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There's nothing worse than trying work in an office, relax at home or get to sleep at night when the air is hot and dry - no-one likes to end up covered in sweat in a hot room that can feels almost like a sauna.
That's when you really need a cooling device to make those long summer days and nights more bearable - and an air conditioning unit is worthy of serious consideration when you are searching around for a portable device to keep you feeling cool and comfortable in hot and stuffy weather conditions.
Standard pedestal or desk fans can keep you relatively comfortable during most summer days - but often you will need something more powerful to keep you cool during the day in a living room or at night in a bedroom in your home.
A floor tower fan, a pedestal floor fan or wall-mounted fan is unlikely to provide much relief on a very hot day - after all, they are simply re-circulating warm air around a room. In these conditions you really do need to consider buying a standard portable air cooler, which cools air through evaporation of water, or alternatively a portable air conditioning unit.
Many families abroad in very hot climates have air conditioning systems installed in their homes as a standard feature to combat the stifling temperatures. But the prohibitive cost of an expensive system - coupled with the fact our UK weather is rarely very hot - means a portable air conditioner is an affordable and effective alternative.
An air conditioner can offer the best solution to your restless days and sleepless nights at home during the summer season and they are also an ideal device for people trying to work in comfort in office or other indoor workplace.
An air conditioning unit draws warm air into the unit from the room and then cools it across a series of coils containing a coolant chemical, before returning the cooled air back into the room.
We feature an impressive range of air conditioners at shopping giant Amazon which are capable or producing cool air for a small, medium or large room. You’ll find air conditioners for sale at many UK stores these days including Euroffice, B&Q, Office Stationery, Tooled Up, Argos, John Lewis, Electric Shopping, Machine Mart and eBay.
Portable air conditioners differ from mobile evaporative air coolers in that they take humidity out of the air - producing a cold, dry air. They work best in an air tight environment Air coolers operate by taking drawing in a small amount of air from outside the unit which then circulates in the area where the evaporative cooling process is carried out.
Air con units are designed to cool down a specifically designed area - so it's best to close off the space concerned by shutting doors, windows and any other access areas. This will enable the unit to work to maximum effect - leaving and open access to another part of the home means the unit will be trying to cool that area also.
It's wise to turn your conditioner on before you actually need it! That may sound strange, but these devices take a bit of time to do their thing and won't cool a room instantly. So if you turn it on a few hours before the hottest time of the day, it will have had time to control the temperature in a room to an ideal level when the warm period arrives. Most conditioning units have a timer device so you can set this to turn the device on an off at suitable times.
Don't rush into buying an air conditioner - instead you should take a look at a few of the models here to ensure you find one that best suits your needs.
Things to consider when buying an air conditioning unit
Among the factors to consider when buying an air conditioning unit are the size, power consumption, noise and efficiency. Some small air conditioning units have poor efficiency when it comes to trying cool down a very large room. Others demand too much power, while some are simply too heavy to move around a home and are better suited to a large office or business environment.
You should be aware that an air conditioner will use more electricity than a standard portable air cooler, also known as a swamp cooler. Air conditioners are more effective, but they do cost more - so this factor is definitely worth taking into consideration.
There are, however, steps you can take to limit the impact on your electricity bills - for example, you should get into the habit of switching off the conditioner unit as soon as your room is at a comfortable temperature. Better still, you should consider buying a unit which has a timer feature so you can set the conditioner to operate at specific times of the day when the conditions are particularly uncomfortable.
It's also worth bearing in mind that some portable air con units are quite loud when running - this is not too much of an issue during the day but it might prove a significant distraction is you plan to use the conditioner at night when you are trying to sleep. Another thing to consider is that a portable air conditioners can lower the air pressure in a room, sometimes creating a draft under a door.
Most portable air conditioners are more than capable of getting the job done for you when it comes to creating more comfortable condition on a hot day or night.
Normally an air conditioner will be vented by running the attached hose of a window. However, if you are cooling a room which does not have a window you can also consider venting through a glass door using a sliding door venting kit, or you can even carry out venting via the ceiling with a ceiling vent kit. These are commonly found in office environments.
Some air conditioners are multi-functional, meaning they can can have various other uses - among these are the ability to operate as a dehumidifier, an air purifier or a heating unit. This type of conditioning unit can become an all-year-round device - a cooler in the summer and a heater in the winter.
Other appealing features on some air conditioners are advanced climate control - which lets you regulate precisely the temperature you require for each room in your home - and wifi/remote access which gives you to the ability to switch the device on and off when away from home.
Air conditioners come with a washable pre-filter to reduce dust in a room but it's worth considering buying additional filters, such as a carbon filter, to capture smoke and odours. Antimicrobial filters are great for trapping pollen, lint and mold spores circulating in the air.
Standard evaporative air coolers are cheaper to operate than air con units, so if you want to keep running costs down it makes sense to buy an air conditioner which has a high energy rating, meaning it will use less electricity and won't hit you as hard when it comes to paying your bills.
Portable air conditioners are superb cooling devices which create the perfect room temperature on hot days by recycling warm air into cool air.
These popular air conditioning units are suitable for the home and office and come with an exhaust vent hose and window kit to enable external ventilation.
Among the leading air conditioniner brand names featured here are Electrolux, Toshiba, Prem-i-Air, Sealey, Clarke Clarke, Koolbreeze, Amcor and DeLonghi.
Prices for portable air con units range from around £150 for a cheap unit with basic features to more than £800 for a high-tech multi-function device. You need really deep pockets for an industrial grade conditioner which can cost up to £5,000.
Read more about buying an air conditioner below
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