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Old 06-27-2013, 01:59 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Al in Ohio View Post
I am a mechanical design (HVAC and plumbing) Professional Engineer. I'll give you some free advice.

DO NOT buy a portable unit. You will regret it. How will you get rid of the condensate, do you really want that big thing taking up valuable floor space, and more importantly, how will you duct away the rejected heat? If you can't answer the third one, you are just playing shuffleboard with the heat.

Buy what is called a "ductless split system". Only the DX (direct expansion) refrigerant pipe is piped outside to an exterior condensing unit that can be placed anywhere other than the front of your house and make the HOA happy. The heat is all carried away by the DX pipe. The interior portion of the "split" system is installed in your sons room. They come in half ton and 3/4 ton sizes and are made by Sanyo, Toshiba, and I believe also now Carrier and some others.
Al, the split systems rock. Problem is the OP said they didn't want to spend that kind of money.

I could see a portable being useful for super-peak days like Las Vegas is having right now. Maybe a few weeks a year. Solves a problem without the cost or installation hassles.

I say if OP is worried about leaks, put it on a tray or mat. Maybe save up for a future real solution like a Mr. Slim.
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Old 06-27-2013, 04:42 PM   #22
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In my humble opinion the OP should bite the bullet and buy the ductless mini-split. He won't be sorry after he gets over the initial sticker shock.

I have a ductless mini-split heat pump with supplemental resistance heating in addition to a conventional A/C system. I live in a very hot and humid place.
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Old 06-27-2013, 06:52 PM   #23
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If you are handy, you can install a mini spit yourself - they come pre-charged.

Example: Comfort-Aire SMA12SC-0 12,000 BTU Cooling (1 Ton), 13 SEER Cooling Only (Air Conditioner) Single-Zone Mini-Split System, 115 Volts, R-410A Refrigerant
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Old 06-27-2013, 08:26 PM   #24
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Good idea. I bought my furnace from that company and installed it myself, it works great and saved us a lot of money.

For a DIY option, the mini-split might be easier than the through-the wall AC unit I suggested: No need to frame and trim a new big hole in the wall, just drill a hole or two through the wall for the in/out refrigerant lines and the condensate drain, mount the inner and outer units, and you are good to go. Bringing electricity to the outside unit and the inside one might be the biggest hassle (the through-the-wall unit would simply plug in to an existing outlet unless you go with a monster unit.)

Higher equipment cost for the split system, and when it breaks you'd need to fix it (vs just buying a new one for less than the cost of a service call). But the split system would be quieter and better looking.

Bonus: When your >main< AC unit dies someday, having a room with independent cooling is going to seem like a very nice thing until you can get the main one fixed. "Son, you've got some roommates."
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Old 06-27-2013, 10:29 PM   #25
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Samclem made excellent points.

1. Go to an AC forum and see what they would suggest.
2. Install a return for that room. A return ductwork might not seem like a big deal, but it's huge. That alone might solve the problem.
3. Add extra insulation in the attic above his room. That again is a big factor.
4. Check his run, ductwork from furnace to his bedroom. Make sure as straight as possible, large enough duct for such a long run and most important, no leaks. (When ductwork has bends in them, it cuts down on the flow tremendously.)

If you go to an AC forum, there will be so many ideas, it will become dizzying. But if you do points 2, 3 and 4, I don't think you'll have any more problems.
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Old 06-28-2013, 06:23 PM   #26
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A thousand thank you's for all your wonderful recommendations. Especially you SamClem who wrote such a all inclusive recommendation.

I did have an AC company out, and they were not much help. I guess I need to get a new AC company out. Problem though is now we are in the 115 to 117 degree temperature setting here in Vegas, and I shutter to think what the attic temperature is right now, so I think if I get some new duct work done up there, I should wait until we are done with the summer months.

I agree if it can't be fixed with the main unit, the long term solution would probably have to be a mini split system. His main problem remains with how his room is situated sticking out facing the front of the street and our HOA restrictions. If I put a window unit in the wall , it would have to go in his closet, cause there is only a small part of his room on the side of the house that is behind a wall. So a window unit would need to be placed down low and and out of sight from neighbor next door as well as front of house. I would go this route if it were not for the loss of use of his closet space. He has a dresser in the other half of his closet. So now I would be limiting his hanging area to a small 4' area up high (but still considering it.)

I think some of you are right in that Las Vegas is such a dry climate that the condensation with a portable would not be nearly the problem as they are in more humid areas. I think all the complaints posted about them leaking may be from people living in more humid areas. However, there is the space issue, as his room is so small and there is barely enough room for his bed and computer table (his dresser is in closet, because his room is so small)

I would like to explore the duct work solution after the summer passes here, and if that does not help, then consider the split system I guess.
But I still have almost three months of very hot weather here to face, and don't want him sweating to death, so need a temporary solution.

Though a big portable ac unit would really crowd his room (make it difficult to get to his closet with out climbing over his bed) It could be used in the master bedroom as a back up later down the road, when my AC unit decides to die (It is currently 13 years old) And they always go at the worst possible time in the summer. On the other hand, a small window unit placed in the wall to the outside would not take up his bedroom area, and probably suffice in terms of doing the nec. additional cooling when needed in the summer. You wouldn't see it in his closet, except when he was using it with the closet door open.

But my main concern there was the size of the hole in the wall, and would I be able to find another unit to fit the same size hole when it goes. Current window ac units don't seem to hold up like the old ones, and many people on Amazon talk of them dying in a short time frame. I am leaning towards the portable unit to get through this summer, and then seeing what can be done with the duct work, returns and added insulation after the summer passes. We will probably go out tomorrow and look at the size of the portable units, and make our decision which way to go.

Again, thank you all so much. This board has always been supportive and helpful when people need advise. Definitely the best board out there in my opinion.
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Old 06-28-2013, 06:46 PM   #27
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I couldn't help noting Modhatter's post about the devilishly hot temp in Nevada was post #666...
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Old 06-28-2013, 07:14 PM   #28
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I couldn't help noting Modhatter's post about the devilishly hot temp in Nevada was post #666...
Wow - great catch!

And if we had that "Post #XXX of YYYYY" feature I suggested, it would be preserved for immortality (or is that immorality?)! Is there any better reason to have it?

-ERD50
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Old 06-28-2013, 07:19 PM   #29
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I edited my post to preserve the number...
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Old 06-28-2013, 07:28 PM   #30
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I'm considering this for our house for nights when we need the A/C for the humidity, but the temperature is not so high. On those nights, the cool air settles to keep the downstairs thermostat cool, so the A/C doesn't run much. But the hot air keeps rising to our upstairs bedrooms. Sometimes I keep the blower on overnight, but I think this would be better.

-ERD50
Humidity What's humidity? :-)

My Pinguino has a hose that drains the condensation bucket and it runs outside along with the vent for the newly heated air.
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Old 06-29-2013, 07:58 AM   #31
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I have portable ACs in my house. It get's humid here, and the self-evaporation feature doesn't always work. If the tank fills, the unit shuts off automatically.
I owned one for 48 hours before returning it. The unit would shut off at 3AM with an alarm that would beep until I got up and emptied the tank. PITA! Who would design such a thing that only works 6 hours before needing attention?
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Old 06-29-2013, 09:20 AM   #32
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I owned one for 48 hours before returning it. The unit would shut off at 3AM with an alarm that would beep until I got up and emptied the tank. PITA! Who would design such a thing that only works 6 hours before needing attention?
Thus this post:

Portable air conditioners that don't leak
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Old 06-29-2013, 10:01 AM   #33
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I learn the most amazing things from this site. These min-split A/C systems are cool!
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