Choosing between a single hose portable air conditioner and a dual hose portable air conditioner (PAC) is largely dependent on your personal preferences and the size of the space you wish to cool. They’re also a better option for people who want a portable air conditioner that can be carried from room to room with ease and then stored at the end of the season. After all, both of these models work similarly as they tend to use the same technology, yet each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
With that said, installing a portable air conditioner in your house is a perfect option for those who are unable to install a permanent window air conditioner due to design limitations or building restrictions. These units do not require a permanent installation, they have caster wheels for mobility, lightweight, and 28” to 34” high. The hoses discharge warm air and moisture via the window and held in place with adjustable frames. Exhaust hose lengths vary by model and range from 4 to 7 feet. The material used is temperature-resistant plastic fortified with metal.
If you are in the market for a PAC there are two types to choose from, single-hose and dual-hose.
Single-hose air conditioner
In general, a single-hose portable air conditioner is best suited for smaller rooms. The reason being is because if the area you want to cool is on the larger side, the unit will have to work much harder to cool the space. This will usually result in higher energy costs and an increased likelihood of mechanical breakdowns or air conditioning repair. Furthermore, many single-hose portable air conditioners will be unable to provide sufficient cooling for your rooms once they get over a certain size (of course, this depends on the device’s specifications and the climate of your area). Conversely, if the space you want to cool isn’t too spacious, then the single-hose system should be able to provide sufficient cooling without the need to expend large amounts of energy.
So how does it work? The single-hose air conditioner yanks warm air and moisture from the room and expels it outside through the exhaust. A negative pressure is created when the air is pushed out of the room, the air needs to be replaced. In turn, any opening in the house like doors, windows, and cracks will draw outside hot air into the room to replace the missing air. The air is cooled by the unit and ejected into the room.
The PAC can be moved to a certain area in the house that needs to be cooled. If it is in a room with computers or a mini-fridge consider a more powerful unit. Balancing air is very important, it can also be done by HVAC zoning.
Need more info? Read more about balancing air here.
Additionally, the single-hose versions are usually less expensive than their dual-hose counterparts, so if you are price sensitive, this should be considered. However, the design is much simpler and the bigger the room gets, the less efficient the device will be.
Dual-hose air conditioner
In general, dual-hose portable air conditioners are much more effective at cooling larger spaces than the single-hose variants. For starters, dual-hose versions operate more quickly as it has a more efficient air exchange process.
This portable air conditioning unit has two hoses, one functions as an exhaust hose and the other as an intake hose that will draw outside hot air. The air is cooled and expelled into the area. This process heats the machine, to cool it down the intake hose sucks outside hot air to cool the compressor and condenser units. The exhaust hose discard warmed air outside of the house.
The only drawback is that these systems are usually more expensive, and due to having two hoses instead of one, they are slightly less portable and more difficult to set up, yet most people tend to agree the investment in the extra hose is definitely worth the extra cost.
One thing to bear in mind is that the dual hose conditioners tend to be louder than single hoses. Once again, this depends on the model you purchase and its specifications, but it’s definitely worth mulling over if you need to keep the noise down in your area.
Are portable air conditioners energy efficient?
All portable air conditioner’s energy efficiency is measured using an EER score. The EER rating is the ratio between the useful cooling effect (measured in BTU) to electrical power (in W). It’s for this reason that it is hard to give a generalized answer to this question, but typically, portable air conditioners are less efficient than permanent window units due to their size.
Tip: If you picture your room like a refrigerator, the last thing you’d want to do is keep the door open; the same goes for the room you’re trying to cool. Close doors and windows to keep your room well sealed to get the most out of your air conditioner. By shutting blinds and curtains, you can reduce the amount of heat that reaches your home through windows and doors too. In other words, you have to help your PAC to save money for you.
Benefits of Portable Air Conditioners
Beat the heat with a portable air conditioner. A favorite among cool seekers, in recent years the demand for this equipment soared because of its convenience, versatility, and cost-efficiency.
Here are the benefits of owning a PAC:
- The price of a portable air conditioner is lower than the window type air conditioner.
- You don’t need to pay for the services of a technician. Just look for an exit for the exhaust and you’re good to go.
- Roll your PAC to any part of the house which needs cooling, it is lightweight and easy to carry.
