My room is TOO HOT! I need free-standing AC unit!
April 8, 2010 10:10 AM   Subscribe

Please recommend a good portable air conditioner (non window mounted, freestanding most preferred) to cool my ridiculously hot room down.

I currently live in a 2-story house. My room is unbearably hot anytime from April through August. My room has 2 air vents connected to the main central AC of the house. (One is behind the entry door and the other is behind my bed headboard. There is a secondary central AC unit that is attached to an extra bedroom we expanded in our house. I have a ceiling vent running from that room and to another as well.

Problem is even with both systems running my room is still unbearably hot. The only things that run on a daily basis are my desktop PC (which is well ventilated and has about 3-4 fans keeping it cool) and my LCD tv which is on maybe an hour or two each evening and off the rest of the day. Even with nothing on the room still is pretty hot. There is also a ceiling fan and a small Vornado fan I keep running to circulate things.

I can't really rearrange my furniture to provide less blockage to the vents but it doesn't seem like they do too much anyways. I'm considering getting a free-standing AC unit to sit in my room and pump out cold air as I'm having more and more trouble falling and staying asleep due to the heat.

What are some really good units I could get? Looking to stay below $500 if possible and free-standing units only, none of those mount in the window deals.
posted by PetiePal to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
If your room is on the second floor, it is possible that it is getting hot because there is not adequate insulation between the room and the attic/roof. This can also be more of a problem in homes without adequate ventilation in the attic. If either of these is the problem and can be solved by putting in more insulation or adequate ventilation, this is probably the best way to solve the problem.

If not, you could try a register vent fan to increase air flow though the vents. Just be sure that you are balancing the amount of air that is going in to the room and going out of the room. If you have return vents that are open vents from one room to another room and not directly back the system, the system is probably supposed to be operated with all of the doors open so the air can recirculate.

Free standing air conditioners still have to vent air to the outside to get any cooling done, and they tend to be much less efficient than window air conditioners in my experience. I can't really offer any advice on which of these units would be better.
posted by jefeweiss at 10:35 AM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

I don't have a specific brand recommendation for portable air conditioners, but I do strongly recommend you get one with _two_ air hoses (one for intake and one for exhaust) instead of just one (for exhaust). In my experience, the one-hose units cause too much hot outdoor air to be drawn into the cooled space and thus do not cool very well.
posted by Juffo-Wup at 11:01 AM on April 8, 2010

After years of window air conditioning, my partner and I inherited a portable air conditioner from his mother. We used it all last summer, and it was infinitely nicer than the window units. The one we have is a DeLonghi Pinguino PACL90, which has been fantastic for us but is kind of spendy. Something like the DeLonghi PAC C120 might work for you--it's only $400 at Best Buy and has a bit more power than the unit I have. (I'm actually saving up for a C120, too, to replace the ancient window unit that cools our downstairs.)
posted by MeghanC at 11:14 AM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

You can make an impromptu air conditioner from a box fan, some copper and vinyl tubing, a fountain pump, and a bucket. Coil the copper tubing so the box fan has to pull air over it, hook up the tubing to the fountain pump, and run water through it. It works best with iced water or dry ice involved, depending on how much water you're using as a heat sink.

This assumes you're okay with Frankensteining up some home appliances, of course. It's not an attractive solution, and you'll have to figure out a way to deal with condensation on the coils, but oh god does it work.
posted by truex at 11:57 AM on April 8, 2010

We have one of the DeLonghi ones mentioned above and it is AWESOME. Just make sure you get one with enough power for the size of your room and keep the door closed. You can either set the thermostat to keep it at a good temperature, or you can just cool your room down before you go to bed and turn it off. It's not small, but so worth the raise in quality of life.
posted by Kimberly at 12:21 PM on April 8, 2010

You might try - if you want to save a little money and not have to deal with venting - an evaporative (aka a "swamp") cooler, which uses ice and a fan to create cooling. (You will need a couple of trays of ice for about four or five hours, so that could be a hassle.) I use one in my abysmally hot office in Los Angeles, and I'm pleased with it. You have to keep it aimed at you - it won't really cool the whole room - but that makes it cheaper to run (and buy) than a real AC.

This is the one I have, and it works well, though YMMV, of course:
posted by soulbarn at 1:06 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

I have this Everstar model from Home Depot. It's a freestanding unit under $500, and it definitely blows quite a bit of cold air.

There are downsides, of course - even though it rolls around on wheels and doesn't mount in the window, you do need to run a vent hose (to blow out the hot air produced as the compressor runs) out the window, so you can't just place it anywhere. It's a bit larger and heavier than I was expecting it to be, so read the measurements carefully if you decide to go this route.

As mentioned above, standalone units are quite a bit less efficient than other AC systems. They don't recirculate most of the air that they cool, so you're fighting a losing battle if cost effectiveness is your concern. They will cool the room though. If the end result is lower temperature, this size machine will do the job for a room or two.
posted by owls at 2:32 PM on April 9, 2010

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