Garage Air Conditioning: What’s the Best Cooling Method?

Your garage is an important extension of your home, especially if you use it as space to work on hobbies, keep your cars in good repair, or do other activities. But many people find that the most difficult part of working in the garage is keeping the space cool enough to be comfortable.

A frequently asked question is whether or not portable air conditioning units are an effective solution for garage air conditioning. Let’s explore this scenario a bit further, so you can make the best decision for your garage cooling needs.

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Top 10 Uses for a Portable Air Conditioner

EdgeStar Portable Air Conditioner (AP12001S)

Modern portable air conditioner units are quickly gaining popularity as a solution to unique air conditioning challenges. From tight rooms with limited window access to older construction that lacks ductwork, portable A/C units can accommodate spaces that window air conditioners can’t.

Additionally, many portable A/C units can be fitted with specialized filters that can reduce the presence of airborne particles like allergens, bacteria, and irritating chemical odors, allowing you enjoy cooler temperatures while simultaneously improving your indoor air quality.

Let’s take a closer look at these A/C units and all the possible uses you might not have thought of.

1. Irregular & Non-Standard Window Openings

While window air conditioners can often be installed fairly easily, they typically do best in windows with standard measurements. Portable air conditioning units can be used in combination with windows of any size, and can even be adapted to use a ceiling or other alternate vent.

In addition to being easily adapted to just about any type of room or window configuration, portable A/C units won’t block valuable sill space and natural light as conventional window units often do.
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5 Types of Filters for Portable Air Conditioners

Portable air conditioners – also known as ductless AC units – make it easy to find an effective cooling solution for nearly any room in the home. In addition to improved efficiency specifications and smaller space requirements, many modern units can be fitted with a variety of portable A/C filters that allow you to improve the quality of indoor air while you beat the heat.

Replacing Your Portable Air Conditioner Filter

Improving Indoor Air Quality with Improved Filtration

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists indoor air pollutants as one of the top five modern environmental health risks. From pet dander and mold spores to cigarette smoke and the noxious chemical odors given off by cleaning agents, many households harbor a variety of potentially harmful contaminants. Fitting your portable air conditioning equipment with a specialized air filter can help you to control or eliminate indoor impurities while also improving health and living conditions in the home.

Today there are a wide range of portable filter options available, from simple pre-filters that eliminate larger particles to activated carbon and antimicrobial filters that target tiny molecular irritants and hazardous microorganisms.

Let’s take a closer look at these filters and why you should consider adding one to your air conditioning system.
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Why You Should Use a Portable Air Conditioner in Your Server Room

Server rooms are an essential part of any modern computer system. These dedicated spaces allow businesses and other organizations to keep their computer equipment secure and protected. Not only can authorized maintenance workers access all relevant terminals, but changes to the configuration of the machines can also be made quickly and easily.

Server Room Air Conditioner

Effective cooling solutions are vital to any server room. Poor air circulation and high temperatures can cause computer equipment to break down or function improperly. Regulating the temperature and air flow of your server room will help guard against equipment failure and prolong the useful life of these valuable assets.

Closely Controlling the Climate in Your Server Room

In most cases, the rooms used to house your server equipment was designed for human occupants and may not have enough cooling options available for the space. Though some spaces inside modern buildings are designed expressly as server rooms and have advanced climate control options to accommodate this use, relatively few people have these options available to them. It is therefore necessary to explore effective cooling alternatives to augment any existing air conditioning system.

Portable air conditioning units can give you greater control over the climate inside your server room in several ways:
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How To Lower Your Energy Bills With A Portable Air Conditioner

During the “Dog Days” of summer, people tend to look for ways to cool off. Some visit a local swimming pool to spend the day in the water. Others seek out a movie theater that has good air conditioning. Shopping malls are also a great choice for people who are looking to cool off during the summer. When these same people go home, however, they rely on their air conditioning units to cool down their homes so that they can relax and not feel the oppressive heat from the outside.

Portable Air Conditioner AP12000S

With energy prices skyrocketing around the country, many homeowners are now being forced to make a choice between a comfortably cool home and a low power bill. This is because many who rely on central air notice that their electricity bill increases dramatically during the months they are running their air conditioner. One way to keep cool and still keep a lower electric bill is by using a portable air conditioner.

Energy Efficient

Portable air conditioning units are much more energy efficient than central air. This is mainly because they can be moved from room to room based on which area needs to be cooled down.

A central air conditioning unit is built to cool the entire home, no matter which room a person might be in. By using the portable unit, you will be using electricity to cool only those rooms that people are using.
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5 Tips to Keep Your Portable Air Conditioner in Good Shape

When your portable air conditioning unit is running properly, it serves you well. It cools a room when you need it to and even helps you save money on your monthly your energy bill every month. Additionally, it is easy to move around your home or business. However, if you fall behind on performing basic maintenance or fail to install it properly, your unit can start running at a lower capacity.

