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Portable AC units
Old 06-05-2007, 11:17 AM   #1
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Portable AC units

I have been thinking of purchasing a portable AC unit. (you know the kind you can wheel around the house) This is for a house I have in Mexico. I can't use window units cause of the alarm system, which is very nec. there. Mini split systems are quite expensive.

Costo has a Sharp unit for around $469, I think it is 10 Seer and the reviews I have read about it say it is very quiet. Anyone have this unit by chance or any portable ac unit that could give me the lowdown on. I here they are not as effective as window units, but no choice in this case.

Any other brand you might recommend?
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Old 06-05-2007, 11:21 AM   #2
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We had a Danby for our cabin, it is about 3 or 4 years old. PITA. You have to manually empty out water it pulls out of the air. It is rather large. The tube you stick out the window is awkward. It doesn't cool that well. If you have any other options, take them.
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Old 06-05-2007, 01:06 PM   #3
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You should look at how the condensate is disposed of. Every A/C removes humidity from the air. This is called condensate. It will need to be gravity drained or pumped out of the house somewhere. If your house in MX is concrete block or Adobe you might want to cut a hole in the side of the house and mount it. Genneraly the exterior housing can be permanetly mounted into the wall so that the unit slide out into the room for maintenance. Then if you attach the bars around the exterior housing like on the windows only formed to the A/C I'd think you should be fine. I've observed several such set ups in my travels in MX.
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Old 06-05-2007, 02:57 PM   #4
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You want a dual hose unit, and make sure its not a single hose pretending to be a dual hose.

These units have to cool their internal condenser...a window unit just draws in outside air from one side and blows it out the other. A single hose unit draws interior air from the room, runs it over the condenser and blows it out the single hose.

Unfortunately that sucked out of the room has to be replaced by air from other rooms, which then have to draw replacement air from...somewhere...usually every crack and seam and other non sealed opening in the house.

So the room that has a single hose a/c in it will get cooler, while every other room in the house will get warmer.

Dual hose units draw air through one hose and blow it out the other, and can also evaporate the condensate and include that in the air blown out. Some single hose units can evaporate their condensate, but they're not as efficient at it.

I have seen some "faked" dual hose units that have a second 'intake' hose, but also has a bunch of vented area around the hose...so it pulls half or more of its air from the room instead of the hose.

I'm quite familiar with the costco unit you're looking at...I've poked at it several times. Its very quiet, will do a good job of cooling the room its in provided the room is under 200-250 sq ft, but its a single hose unit. And not particularly super cheap.

By the way, these also tend to be pretty big electricity hogs...1000-1400+ watts...make sure your house in mexico has a circuit large enough to handle that kind of load. A little skinny wire or a low rated breaker/fuse and you might not be able to run it, or run it safely.
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Old 06-05-2007, 05:34 PM   #5
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I looked at Costco's web site, and they have other units with the dual hoses, only I can't tell by looking a pictures if they are the real deal, as you mentioned (dual system for air)

The house is Mexico isn't that old, only about five years old, but I will have to see what size amp the breakers are. Any thoughts on name brands? The two other ones they have are Windchaser and a Royal Sovereign. Both have the dual hoses.
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Old 06-05-2007, 06:07 PM   #6
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I'd suggest you find a place where you can listen to them and see how they direct air. In reading reviews (epinions is a decent start) many units (including windchaser and RS) get some complaints about noise and how/where they direct air...some units have an automatic back and forth air dispersion system that some people didnt like...some shoot the cool air straight up, only to the right, etc.

That sharp unit was very quiet on the low setting...some of the GE and Kenmore units sound like a rocket motor.

Circuit City, best buy and especially Fry's have a fairly substantial selection of these for closer examination...or...get one of the costco units that fits the bill and if its got a goofy intake setup, is too loud or doesnt disperse air the way you like, you can take it back and have the full price, tax and shipping all refunded at any store.
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Old 06-06-2007, 11:54 AM   #7
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Costco will refund the cost of shipping too?
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Old 06-06-2007, 06:35 PM   #8
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Oh yes, the whole banana...if you return it in-store...i've never tried to ship something back to them. You'd have to read their terms and conditions to see what the deal is with that.

Sometimes their .com pricing is a bit higher than the stores, and the shipping isnt always cheap...although they ship clearance items for free and those are often a very good deal.

I buy without hesitation from the web site, just like I do from the store. I've never been given even an iota of a hard time returning something bought instore or from their web site. In fact, half the time they apologize for the trouble the product caused me while handing me a wad of cash.
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