Which air conditioner – portable or permanently fixed?

Woman Researching Best Air Conditioning Unit

As we look forward to another heatwave in September (following a rather wet August!), leading meteorologists have warned that wetter, hotter and sunnier weather, with temperatures of 40C, will become the norm for British summers.

We love the sun of course, but when you’re working inside, the accompanying sweltering temperatures can make for uncomfortable, distracted days and oppressive, sleepless nights.

No surprise then that interest in air conditioning is rising along with the temperatures.

The question most people ask first, is ‘what is the best air conditioner?’ and the answer, of course, depends on individual needs.

Basically, air conditioners can be portable or fixed (split units) and each has its own benefits, so here is a quick guide to help you choose:

Portable vs fixed installation

Mobile or portable air conditioners are not permanently fixed and can offer a cheaper option. They can be moved from room to room, or even between floors and buildings. However, they are bulky and usually require an exhaust pipe hanging out of a window to push hot air outside, and they are not as efficient as permanently fixed air conditioning, known as split units.

Split unit air conditioners are quieter and more efficient. They are known as split units because they comprise two parts: an evaporator (mounted inside the room) and a condensing unit (mounted outside). The two parts work together, circulating refrigerant and turning it from a gas to a liquid and then to a vapour. Essentially, heat is continually extracted from the air, which is cooled and then blown back into your home, keeping temperatures in your home constant.

As split unit air conditioners need to be installed professionally, this is the more expensive option, but they provide greater control and can also be reversed to heat your home in winter. What’s more, there is no dangling pipe or requirement for an open window, so your home is more secure too.

Whichever you choose, you can be sure that you will enjoy a cooler, more comfortable home and, as air conditioners of all types remove moisture from the air, you will be less prone to coughs, colds and allergies.

In our next blog, we explain the different features available and consider the best brands to buy…

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