How inefficient are portable air conditioners?
When I was at my in laws last weekend, I noticed that they were using a portable air conditioner to cool the upstairs. The unit is described at: http://www.delonghi.com/en-us/products/comfort/air-conditioning/portable-air-conditioners/pinguino-air-to-air-pac-an125hpekc-0151801211. Apparently, their central air conditioning system doesn’t do a good job of cooling the second floor (which is only used when they have guests). The unit struck me as a seriously compromised way of accomplishing space conditioning. Am I missing something or is the concept of operation seriously flawed?
The unit gets placed near a window. A single hose expels hot air out the window. That expelled air must come from the conditioned space because there is no provision to draw air from anywhere else. There is no drain for condensate. With a little online research, I found that it sprays the condensate on the condenser so it evaporates and is expelled out the single hose. It seems to me that this device would induce infiltration elsewhere in the house that would undo a significant fraction of the cooling that is accomplished. The manual explains that efficiently is measured using EER, but doesn’t specify an EER value. Instead, the manual states that EER doesn’t apply to portable air conditioners because they are not regulated by DOE. Calculating an EER from the maximum cooling and the maximum power draws comes out about 9.5. I suspect the maximum cooling rating doesn’t factor in the induced infiltration.
I suppose that, from a purely economic standpoint, it may make sense for my in-laws because they use the upstairs infrequently. In that application, first cost is much more important than operating efficiency. Even so, inefficiency bothers me.
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