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Portable air conditioners have become a popular summertime cooling solution, valued for their easy, non-intrusive installation, fast set up, and the ability to easily store them away after the summer season ends. There is no end to the possible applications for a portable unit. Bedrooms, sunrooms, workout rooms, garages and other areas where relief is needed from the sweltering summer months are a great place to use a portable AC. Even homeowners with central AC will be glad to have one of these units on hand when the central AC breaks down during a summer heat wave and the first available service call is several days away. Ready to shop for a portable? Here are some factors to keep in mind when choosing a portable unit. As with any other air conditioner, one needs to know the square footage of the space they want to cool. Most portables will list a recommended square footage for the unit’s capacity. Portable air conditioners Single hose or dual hose portable? Getting the right BTU capacity for the space is critical. One will find several models rated for areas up to 500 square feet. Keep in mind that a space that has multiple sun-exposed windows, a heat producing appliance, or routinely has multiple occupants will have added heat load. If any of these conditions are present, one will want added BTUs to stay cool. Portable air conditioners are either single hose or dual hose design. Single hose models are faster to set up and may have built-in hose storage, so they are easily stored away once the season ends. They’re a great choice for spot cooling or in areas that have moderate summers. However, single hose models, by design, must intake and exhaust air through the same hose. Warm outside air is mixed in with indoor air and over time will produce a ‘warming effect’ if outdoor temperatures are extremely high (above 950 F). permanent cooling solution Is there a window to vent air to the outdoors? The kit has either one or two expandable hoses, and a frame that fits into the window with knockouts for the hose On two-hose portable models, one of the two hoses is dedicated to removing heat (exhaust) and expelling it outside. Intake air comes from the room that is being conditioned so the unit will maintain comfort even in extreme heat. Dual hose portable air conditioners will cool more quickly and efficiently. Dual hose portables are a great choice for all climates and are even suitable if one will be using the unit as a permanent cooling solution. Portable air conditioners must be vented to the outdoors. The units come with a window installation kit. The kit has either one or two expandable hoses, and a frame that fits into the window with knockouts for the hose(s). The hose kit will install into most standard windows. The hoses snap or twist and lock into the kit frame and into the back of the unit. Most flexible hoses can extend from 24-60 inches. installation kit hoses Is there a proper electrical outlet near the window? Venting through a drop ceiling may be an option in certain circumstances, however additional hose(s) may be necessary to reach ceiling height. One will also want to make sure the ceiling opening is well sealed to maintain proper cooling and venting of hot air. Portable units will plug into a standard 115v wall outlet, but one will want to make sure the wall outlet is close enough to the window so the power cord of the unit will reach the outlet, and the unit remains close enough to the window to utilize the installation kit hoses. Otherwise, one will have to hire a qualified electrician to install the outlet. Typical power cords are 6-7 feet in length.
Unmatched for quality, ease and control, Friedrich’s new 2019 smart models have integrated Wi-Fi control through Friedrich Connect™, and are voice command compatible. From the commercial-grade, 20-gauge steel cabinet and fully enclosed fan motors to its unrivaled QuietMaster technology, Kühl represents a new standard in room air conditioners. 6,000 - 35,000 Btu/hr. Cooling only, heat pumps and cooling + electric heat models. Friedrichs Kühl's quiet design, superior construction and integrated Wi-Fi with voice command make it the most advanced room air conditioner on the market. Units are available in 6,000 - 35,000 Btu/hr in cooling only, heat pumps, and cooling + electric heat models. ENERGY STAR® qualified models also available. The Friedrich Air Conditioning Difference Quietmaster® Technology. Engineered for quiet performance with superior components. As much as 45% quieter than competitor’s products. Steel inner wall and extra dense insulation blocks outdoor noise. Vibration isolating design and components reduce operating noise. Precision engineering delivers maximum airflow and air dispersion at low sound levels. Commercial Grade Quality & Durability Superior components and construction. Attention to every detail. Every aspect of Kühl is ultra-premium, outside and in, down to the tiniest component. Constructed with only the finest-quality materials, Kühl is extremely durable and designed to withstand tough use in virtually any commercial setting. Dual filtration technology Kühl units are designed with dual filtration technology to fill the home with cleaner indoor air. A washable antimicrobial air filter and check filter reminder will help one maintain that fresh clean air feel. Earth Friendly Kühl units are designed with a slideout chassis for more permanent installation Friedrich’s commitment to environment-friendly cooling is shown in the Kühl. The unit is available in ENERGY STAR® qualified models, uses eco-friendly R-410A refrigerant in all models, and arrives in recyclable packaging. slideout chassis Kühl units are designed with a slideout chassis for more permanent installation and easier access for maintenance. Heavy-duty window installation hardware is included with Kühl units and an optional accessory for Kühl+ units. Smart Wi-Fi Control with Voice Command Home or away, one is in control with the Friedrich Connect™ App. Integrated Wi-Fi control from one’s smartphone and voice command compatible. New intuitive platform. Simplified 7-day programmability. With one’s advanced grouping program, one can control multiple units to work independently or as a single system. One can even invite other users to manage one or more of the units.
