Air Conditioning for Smaller Spaces

Air Conditioning for smaller spaces
While some people need a central air system powerful enough to cool a whole house, sometimes you just need air conditioning for smaller spaces. Whether you want to cool one room in particular, you live in a smaller home or you need to cool your garage in the hot summer months, a small air conditioner could work best for your space. But how do you know if a small AC unit is right for you? When are the best times to use it? What's the difference between a window AC unit and a portable AC unit? And most importantly, how do you find a one-room air conditioner that's right for your space? Let's take a look at the different situations you might need a small air conditioning unit for and how to choose the right one for your home. Portable Air Conditioner

Where Should I Use a Small Space AC Unit?

There's no one-size-fits-all solution to air conditioning units. Even when you narrow down the scope of all air conditioners to small space or mini air conditioner units, you still have a wide variety to consider. Multiple factors determine what sort of air conditioner you need, such as:
  • Where you live: The year-round climate will dictate what your cooling needs will include.
  • What room you want to cool: The orientation of the room and how cool you want that room will change how powerful the machine needs to be.
  • The size of the space you want to cool: If you plan to cool a whole master bedroom or just a small office space, you'll need to consider how well the equipment can disperse the cooler air.
  • The quality of your home's insulation: If you have a lower-quality insulation job, you'll spend more on the air conditioning because you'll lose cooled air to the outdoors or to other rooms in the house.
  • Your personal preferences on a room's ideal temperature: If your body typically runs cooler than others, you'll need a less powerful machine.
  • How much space you have to keep the air conditioner when not in use: If you only need the unit for a part of the year, you need to consider how much storage space you have to keep it in the off-season.
  • When in the year you need the AC unit: The amount of time out of the year will determine the efficiency you'll expect of your air conditioner. If you use it often, you'll want something more efficient so you aren't wasting money on your electric bill.
  • How much space in the room you want to devote to the unit: If you're getting a portable air conditioner, you'll need to consider floor space, and if you're looking for a window unit, you need to make sure you have the proper window type.
When you're working with a smaller space, the room itself can help to answer a few of these questions. As every home and room is different, you will need to continue asking questions to narrow down what small AC unit would work best for your living space. These are some of the situations where you might benefit from a small AC unit:
  • You live in a small home: These include a mobile home, a tiny house or any dwelling with a small footprint.
  • You live in an apartment: If your apartment does not have air conditioning of its own, adding a small air conditioner could help cool the whole apartment down, especially if it has a studio layout. If your landlord does not allow window AC units, portable AC units could offer the solution you need.
  • You have one room in particular that needs more air conditioning than the rest of the home: If you live somewhere where the temperature rises at night, you might want a small AC unit for your bedroom to help you sleep better.
  • You plan on using the process of zone cooling: This technique works even if you live in a larger home. This process involves cooling individual rooms, or "zones," rather than the entire space as a whole. You can cool your office and your den but not your hallways and your kitchen. This way, you don't pay to cool your whole house when you spend the majority of your time in select spaces.
  • You have a garage that isn't connected to the house: If you have an unconditioned shed or garage where you spend time working, you know how quickly it can get hot in there. Adding a small AC to this space could take the temperature from unbearable to comfortable, which encourages you to get more work done in there.
  • You have an RV, camper or trailer: Sometimes these vehicles have unreliable or ineffective air conditioning. Bringing a portable or personal air conditioner could keep you cool wherever you go.
If you live with one of these situations or you have another small space that needs cooling, you're probably in the market for a small air conditioner.

Why Is It Smart to Use a Small Space AC?

While a central air system makes heating, cooling and humidity control of the home simple, you don't need a full system in every living situation. Central air doesn't make sense for every space. The efficiency of any particular HVAC system depends on various factors, which all contribute to determining which system works best for your specific needs. When determining the potential efficiency of air conditioning for smaller spaces, consider:
  • Its size in relation to your home: If you have a smaller space you need to cool, you won't need an extensive, overpowering system.
  • What your local climate is like: If you live in a more moderate climate, you won't need an extremely powerful system. If you live somewhere with unpredictable temperature spikes, you'll want something that has the power to cool a small space fast.
  • How much you foresee using the system: If you don't think you'll use the system regularly, you don't want to spend too much on equipment you won't need all the time.
  • The fuel type used by the system: Some sources of power have more efficiency than others.
  • How efficient the machine components are: Different systems operate with a different Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER). This rating measures the efficiency of an air conditioner at 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The higher the ratio, the more efficient the machine. The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) also plays a role in determining efficiency, too, because it measures the machine's efficiency across an entire cooling season rather than a single 95-degree day.
If you're planning on cooling a smaller space and you don't intend to use the AC unit every day, a mini-air conditioner would be an excellent option for you. Some of the benefits of using a small space AC unit include:
  • Takes up less space: The smaller the unit, the less space you have to dedicate to it. If you don't have floor space to spare, you can get a window unit. If you don't have any windows that would work with a window AC unit, you can go with a portable floor model. With the variety of units available, you can find a unit that works the best for your specific living space.
  • Easy to store: If you live in a location that is not hot all year round, you can easily pack these away for the season. You could store them in a closet, garage or wherever you have space. Once the seasons change and it gets hot again, you can take the unit out from wherever you stored it and easily set it up again.
  • Transportable and easy to move: While not true for all small air conditioning units — some window units can weigh between 50 and 80 pounds — you can easily maneuver portable AC units on wheels. This option works well for someone who wants to bring the unit with them on a camping trip or even room to room in their home. Since you can move the unit with ease, you'll get more use out of it.
If all of those benefits sound like the right fit for your situation, then the only thing left to do is decide which unit works best for you.

