sub-category. In a split-system central AC, there is an outdoor metal cabinet that contains the condenser and compressor, and an indoor cabinet, which contains the evaporator.
In many split-system air conditioners, this indoor cabinet also contains a furnace or the indoor part of a heat pump. The air conditioner’s evaporator coil is installed in the cabinet or main supply duct of this furnace or heat pump.
A split system is most practical if the home has neither a furnace nor an AC. In a packaged central air conditioner, the evaporator, condenser, and compressor are all located in one cabinet, which usually is placed on a roof or on a concrete slab next to the house’s foundation.
This type of air conditioner also is used in small commercial buildings. Air supply and return ducts come from indoors through the home’s exterior wall or roof to connect with the packaged air conditioner, which is usually located outdoors.
Packaged air conditioners often include electric heating coils or a natural gas furnace. This combination of air conditioner and central heater eliminates the need for a separate furnace indoors. This is most sensible when the house has its own furnace.
Ductless, Mini-Split Air Conditioners
Considered the most commercialized unit, these are the ones you may find most commonly used in households and offices. The ductless, mini-split AC works just like the central units but has different components. It has an outdoor compressor and an indoor air-handling unit.
Such ACs have a conduit connected to it from the outside to the inside, housing the power cable, refrigerant tubing, suction tubing, and a condensate drain. Although they are quite popular, here are some of the advantages and disadvantages that can be laid out.
One of the pros of this unit is, it consumes less space in the home, as it is usually attached to the top corner of one wall. Many models can have as many as four indoor units connected to one outdoor unit.
The amount of units relies on how much heating is required for the building. Each of the buildings or zones has its own thermostat, so you only need to condition on that space when it is occupied, saving energy and money.
Since it is smaller than other ACs, it would be a lot easier to install than those other types. Also, the outdoor unit can be 50 feet away from the indoor evaporator, due to connections with the conduits, which eases the hassle of installing the air conditioner.
This makes it possible to cool rooms on the front side of a building house with the compressor in a more advantageous or inconspicuous place on the outside of the building. Since mini-splits have no ducts, energy losses are decreased by more than half.
Duct losses account to 30% of the housing energy consumption, especially if the ducts are in an unconditioned space such as an attic. Last but not least, mini-split air conditioners ensure safety because from the outside to the inside, it only requires a small hole, which isn’t guaranteed by the window unit AC and the others.
However, even amazing products have disadvantages too, and one of them is the cost. This can be factored with the size, as well as the location of the installer.
All these require large investments for it to function properly over a long period of time. If placed or sized wrongly as well, the maintenance and usage would be very costly.
A window unit air conditioner is sometimes referred to as a room air conditioner, whereby it is attached to a window, unlike ductless mini-split units. They are seen as bulky, but this is because all the components are cased inside.
This refrigeration unit has a double shaft fan motor with fans mounted on both sides of the motor. One at the evaporator side, and the other at the condenser side. The evaporator side faces into the room to release cool air, and the condenser side faces outside to release the hot draft of air from the air circulation.
Physically, it looks different from the other units as well, whereby all the components seem to look like they are packed together. The indoor components are: cooling coil, fan blower, capillary tube, operation panel, filter drier and drain pan.
Then, the outdoor components are: the compressor, condenser coil, propeller fan, and the fan motor. Window units are still in use today, but there are some pros and cons regarding the usage of them. Some pros are they are more popular, and price comparisons are easier to find.
Other than that, window units tend to produce lesser noise, which meant lesser energy wastage, making it more energy efficient. Water drains from the unit to the exterior with no intervention needed, and also sends all hot air to the exterior as the warm air is exchanged for cold.
Smaller ones are able to adequately cool a space of 100-300 sq ft, and larger units can cool up to 650 sq ft of space. If carefully placed by the right window or wall, the AC can cool up to more than one room.
However, this compact device also carries several setbacks. The window used will be fully blocked, preventing view to the outside, and not all windows actually support the AC unit. As the water drips from the unit, it could be a disturbance to the pedestrians.
It is also a hassle to move the AC unit from one place to another. Some windows do not have an external support, which can be a hazard, whereby the window unit can fall off, or can be removed, bringing in another of a security problem.
Then, the panels that come with these units can let in a lot of hot air. Last but not least, the window unit does not help to improve the decoration or the aesthetics of the rooms.
Portable Air Conditioner
About Portable Air Conditioners
A portable air conditioner is a unit that does not require permanent installation. It can be moved around the house,unlike the units mentioned prior. Commonly, portable units have wheels connected to them for ease of movement, and are generally very lightweight. They are most ideal for cooling single rooms.
