I live in a functionally obsolete house. It was built in 1940, and let’s just say that modern comfort hadn’t quite been invented back then. I live at an elevation of around 4200 feet above sea level, and growing up in the 1980’s no one had air conditioning because we didn’t need it. Opening windows and turning on ceiling fans was more than enough to cool off the house, and there was always a cool breeze even during the hottest hours of the day.
I don’t know if global warming has made it seem hotter where I live, or if it’s just because more and more people are moving to my area. This of course brings more cars, more paving and construction, etc. But whatever it is, there is no question as to whether air conditioning is required anymore.
My first air conditioner was one of those oh-so-attractive window units that obscures the window and forces you not to put anything in front of that window. It was an eyesore and it wasted space. But what can you do?
Well, I saw this air conditioner on QVC a few months ago. It was the Today’s Special Value, and I paid just over $400 for it (plus about 30 bucks shipping, of course!). I was interested in it for several reasons, but the main two reasons were that it is portable and it is both a heater and an air conditioner.
If you’ve ever seen one of those dehumidifiers that people keep in their basements then you’ll know about how big this unit is. It is on castors and is very easy to move, even though it’s about 80 pounds heavy. There are vents on the front and top, and a collection bucket on the bottom of the front: it also works as a dehumidifier!
There is an adjustable window adaptor that came with it, as well as two hoses that attach to the back of the unit. It was easy to install in one of my windows: I simply opened the window, put the adaptor in the window and adjusted the sides so it was a snug fit (a little foam insulation helped to ensure no bugs would get in) and then closed the window down on the adaptor. There are two round holes on this adaptor, and that’s where you attach the two hoses.
The other ends of the hoses go in the air conditioner, and they are about five feet long from the wall to the unit. They’re almost like a straw that can be collapsed and expanded: you can shorten them if you need them out of the way or you can open them up to their full length to move the air conditioner more into the center of the room.
The controls on top of this air conditioner are easy to read and figure out. You can select the temperature on the digital screen and choose between the common options of fan, cool, heater, etc. The instructions did say that the unit should be plugged into a dedicated line: it’s a regular 110 three-pronged electrical plug, but it’s still a good idea for safety reasons and to avoid overloading your circuits.
I have used this both in my basement and on my main floor. I love the portability, and the fact that if I’m not using it I can push it back against the wall. All the other air conditioners I’ve ever owned have been window units, and not only are they too heavy to remove each winter when they’re not being used, but they get dirty. I hate cleaning out the filters and trying to seal off the cracks around them to keep bugs out.
Last winter (even though I’d had my windows replaced with energy-efficient ones) there was a regular breeze that came in around the air conditioner in my dining room: you could see the curtains blowing in the wind. I avoided that room of the house because it was just too cold. With this air conditioner I can easily take the lightweight plastic adaptor out of the window in the winter (or whenever else I want to remove it) and let my windows do their jobs.
It is also much easier to clean than a traditional air conditioner. I don’t know about you, but every spring/summer when I turn on my window air conditioners I have to jump out of the way so I don’t get hit by all the dust, dirt and debris that is blown out of the machine when it’s started up for the first time after sitting idle all winter. That is just gross!
When I save up enough money I’m going to buy another portable air conditioner like this one. It’s not much more expensive than most bigger air conditioners, but you really can’t put a price on the independence it gives me because I can move it myself, and I don’t have to wait around for a man to show up to move air conditioners for me.
This unit also allows me to have the prerogative to change my mind. I can move it to whichever room in the house is the warmest, or the coldest, or wherever I might be working for the day.
The box says that it puts out 12, 000 BTU for cooling and 9, 000 BTU for heating, and it can be used to cool a room up to 400 square feet and heat a room up to 300 square feet. It also has a remote, although for me I think it’s just one more thing I could potentially lose!
There is also a timer on the machine: I haven’t used it yet because I primarily work from home so I’m around most of the time. If I leave I usually turn it off, but you can set the timer to turn on or off up to 24 hours from the time you set it.
As for noise, there is a considerable amount when it’s running. It runs through cycles and the noise level goes up and down as the compressor goes on and off, but the fan is on all the time so it’s never completely silent. I’m a person who doesn’t like empty silence anyway so it doesn’t bother me, but you do have to turn the tv up a bit to hear it over this (depending on which window or room I have it in, of course!).
Overall I'm pleased. This is a handy unit that does the work of three different machines and is simple to move around. I hope to get many more years of use out of it!