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Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Portable Air Conditioner or Fixed Air Conditioner?

The first question to consider when looking for air conditioning, is whether to purchase a fixed air conditioner or a portable air conditioner.

For rented properties or offices, you must consult the landlord and get permission to have a fixed system fitted.  The fitting requires some destructive work and brings certain legislation and documentation into play which is ever increasing.  I won't list the rules and regulations here, as they are changing constantly and getting tighter and more rigorous as time goes by.  Even if you own the building the on-going cost of meeting current legislation is a valid concern.

If the landlord is happy to have it fitted then the next consideration is whether or not the cost is justified.  It is possible to move air conditioning systems, however it is expensive, it can cost more than the purchase of the equipment in extreme cases.

The advantages of fixed systems is that they tend to take up no floor space, whether you choose a ceiling cassette or a wall mount.  They can be quieter and more efficient.  With a portable air conditioner you can get some heat radiated back into the room from the exhaust pipe.  You may also have a tank which needs regular emptying as air conditioners pull water out of the air drying as well - this water has to be removed.  Some units have the facility to use a hose or similar to pipe the water directly out in the same way that a fixed unit does.

Another critical issue with fixed systems is the location of the outoor unit.  These can be a little unsightly and on the fronts of buildings, planning permission may be required, on a busy high street an outdoor unit on the front of the building is unlikely to be passed.  An alternative is a monobloc fixed air conditioner which uses an intake and exhaust vent and works in a similar way to a monobloc portable - these require no outdoor unit so may be a good choice where outdoor unit location is a problem.

A key advantage of portable air conditioners is flexibility, you can purchase one to use to cool workers in the office - then transfer it to the server room if one of the fixed units fails. You cam move premises without de-comissioning and re-comissioning the unit, and a new one can be purchased and swapped in if a critical unit fails.

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