Also, just as it looks, using a portable AC isn’t as complex as the others, and also it functions the same, which is to exchange warm air for cool air. The setup is also considered simpler than the other models. Usually, the unit comes with a window kit.
A window kit has a window slider and exhaust hose, to expel the heat outwards. Some select model ACs can also be vented into a drop ceiling or through a wall. Since portable units are connected to ducts usually, it has several ways to drain water. One of them is the fully self-evaporative method.
This is for advanced portable ac units. It automatically removes moisture by evaporating it out the hose along with warm air, which makes it more convenient, without needing to remove the condensed water. Another way is the gravity drain and condensate pump.
This requires a drain hose to be connected to the appliance, in order to collect the moisture from condensation, and direct the water into a drain. Lastly, it is the manual removal method, which is when buckets attached to the AC have to be emptied as often as every eight hours, one month once.
Buckets have to be emptied each time before using, which can be a hassle to users in general. Although portable units seem to be the best and most innovative version of the AC units, there are some setbacks as well.
The noise produced by the air conditioning is considered more disturbing than that of the window or central units, where it can drown out other noises, such as the television, or conversation. As mentioned, it is when water needs to be cleared out before using the air conditioner.
Just like its size, the portable unit is capable of cooling a room, but unlike the other units which can cool larger areas of space.
What does it mean by “windowless”?
A windowless air conditioner is a form of portable air conditioner that does not require to be vented out of the window. It is a self-contained unit that does not have to be seated by a windowsill, meaning it does not need a window or an exhaust hose. Windowless air conditioners come with a set of pros and cons as well.
Windowless air conditioners are easy to install and aren’t eyesores. Most of the time, only a single tube is needed for venting. Their designs are practical to the extent that sometimes these AC units can’t be seen from the outside.
Sometimes, the windowless air conditioner is a great addition to the home if additional cooling is needed. This windowless air conditioning unit is considered quite flexible, be it as a separate part or as a main cooling source, it excels in both.
Especially in rooms with sunny areas, or are far from the central unit, this portable AC would do the job. Other than that, this windowless air conditioner can be used to clear out smoke odors. Windowless units also work well to control odors in your home.
Since they are always drawing air from outside, a single hose unit is particularly good at removing smells, like cigar or cigarette smoke. Moreover, this type of windowless air conditioner can also prevent odors from moving into other rooms in your home.
This occurs because air pressure in the room with the unit is lower than air pressure in the other parts of your house. As a result, the odors will be contained.
A windowless air conditioner is actually a better system to use than central air if the goal is to contain cigarette smoke. A central unit can actually move the cigarette smoke around the entire home, while a windowless unit contains the smoke smell. Other than that, this form of portable air conditioner is more cost-effective.
Onto the disadvantages, the windowless air conditioner would take twice the time more to cool a room than the other air conditioner units. They are usually smaller than the other portable ac types. In places with hotter climate, this portable AC isn’t as practical.
Since these ACs take in air from its surroundings, air released will not be as cold as it’s supposed to. Although they are also said to be cost-effective, they are actually costlier than other units. They usually don’t have enough power to push air into multiple rooms, hence they are better for additional sources of cooling.
For a windowless air conditioner placed at the window, it is always taking hot air from the outside, hence it will run for a longer time, meaning higher utility bills. Overall, such portable ACs would lack in warm places around the world.
Top 4 Best Windowless Air Conditioners in 2021
Like all air conditioners, the selections can be made via the size, cooling size by square feet (also sq ft), price, functions, as well as, the BTU. The BTU, British Thermal Unit, is the measurement used for the energy produced by the windowless air conditioner. Some of the best windowless air conditioners work just as well as the other units. To buyers, best windowless air conditioners vary according to their needs.
1. Black + Decker BPACT08WT Portable Air Conditioner, 8,000 BTU
The Black Decker Windowless Air Conditioner is a portable AC that has 8000 BTU. It has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars, costing $329.99. It is quiet and powerful. The 5,000 BTU DOE (8,000 BTU ASHRAE) compact, windowless air conditioner (16.5 x 11.5 x 26 in) will keep users cool and comfortable all summer. An adjustable fan speed cools the air to 65 °F (about 18 °C) at the coolest setting. It is rated at EER 9.1.
Sleep mode makes it extra quiet. This windowless AC is also perfect for small rooms. This floor-standing portable appliance provides steady, fast, effective cooling for rooms up to 150 square feet to 250 square feet. It’s the ideal small air conditioner for dorms, apartments, cabins, campers, offices, bedrooms, or living rooms.