Traditionally, portable cooling technology has been seen as a quick fix to immediate cooling needs. If a customer’s air conditioner went out in the busyness of summer, portable cooling could keep the customer comfortable until a technician could arrive at their home. Such needs and uses for portable cooling still exist, but over the past few years, portable cooling has increasingly developed as a solution for unique cooling needs. Manufacturers are saying this trend will continue. Misty Wilburn, Marketing Manager for Portacool, said that the market’s renewed interested in employee safety and productivity is driving further demand for portable cooling solutions. portable evaporative cooling From a safety standpoint, employers are looking for solutions that reduce heat stress and keep their employees cool" “From a safety standpoint, employers are looking for solutions that reduce heat stress and keep their employees cool,” she said. She explained that the industry is seeing a large shift surrounding employee safety. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has led this charge by putting regulations in place regarding indoor and outdoor working conditions and will likely be followed by other states. “For operations that can’t use conventional a/c because of cost or efficiency, portable evaporative cooling - in setting up cool-down stations - can be key to meeting a lot of those regulations,” she said. In addition to this, she said that companies will be able to attract and keep the best employees if they provide a great work environment. open or closed environment “Offering those portable cooling areas can keep up focus and morale, which overall increases the profitability of your workforce,” she said. Wilburn explained that contractors can offer this solution as one that will do the most for their customers while also being conscious of cost. When choosing portable systems for their customers, Wilburn advised contractors to take note of the size of the space that needs to be cooled, the number of employees, electrical options, presence of a water supply, and whether it is an open or closed environment. multiple large coolers “By strategically positioning multiple large coolers, you can cool an entire area where you have lots of employees working,” she said. “If you want to spot cool an area and take the product wherever the work takes you, using one single smaller cooler might be the better option.” In agriculture, portable cooling has been used to cool individual stalls, especially for show animals All in all, she told contractors that it is important to choose a product that is as versatile as possible for the work environments the customers will find themselves in. Contractors should ensure the cooler is a plug-and-play model that can be set up with little technical skill needed. The degree of maintenance required is also important, as well as the expected lifespan of the equipment. Contractors should widen their view of portable cooling applications, too. Portable as Supplemental Cooling “Evaporative cooling is effective in other applications such as farm agriculture, patios, gyms, outdoor venues, events, sports sidelines, offshore platforms, retail stores, rental car pickup facilities, airports, beer gardens, and fast food lines for outdoor employees,” she said. In agriculture, portable cooling has been used to cool individual stalls, especially for show animals. “Is it dependable?” said Brittany Calderon, Product Manager for Friedrich Air. “Is it quiet? Is it energy-efficient? Those are the three main things that we hear our customers looking for. And of course, cost is always a factor.” Portable cooling can be used to keep areas of a home comfortable when the main air conditioning unit goes out. Applications for Portable Cooling “We recommend that contractors all keep a portable in the back of their truck to allow for supplemental cooling,” she said. “If somebody’s a/c goes out and they need to order a part, it’s going to take a few days. They can leave one of those portables at that customer’s house and everybody’s happy.” She said that portable cooling is often used to supplement other cooling systems Calderon said that a dual-hose portable air conditioner offers a really good solution for customer’s needs; it’s designed to cool areas faster, more efficiently, and without a complicated installation process. She said that portable cooling is often used to supplement other cooling systems. For example, 2019 had a relatively mild summer in the Northeast, and Friedrich saw interest grow in portable cooling - equipment that people could stow away in a closet when not in use. electrical equipment rooms Mike Renier, Vice President of Sales for KwiKool, said that customers are realizing that portable cooling can be used for specific, unique applications, and contractors should keep that in mind. “As the market has evolved, customers have gotten more demanding and not less,” he said. “And what that boils down to is that they’re looking for tailor-made solutions to application problems.” Some examples of this, he said, include server rooms, electrical equipment rooms, and other high-tech areas where heat-generating equipment needs to be kept cool. These rooms generally have permanent systems in place to cool the equipment; however, these mechanical systems run the risk of occasional failure when components break. redundant permanent systems The technology, called Biocool, is designed for use in laboratories and hospitals “Customers don’t want to have to spend a tremendous amount of money having redundant permanent systems in place,” Renier said. “As an alternative, they can look to portables to supply the duplicated air conditioning.” To operate as intended, such portable equipment will need to have high-efficiency, sensible capacity that can match the heat load, which contractors should look for. A portable cooler with a 1-ton heat load, he explained, will not be able to cool a room with a 5-ton heat load. Portable technology should always be used with the end goal in mind. For example, KwiKool has developed a portable cooler with a hospital-grade HEPA filter and UV light system. The technology, called Biocool, is designed for use in laboratories and hospitals. temporary air conditioning In other applications, cooled air must be moved long distances before it can be exhausted. Portable coolers, when properly designed to pump air further distances, can be temporarily installed in attics. On hot summer days, when attic temperatures can exceed safe temperatures, a portable cooler can be used to keep the heat tolerable for any employees working in that space. Renier reminded contractors that there is a big division between residential and commercial portable cooling products. “If all you want is some cheap, temporary air conditioning for a bedroom, those personal air conditioners are great,” he said. “But if you want to bring the serious capacity for a high-profile application, don’t buy the cheap stuff. It won’t work. You’re getting what you pay for.”
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