Do Portable Air Conditioners Save Money?

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In a Single Room

  • In an average-size single room in which the doors can be shut or airflow is otherwise restricted, portable air conditioners save money.
    If there is no need to cool an entire home or building, a portable air conditioner saves money by using less energy than that of a built-in unit cooling the entire house. Those savings are lost however, if the portable unit has to be run continuously day and night because it is trying to cool too large of an area.

In the Entire House

  • Generally, a portable air conditioner won't cool an entire house, and trying to use one to do so will result in it running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, using more energy than a standard built-in area. Portable air conditioners are designed to cool small areas and save money when used to cool only the area of the home or building that is in use.

On a Timer

  • Portable air conditioners can save a homeowner a lot of money when run on a timer, especially if the built-in unit does not have a timer. Using a standard outlet timer to plug in the portable unit, it can be set to come on 10 or 15 minutes before you come home so that it will cool a certain area, such as a bedroom or small living room. Timers also save money at night, especially if the built-in unit ends up running all night because there is no timer.

In Conjunction With a Built-In Air Conditioner

  • To get the best savings, use portable and built-in air conditioners together. The built-in can cool the entire house and initially lower the temperature in the room to be cooled. It can then be shut off and the portable unit can maintain that temperature. In addition, portable air conditioners are great for rooms that stay too warm despite the efforts of the built-in unit, or for rooms occupied by family members who prefer cooler temperatures. You can avoid running the large unit and save money by using a portable air conditioner to control the temperature in certain parts of the house.

  • Photo Credit Lance Palmer
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