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Does using a portable AC save money?

Money is probably a big factor for you if you’re considering a portable AC. Portable ACs are famously a cheap alternative to traditional air conditioning. And who doesn’t need to save money on their electricity bills these days? But do portable ACs actually save you money? 

Does using a portable AC save money?

Using a portable AC can save you up to 50% on your air conditioning bill by reducing the need to cool your entire home. Portable air conditioners also save you money because they are thousands of dollars cheaper than other types of air conditioners.

The first way that portable air conditioners save you money is in their upfront cost. A portable air conditioner costs just $400 – $600 to buy and no money to install.

Compare that to traditional air conditioning systems and you’ll notice a cost savings of thousands of dollars. Normal air conditioner systems cost $2,000 – $4,000.

Traditional air conditioners also cost more money to install. You should expect to pay $400 – $600 in order to get a professional to install your air conditioning system.

Traditional air conditioners cost this much to install because they need to be integrated into your home’s electrical wiring. They also need to be connected via a refrigerant line to an external unit that deposits heat into the outdoor air. 

A second way that portable air conditioners save you money is that they allow you to target your air conditioning in a smaller space. A lot of traditional air conditioning systems circulate air around your entire home. That means you have the choice of cooling your entire apartment or none of it.

A portable air conditioner can be used in a specific room. In fact, it’s designed to just be used in a specific room. It wouldn’t be a good fit for a larger space.

More targeted air conditioning means lower electricity use and a small electricity bill.

There is one hitch to assuming that a portable air conditioner will save you money – portable air conditioners are actually a lot less energy efficient than other types of cooling. 

An 8,000 BTU portable air conditioner will generally use 1.2 kWh – 1.4 kWh of electricity an hour. But a similarly-rated split AC system will only use .8 kWh – 1 kWh of electricity. 

There are a few reasons for this – they tend to suck warm outdoor air into your home, portable air conditioners are designed less efficiently than other air conditioning systems, and they have their heating components inside your home. 

The upshot is if you use a portable AC and a split AC to cool the same space, you’ll pay a lot more with the portable AC. But this isn’t a realistic scenario. Most portable AC users are going to cool a much smaller space than a split AC, so will still end up saving money.