You can prevent may issues by following these five basic tips for keeping your portable air conditioner in its best shape.

1. Location Matters

Portable Air Conditioner

One of the biggest advantages of a portable A/C unit is that you can move it from room to room. However, just because you can put it in any room does not mean you can put it anywhere.

Here’s a few things you should consider when moving your portable A/C unit around:

  • Avoiding areas that are dusty or dirty. Small particles can clog either of the two motors in the machine and eventually cause either electrical or mechanical problems.
  • Placing the unit the correct distance from the window or source of power. A humid room means you will have more condensation and need to regularly drain the unit to avoid issues.

If you do find you need to drain the unit often, consider either installing a drain tube that can move liquid into a bucket or taking the unit outside to remove the moisture.
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Should You Purchase a Portable or Window Air Conditioner?

When the temperature starts to rise, most people rely on their air conditioning units to keep their homes and offices at a comfortable temperature. There are a number of options on the market when it comes to the type of unit you use. If you aren’t sure if you should use a portable or a window model, here are a few guidelines that might help you.

How A/C Units Work

Portable vs. Window Air Conditioner

Before making any decisions, it is a good idea to have a basic understanding regarding how air conditioners work. No matter if you have a portable or window unit, both take a gas, convert it to a liquid and then convert it back to a gas again.

Essentially, a unit utilizes chemicals called refrigerants. These liquid substances absorb the heat from the air as it passes over a set of coils and works to chill indoor air. As the refrigerant absorbs the heat, it changes from a liquid to a gas. A compressor then pressurizes the gas that creates a heat that is evacuated elsewhere, usually outside. A portable unit uses an exhaust pipe that funnels the air out your window. A window unit is already outside and simply expunges the hot air that way.
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5 Ways You Can Save Money With a Portable Air Conditioner

Many home or business owners dread opening the energy bill every month. Warmer months usually mean you are running your air conditioning unit, which causes your utility charges to jump. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can save money on your bills, with one of the easiest being by utilizing a portable air conditioner. These small, convenient units can either supplement or replace your existing system.

Portable Air Conditioner Savings

Here are five ways investing in a portable A/C unit will save you money every month.

1. One Room at a Time

It doesn’t matter if you live in a studio apartment or a large home; a portable air conditioner can reduce your cooling costs by targeting just one room, instead of keeping your whole home at that same level. In a small apartment, the unit can run in place of a central unit. If you are in a larger building, a portable unit can move from room to room as it is needed.

Consider, for example, having it in your bedroom at night to keep you comfortable while you sleep. When the sun rises, simply move the unit down to your home office or other living space. By just cooling one room at a time, you use less energy and therefore lower your bills.
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Summer Cool Down Giveaway

Summer Cool Down Giveaway

This summer we are excited to be giving away a prize package of items to help fight off the summer heat. Unlike our other giveaways though, this one isn’t as simple as just entering your name to win. We’re asking entrants to write a blog post about why they want the products and how they will use them. The winner will be voted upon by the readers leaving comments on their favorite posts.

Here’s how the giveaway works:

June 27, 2012 – July 11, 2012 – Entry Period

During this time, entries are being accepted! Write your blog post and send it in to us. Don’t just write a single word or sentence. A blog post needs to be at least a few paragraphs and the more detailed you are, the more likely you will probably be picked as a finalist.

July 11, 2012 – July 17, 2012 – Choosing the Finalists

The entry form is going to disappear on July 11 and we’re going to start going through all of the entries to narrow them down to our favorites. Out of our favorites, no more than10 entries will be chose as our Finalists. All Finalists will be notified of their qualifying by July 17.

July 18, 2012 – July 31, 2012 – Voting Period

The Finalists will have their blog posts posted to our site along with a Facebook comment box for people to use to vote for their favorite post. Finalists are encouraged to share their post wherever they can to try to get as many votes as possible! Whichever post has the most comments by midnight on July 31, will be the official Grand Prize Winner! The post with the second most comments will be the First Runner Up.

The First Runner Up will win their very own Koldfront PAC701W portable air conditioner. The Grand Prize Winner will also get a Koldfront portable air conditioner (but the AP12000S model), a Koldfront portable ice maker, a Wagan travel cooler and a Little Snowie snow cone maker!

So hurry on over to our Summer Cool Down Giveaway and send us your blog post entry. Only one week left to enter!

Appliance Terminology Overview

I think a good way to start this blog post series will be to explain some appliance terminology and what it all means. A short encyclopedia, if you will. This is not necessarily all in alphabetical order.