- Unlike the central air conditioner, a PAC will only cool the place that you wish. It is smaller with a low operating cost.
- Aside from cooling it dehumidifies the air. Fret not, if you suffer from an allergy the PAC will eliminate the allergens like mold and dust. There are PAC models with a “de-humidify only” feature that will remove the moisture from the area without cooling.
- Some PACs have built-in heaters so you can enjoy the functionality the whole year. Others have high-efficiency filters to clean the air.
Comparison: Single-hose vs. Dual Hose Air Conditioners
When the thermostat starts to rise, you begin to warm uncomfortably and tempted to buy any air conditioner that comes your way. It is important to take time to research and compare the options, benefits, and drawbacks. Nowadays, people go for portable air conditioners, single-hose, and dual-hose. This comparison between Single-Hose vs. Dual-Hose Air Conditioners will help in your selection to get the best PAC system that will fit your needs.
|Price||Starts at $319.00||Starts at $449.00|
|Cooling Area||425 sq. ft.||525 sq. ft.|
|Cooling Power||(DOE Standard): 5200 BTU||(DOE Standard): 8600|
|Manufacturer Warranty||90 Day Labor, 1 Year Parts||90 Day Labor, 1 Year Parts|
|Dehumidifier Capacity||80 pint||–|
|Noise Level||52 dB (low), 54 dB (High)||51 dB(low), 52 dB (High)|
|Fan Speed||Sets fan to low, medium, high||Sets fan to low, medium, high|
|Timer||12 hours||24 hours|
|Energy Efficient Ratio (EER)||10||11.2|
|Power Consumption Rate||about $1 a day||Over $1 a day|
|Energy Saving Feature||Run only when needed||Run only when needed|
|CFM||134 (Low), 169 (High)||210 (Low), 254(High)|
|Depth||15 in.||15.75 in.|
|Width||17.1 in||18.875 in.|
|Height||30.9 in.||35.25 in.|
|Weight||68 lbs.||75 lbs.|
|Filter Type||Mesh Filters||Mesh Filters|
|Plug Type||NEMA 5-15P||NEMA 5-15P|
|Client Reviews||264 Reviews, 147 – 5 ★
|281 Reviews, 165 – 5 ★
|Window Kit||Available for windows 32”-56” in size||Available for windows 32”-56” in size|
Installation and maintenance of portable air conditioners
As for installation, you can normally get one set up in less than thirty minutes if you have all of the tools and equipment required. The most important parts of the process are venting (exhausts the hot air removed from your room to the outside) and drainage.
The best advice is to read the manufacturer’s instructional manual for specific advice on your model, but here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Always install on a hard, even floor
- Keep it at least 8-12” away from obstructions like furniture and flowers
- Place it near an outside window and near an electrical outlet
- Keep the hose as short and straight as possible
Here are some tips for proper maintenance of your device:
- Maintain and clean filters regularly
- Ensure the exhaust hose is sitting correctly at all times
- Watch for drainage leaks
- Ensure the room is sealed and insulated
The single-hose portable air conditioner has to work extra hard to replace the expelled air reducing its overall efficiency. More unfiltered air enters the unit and shortens the length at which the filter removes allergens from the air ejected in the room. Indoor air quality is very important. But, it consumes less energy meaning a lower power consumption and the unit cost is cheaper which will suit people on a tight budget. The dual-hose portable air conditioner can cool more space quickly. The design resolves the negative pressure problem and offers better cooling performance.
Only you can decide which portable air conditioning unit will fit your needs since both units can provide you the comforts of cool air.
- The single-hose portable air conditioner fits people with a small space to cool and/or a lean budget.
- The high efficiency of a dual-hose system is suitable for cooling large areas. But, comfort and efficiency come with a price, it will require more electricity and the cash outlay is higher.
A PAC goes beyond cooling, there are models that serve as a heater, a dehumidifier, an air purifier, and a fan.
All in all, portable air conditioners are a great alternative to the more expensive permanent models on the market. Whether you opt for a single-hose or dual-hose model, both options are especially handy for most homeowners they are an affordable way to bring a little cool air into your living space.
You can get them up and running very quickly, making them easy to move from room to room, ensuring you are always comfortable no matter where you are in your home. And the best thing is, once the summer season has finished, you can store the air-conditioner away until you need it again the year after.