How Do I Find the Right Unit for Me?

Once you decide to get air conditioning for smaller spaces, you must consider what type of unit works best for your living situation. You must consider size, but you also need to determine the level of power you need for the space you're trying to cool. In some instances, you may need to consider homeowners association (HOA) regulations. Let's talk about the different types of small AC units so you can see which one would best fit your current living situation. Window AC Units

Small Window Air Conditioner

Small window air conditioners are the most commonly used form of air conditioning in the United States. Approximately one-third of all households have some type of window AC unit. They're a very popular tool to get air conditioning for smaller spaces. This type of air conditioner requires a standard-size single or double-hung window to mount on. In these units, the evaporator coil and fan face inward. This coil absorbs the heat from the air in your home, and the fan expels it. The condenser coil and drain face away from the house and release that heat out of the window. The air conditioner takes the hot air from the room, passes it through the evaporator coil where the refrigerant attracts the hot air and releases it through the vents, letting the cold air return to the room.

What are the pros of a window AC unit?

  • Window AC units remove humidity from the air in addition to cooling it. This can make a big difference if you live in a humid area. This process occurs because as the window AC removes the warm air, the moisture condenses to the surface of the coil. The outlet pipe then channels the moisture out through the drain pipe.
  • Window units typically have more power with a broader range of cooling capabilities. If you live in an area that sees extreme hot spells, you might want to spring for a window unit if you can.

What are the cons of a window AC unit?

  • While operating, window AC units make between 60 to 85 decibels. For reference, a vacuum cleaner makes around 75 decibels.
  • Some HOAs or city ordinances might forbid window AC use. Their reasoning could be anything from unsightly appearance to illegal blocking fire escapes.
  • You need access to the correct type of window. Once the unit gets installed, you can't open or close that window for the rest of the season.
  • Window units can be challenging to install and take down on your own. Some can weigh between 50 and 80 pounds.
Small Portable Air Conditioner

Small Portable Air Conditioner

Portable air conditioners are temporary solutions to small space cooling needs. They generally have wheels, which makes them easy to navigate, but they still attach to a window. Unlike window units, they can use virtually any window. They come in a variety of sizes, so you can find the one that works best for you.

What are the pros of a portable air conditioner?

  • If there are HOA restrictions or city ordinances that forbid the use of a window AC unit, a portable unit gives you the option to get the air conditioning you need without a sometimes unsightly window unit.
  • If you don't have the right window type, you won't be able to install a window AC unit. For a window AC, you need a single or double-hung window that is unblocked by any objects. Sometimes you don't have the proper window space to devote to a small window air conditioner. Portable AC units work with virtually any window situation.
  • They generally have wheels, which makes them easy to move from room to room. At the end of the season, you will have an easier time storing them for future use. Since they are intended for temporary solutions, this portability works well, so you can pull it in and out of the space as needed.
  • They cool down a small space rather quickly for relief during a particularly hot day.

What are the cons of a portable air conditioner?

  • When it comes to air conditioning for smaller spaces, you should not use a portable air conditioner as a permanent solution. For example, they can work in instances such as when you rent an apartment and can't install a window unit and don't have central air. Another example includes using the portable air conditioner in one room only during an extreme heatwave.
  • If you're trying to use a portable air conditioner year-round for one space, you're choosing an extremely inefficient option. The Department of Energy put forth guidelines for a portable air conditioner's energy efficiency in 2016, but as they have not become finalized yet, these machines are effectively unregulated.
  • They take up floor space. While they don't take up much of the light coming through the window, you still cannot operate the window, and you cannot use that floor space or the space in front of it. This hindrance can limit the way you arrange the room you have to cool.
Shop AC for Small Spaces

Where Do I Find Air Conditioning for Smaller Spaces Just for Me?

If you're ready to start the search for a great window AC unit or the best portable air conditioner to handle all your air conditioning for smaller spaces, browse our collection online today. Here at Ingram's Water & Air, since the 1990's we have always strived to bring superior support and excellent products to our customers.
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