I might get a little technical, but I’ll try to apply the K.I.S.S. rule (keep it simple, stupid) wherever I can.

Technology

Compressor-Based System: An appliance that uses a compressor, or pump, with a closed refrigeration system, and uses a refrigerant to cool a particular space.  This could be a refrigerator, wine cooler (some), kegerator or deep freezer. Common refrigerants include R134A and R410A, among others.

Thermoelectric / TE: An appliance that uses electronics/electricity to cool a small space without the use of refrigerants. These typically consist of a cooling node (Peltier effect) and fans to distribute the air inside the cabinet and dissipate the heat to the outside. They are, for the most part, efficient, although there are a few drawbacks, especially if you are trying to build it into a cabinet.  I’ll delve into that in a later post, along with what exactly a Peltier unit is in simple terms.

LED: Refers to a Light Emitting Diode, which is a commonly used electronic component. All diodes allow electricity to flow in one direction only. Think of it as a one way street, except this one glows when the electric flows. They are used for operation and mode indicators, and also for general lighting purposes. Sometimes they use different colors and are commonly used to highlight and display wines in wine coolers.

Cooling Fans: This will mostly apply to thermoelectric, or TE, wine coolers. They do different jobs: some distribute the cooled air inside the cabinet or at the evaporator coil on compressor-based units, and others get rid of the hot air at the back of the cabinet or from the condenser coils on compressor-based units. Most of them consist of the same small DC-powered fans you find in your desktop computer.

Product Descriptions

Countertop Dishwasher   Portable Air Conditioner   Portable Ice Maker   Kegerator   Portable Freezer Refrigerator   Wine Cooler

Portable Dishwasher: This isn’t the one your mom used to roll around the kitchen and store in a corner. These actually are small enough to sit on a countertop. These are really simple to install. Most come with two hoses, a drain and supply, and a quick connector to attach to a standard kitchen faucet, in place of the aerator. They are typically not meant for a permanent installation. They come in different sizes and capacities, also.

Portable Air Conditioner: An alternative to the typical, window-mounted A/C unit. These usually have one hose used to exhaust out the hot air produced during the cooling process, though some will also have an intake hose. They are mounted on casters, so they can be moved room to room. Most will evaporate the majority, if not all, of the water produced in the exhaust air, but if they don’t get rid of all of it, they will usually have a drain at the bottom of the unit to get rid of the collected water. Portable air conditioners usually will require a 15 amp circuit to run properly, although there are some that require 20 amps or more. Most will come with a window fitting kit that is easily assembled, as they have to be vented to the outside of the room being cooled in most cases.

Portable Ice Maker: An ice maker that is small enough to sit on a counter, produces 6-12 cubes at a time, uses a self-contained water supply and storage for the ice after the cycle is complete. These are not high volume units. Typically, they will not refrigerate the ice and it will melt back into the water tank to start the process over yet again. I recommend moving each batch of ice out of the ice maker and into your regular freezer.

Kegerator: A refrigerated appliance used to keep beer cold and dispense beer. Usually has a connected tower and faucet, with dispenser head to pour the beer and on board CO2 storage to pressurize the beer. They also usually have casters for portability and can be used with multiple beers of your choice, sometimes more than one keg can be used (called a dual tap kegerator). Some kegerators are much smaller and utilize a 5 liter mini keg. These are fairly new on the market. The larger kegerators fit a half shell sankey keg, or Cornelius keg. Some of the mini keg 5 liter units will run on 12V DC and are popular with tailgaters.

Portable Freezer / Refrigerator: These are unique, as they can be used in a vehicle, or boat, or while camping and for emergency uses. Some use compressor-based refrigeration, while others use TE technology. A TE unit typically will not be able to refrigerate to freezing or below, and they will usually be good for 40 degrees F below the ambient temperature around the unit. Think short term storage,  like trips to the grocery store. The compressor-based units are infinitely more flexible, allowing for -0 degrees F operation, up through 50+ degrees F, in most cases. Both can be operated from 12V DC and 120V AC, depending on the model. Each type has their pluses and minuses and I will cover those later. Personally, I like them both!

Wine Cooler: These come in a wide variety of sizes and capacities.  The same can be said for the refrigeration system used. While they have a large temperature range to work with, the TE models generally will hold wines from 45 degrees F-65 degrees F, depending on the ambient temperature of the room they are located in. A compressor-based unit will usually hold wines at 40 degrees F or less, and can be built into a cabinet, as the condenser coil and fan is at the bottom front of the unit. One thing to  remember with wine coolers in general:  They are designed for long term STORAGE, not drinkability, and that applies to TE units in particular. Again, that is a general guideline, so YMMV, or Your Mileage May Vary. (I love acronyms, don’t you?)

Til next time!

Dave

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