For homes and offices that are not serviced by central air conditioning systems, there are several alternatives available to keep you cool in summer. A popular solution is the portable air conditioner with dual hose venting for the best economy and efficiency in a small, free standing unit.
To properly vent a portable air conditioning unit, there are two main variations to be aware of. There are units with only one hose and there are others with two and it is the latter type we are interested in here.
Why Choose a Portable AC?
With several fixed cooling solutions available, you might be wondering why so many people choose portable units rather than the more efficient window AC or mini-split AC alternatives. For many, the main reasons are purchase cost (portables are generally cheaper to buy), ease of installation and space saving.
The mini-split or ductless AC represents the best operational economy but many would-be purchasers are put off by the high ticket price plus installation cost as it is generally recommended to engage a professional AC engineer to install one.
Rather than take up precious window space as a window AC unit would, a portable unit is free standing and is instead equipped with hoses to exhaust the heated air out through a convenient window. The vent tubes are held in place by an adjustable frame or fixing kit.
Portable coolers need no complicated installation and because they're not fixed in place, they represent a mobile cooling solution as the unit can be simply wheeled from room to room and used as needed. The only fixing the needs to be done is to install the window fixing kit that is supplied with the unit to a convenient window.
Everything needed to install a good quality unit should come in the box. It is necessary to have free access to a window for the unit to work correctly.
What Are the Hoses For?
When the intention is to buy a portable AC unit for your home or office, it's important to understand the purpose of the hoses. Whether you ultimately choose a single or dual hose unit, be aware that every portable AC must draw air in from one vent, process it to produce cold air and then exhaust the by-product hot air from another part of the machine.
The exhaust is pumped outside the building through one hose. Air may be drawn into the unit through another (if dual hose). It also helps to know that all air conditioning systems actually produce a greater volume of heated air than of cool air.
The efficient removal of that heated air from the room is absolutely necessary if the space is to be cooled!
Single Hose versus Dual Hose AC
While we're on the subject, let's look at the differences between the single hose and dual hose cooling units.
The single hose AC pulls warm air into the unit from the room. It then sends it past refrigerant cooled coils to be chilled and the cold air is pushed into the room. The process creates a lot hot moist air which is then sent through the exhaust hose out of the building.
This process creates a negative air pressure situation in the room as air is forced out through the window vent hose. Any cracks or fissures around windows and doors will allow the hot outside air to leech into the room.
If a lot of hot air is pulled into the building and if the area being cooled is large, the machine will need to work much harder to cool the room.
Fortunately, if the area to be cooled is fairly small, a single hose device can provide sufficient cooled air without costing too much. It is important to work out the necessary power output in BTUs for the size of the room to be cooled and purchase a machine with the right power rating.
The dual hose device differs from the single hose model by adding a second air intake in addition to the unit's own fixed air intake vent. Instead of only taking warm air from the room to be cooled, the dual hose model also takes cooler air from outside via its second hose.
This air is used to help to cool the air being processed inside the unit, making the air exchange process more efficient and use less energy to convert the room's warm air into chilled air.
As with the single hose unit, the second hose is used to exhaust the host, moist air out of the building via the window.
A dual hose portable unit is better suited for cooling larger spaces and does this much more efficiently than a single hose unit. A big advantage is that the dual hose configuration allows the unit to cool the space much faster.
It also eliminates the negative air pressure problem experienced by single hose units. This means there is less chance of hot air from outside getting into the room through gaps in window and door frames, again making the process more efficient as the unit doesn’t need to work so hard to cool the room.
A more efficient device uses less electricity to produce cool air, offsetting the initial higher purchase cost with lower on-going running costs. Over a relatively short period of time, the unit's cheaper running costs will have saved money and made it a cheaper solution in the long term than a cheaper-to-buy single hose model.
Which are the Best Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioners?
Below are some of what we consider to be the best models currently available to buy online. Our preferred store is Amazon for its great customer service, fast delivery and competitive prices.