Here’s Why Your Window AC Unit is Better Than a Portable One

Updated: Dec. 12, 2023

Stay cool this summer with a window AC unit that isn't bulky, loud or an energy guzzler.

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Air conditioning offers a welcome respite from the dog days of summer. It makes your home feel more comfortable when the mercury spikes. However, central AC isn’t an option for some living in older homes or in parts of the country where it hasn’t traditionally been included in residential buildings. It’s also an expensive, impractical addition to houses without it. That’s why you may want to consider a window AC unit to help keep your house, or parts of it, cool when the heat makes things uncomfortable.

Portable Air Conditioner vs. Window Unit

The two most common alternatives are window units and portable units. Choosing between the two comes down to understanding how they work. Both options convert a gas to liquid and back again. A window unit uses chemicals called refrigerants that absorb the heat from the air when it passes over a set of coils, resulting in chilled indoor air. A portable unit, on the other hand, utilizes an exhaust pipe, which funnels the air out of your window.

When you’re in the heat of the moment (pun intended), you may be hasty to get your hands on whatever you see first. A shortcut would be to weed out the portable option altogether. Portable ACs may provide you access to your windows and require no installation, but they come with some issues. For starters, they’re bulky and a bit of an eyesore for your space. The biggest drawback, however, is surely the energy rating. While some portable ACs meet or exceed the governmental minimum requirement for AC energy usage to be 10 SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio), many don’t. And for the ones that do, you can expect to pay more.

And if you don’t want to go with a portable or window AC, there are alternatives for keeping your home cool this summer.

Portable Air Conditioner vs. Window Unit: Condensation

Condensation is another issue associated with portable air conditioners. While some of the newer and/or pricier models remove the condensation through the vent exhaust, many still rely on a drip pan, which quickly fills up and must be manually emptied. They’re also noisy machines that create a noticeable racket in comparison to other AC systems.

Window AC units are tucked away in a window, making them less noticeable and freeing up morel living space. They also use energy more efficiently, so you can get more cooling power per BTU. The higher the number of BTUs, the bigger the room it can cool. Here’s what you need to do if your window AC isn’t blowing cold air.

To help prevent problems with your window AC, be sure to clean it regularly. And while we’re on the subject of troubleshooting, if your AC is way louder than you want, check out these tips for fixing the disturbing noise.

LG is a good brand to consider, with its inverter technology producing more energy savings than non-inverter options. The technology works by adjusting compressor motor speed to regulate temperature, whereas non-inverter units turn the compressor either on or off. If noise control is of the utmost importance, LG is a great brand to try thanks to its dual-inverter compressor, which eliminates that unwanted noise, so you can sleep soundly and cool.

There are also some conveniences that should be considered as well. Today, many brands have implemented smart attributes, like the ability to access your air conditioner on any WiFi-enabled device for convenience and energy savings.

Once you purchase your window AC unit, here’s how to double its life expectancy!