Other than that, this simple and quick to install appliance can be moved around in wheels. Just wheel this portable AC into any room with a double hung or sliding window. Attach the included hose (4’ 11”) & window adapter, & plug it into an outlet! At the end of the season, just unhook & store.
Next, it is easy to use and clean. The simple remote control & top-mounted LED display with a 24-hour timer allows you to precisely control the air temperature. To clean the filter, just slide it out twice a month, rinse it thoroughly under running water, & put it back.
Last but not least, this AC has 3-in-1 FUNCTIONALITY. It combines 3 energy efficient functions for all the cooling & ventilation needs with cool, fan, & dehumidifying modes all in one machine. It is also bucket-less, self-evaporating operation makes the living space cool, clean and dry. Hence, it is also an evaporative cooler.
2. Homelabs Portable Air Conditioner – 14000 BTU Quiet AC with Removable Washable Filter
This windowless air conditioner model is able to cool 600 square feet of space. It is rated at 4.3 out of 5 stars. It is a portable, quiet, energy efficient windowless air conditioner.
Users can experience a cool and relaxing day at home with the hOmelabs windowless air conditioner. It cools quietly and is perfect for a 450 sq ft to 600 sq ft room with a horizontal window opening. It is also equipped with an automatic vertical swing function that evenly distributes airflow throughout the room.
This model is EASY TO INSTALL, NO HEAVY WINDOW UNIT TO LIFT – The windowless air conditioner measures 17.9 x 15 x 30.7 inches and has wheels, so it can be easily moved to any room that has a window accessible.
Simply attach the hose and the window slide adapter, plug in the power supply, and you’re good to go. Most customers are able to install in 8 minutes or less. At the end of a season or when you don’t need it, simply unhook the unit and store it in your closet, basement or garage.
Also, this windowless air conditioner has a WASHABLE AIR FILTER AND REMOTE CONTROL to keep your air clean and your windowless air conditioner running efficiently with the included washable filter. The filter indicator light will illuminate to remind when to clean the air filter. We recommend cleaning the filter approximately once every two weeks. The unit also comes with a remote control to quickly set your desired temperature, fan speed, change cooling modes or activate the sleep feature. It has a rating of EER 10.1.
3. Frigidaire 12,000 BTU Cool Connect Smart Air Conditioner, Rooms up to 550- Sq Ft
This windowless air conditioner can cool up to 550 sq ft of space. Working at 12000 BTU, it is powerful for a windowless air conditioner. It is equipped with a Wi-Fi function for smart controlling, by using the Frigidaire app.
With a 360-degree airflow, you can be sure that this air conditioner is able to circulate cooler air in an upwards and continuous spiral, ensuring it reaches every corner of your room faster. Since cold air is naturally denser than hot air, the cold air is shot upwards to ensure that hot air is eliminated the soonest.
This device also offers 3 cooling speeds and 3 fan speeds, with a 24-hour on/off timer. Powered at 1090 watts, there’s also an auto cool function, and an energy saver mode for efficient energy savings. There is also a 1 year warranty and weighs only 66 pounds.
It has an average review of 3.7 from 3 aspects, which are easy to install, easy to use, and packaging. By making this purchase, you won’t have to worry about a new air conditioner for a couple of years, and that means you’ll be saving more than you can imagine!
4. Honeywell 525-790CFM Portable, Fan & Humidifier with Ice Compartment & Remote
This model can cool up to 320 sq ft of space. It is rated 4.0 out of 5 stars, costing $272.25, discounted from $279.99. It is an indoor evaporative AC or swamp cooler ideal for use in the southwest and Midwest regions of the US.
It performs best in hot/dry climates where humidity levels are <60%. The super-low power consumption of 288W & powerful 525-790CFM airflow is ideal for spot cooling small to medium spaces such as living room, bedroom, den, covered patio, and garage.
The Carbon Dust Filter, Remote Control, Low water alarm, energy saving timer, Adjustable humidification dial & Ice compartment. This windowless air conditioner has a detachable tank for easy maintenance. The moist, cool breeze can cool you down & be used as humidification during the winter months.
Lastly, it is neither just an AC nor a fan, but an evaporative cooler that reduces temperature through water evaporation, which mimics the comfort of a cool lake breeze in your home.
The best windowless air conditioners listed above can be rated by price, cooling space (by sq ft) and rating. The product with the best rating is the Black Decker one, with 4.5 out of 5 stars. The Black Decker one cools the smallest area (150 to 250 sq ft) and the one that cools the most area is the hOmelabs one (660 sq ft).
Since some of them are not in stock, the Honeywell product concludes as cheapest and the Black Decker as most expensive. While all the factors are taken into account, it is just as important to precisely meet the buyers’ needs.