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  • Writer's pictureRankin Group


If your air conditioning goes out in the summer, you may not have the luxury of an immediate repair, especially for a costly system. At times, portable air-cooling units can be a cost-effective solution to keep you comfortable, while helping you save for the overall repair. If you are in the market for a portable HVAC unit, here are some tips to help you select the right one.


Portable air-conditioning units come in two basic styles: air cooled and water cooled. Both provide good cooling capacity, but they have very different requirements.

Air-cooled portable cooling lowers temperatures by recycling air with outside air. These units draw ambient air from outside the room, cool it with an internal condenser, then send it into the room being cooled. They also use air ducts to expel the hot air from the unit into an area outside of the room. This means that air-cooled units require ventilation, preferably to the outdoors or an attic area that does not need temperature control.

Water-cooled units use water to remove heat from the air. They do not require ductwork or ventilation, but they do require a water supply. Some units are permanently connected to the water supply.

The type you need will depend on your room’s layout. Do you have a way to vent the hot air outdoors? Then an air-cooled unit will work well. Do you have a water supply but no venting option? Then consider a water-cooled unit. Both will cool the room well, just in a slightly different way.


Next, consider the size and capacity you need. Cooling capacity of air conditioners is measured in British thermal units (BTU). Water-cooled units are available in 6,300 BTU to 34,700 BTU strengths. Air-cooled units are available in 13,200 BTU to 61,200 BTU strengths. You will need approximately 5,000 BTUs per hour per 150 square feet of space. Typically speaking, the more BTUs the unit produces, the larger it will be. Select a unit that has the right capacity for your space, and chances are it will fit well.

For commercial cooling needs, 12- and 25-ton units, which are trailer mounted air-cooled units that sit outside the building using ducts to cool the space, can provide adequate heating for large spaces, such as warehouses and event venues.

Portable cooling ensures you can remain comfortable all summer, even if your air-conditioning unit fails. If you are in need of a portable HVAC unit, choose wisely to ensure that the unit you rent properly fits your needs and your space.

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