A Quick Guide To Portable Air Conditioning

Are you looking to hire portable air conditioning to help your business or facility over the summer months? If you are, it might be that you’re finding it’s a bit of a minefield. There’s lots of options and it can be tricky navigating through all the different terminology used. So, we’ve put together this guide to give you a quick overview of the main types of portable air conditioning units available. We’ve listed them in order of cost, starting with the most budget friendly.

Fan Units

A fan unit is effectively your no frills, entry model. Very simple in design, the fan moves the air, creating a breeze and increasing evaporation. Using a fan won’t lower the air temperature in a room, but the combination of air movement and increased evaporation achieves the feeling of cooling. Their effectiveness can be improved by simply opening a window.

Evaporative Coolers

This type of air conditioning uses the principle of natural evaporation, with water being used to cool the air.

Water is pumped over pads, keeping them wet and saturated. As warm air enters the unit, it passes through the wet cooling pads. The air takes the moisture from the pads and the moisture is evaporated into the air. This results in a cooling effect.

Because the water in the unit’s tank evaporates during the cooling process, you do need to have the ability to top the water level up. It doesn’t need to be a permanent water supply, although our units can work with one. They can also accommodate bags of ice, which improves the air temperature even further. It is important to note that evaporative cooling works best when humidity is on the lower side, so having a window or a door open, or increasing fresh air delivery from your existing AHU will help with performance.

Evaporative coolers are quick & easy to install, with low running costs. Several of the other types of air conditioners require a heat rejection duct to be installed through a window. These don’t so are a good alternative if you don’t have openable windows and they’re effective at cooling large areas. Common applications include cooling warehouses and retail spaces.

Portable air conditioners

Portable air conditioners are powerful, easy to move around your space and very quiet when running. This makes them an ideal choice for offices and marquees as they’re less intrusive for smaller, heavily populated areas.

To use portable air con units, you do need an openable window or door so that the heat exhaust can be directed out of it. Without this, you won’t be able to successfully remove the heat from the area you’re trying to cool.

Spot coolers

Spot coolers give you the ability to cool a specific area – or “spot” – without having to cool the entire room or building. They’re on casters, so still portable and are designed to move large volumes of air in a space. Each unit has several cooling ducts on the front, which can be angled to get the air distribution exactly where you need it. With Aqua’s units you have the option to extend these cooling ducts.

Spot coolers are more industrial in appearance, which may affect your choice dependent on your working environment. You also need a window, door, or adjacent area to put the heat rejection hose through.

Split air conditioners

Split air conditioners come in two parts, so they are literally “split.”  One part houses the compressor and evaporator and must be situated internally within your building. The second holds the condenser and fan and needs to be positioned outside. The two sections are joined together by a flow & return line.

Split air conditioners are very powerful and use a highly efficient heat rejection technique. Water removes the heat – not air – which maximises efficiency. Because the fan is situated externally, split units can move a large volume of air across the fan, which is  great for cooling large areas. They’re often used in warehouses, event spaces, larger offices, leisure facilities and data centres.

With split air conditioners there is a small element of installation work in connecting the two separate parts together. You also need to have somewhere suitable to site the external unit. It isn’t large – normally the size of a laptop bag – but it isn’t something you would want to have exposed in a busy commercial area. If this proves prohibitive then you’d be better with a style of air conditioning unit that has the heat ducted going through an open window.

What type of portable air conditioning is best for me?

To decide the most suitable solution for your specific circumstances you need to consider a few factors, including:

  • Size of the space that needs cooling.
  • Average occupancy levels.
  • Options for venting heat, for example are there windows that can be opened and external doors.
  • Equipment within the space that generates heat, things like computers, servers, and other IT kit.

But you don’t really need to worry about which equipment is best because that’s our job! We’ll also happily come to site and carry out an evaluation to make sure you get exactly the right type of air conditioning equipment to keep your business on track however warm it gets.

For your next portable air conditioning requirement just give our Hire Desk a call on 0333 004 4433!

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