5 Tips on How to Keep Your Portable/In Window Air Conditioner Cool This Summer

Potable AC

Keeping comfortable with a portable/in window AC requires that you maintain the unit. Learn the secrets to keeping your air conditioning unit working properly.

You depend on your portable in-window AC to keep you cool all summer long. That’s why it’s important to ensure that the unit stays in tip top shape. Take good care of your AC unit, and you’ll experience plenty of comfortable days and nights. To ensure that your air conditioner stays in good shape this summer, add the following five maintenance tips to your to-do list.

1. Provide proper ventilation.

Whether the unit is in a window or a portable one on the floor, it’s critical that your AC is in an area with adequate air flow so that it can release the heat it creates while cooling your home. In-window AC units do this automatically, but portable AC units require a venting kit that includes a vent hose leading out of a window.

2. Keep things clean.

ACs have delicate motor parts that can become clogged if they are exposed to dusty conditions. This can cause units to experience mechanical difficulties. Keep ACs away from dirty areas and clean the air filter monthly. Most portable and in window air conditioners feature a removable filter that can be cleaned with warm soapy water; then rinsed and dried. Before reinstalling the AC filter, ensure that it is completely dry. Also clean the condenser coils on the back of the AC once per season. Blow compressed air through the coils or clean with sprays of water and a soft bristle brush.

3. Ensure adequate drainage.

Portable ACs create condensation and excess water when they run. The more humid the conditions, the more water they will create during cooling. Empty the ACs water pan on a regular basis. Clean it with soapy water and white vinegar to prevent mold and mildew buildup. If your AC creates a great deal of condensation, install a drainage tube to the unit so that excess liquid can be drained into a bucket or out of the window.

4. Keep the exhaust hose straight.

Portable ACs have exhaust hoses that must remain straight during operation. If you allow the hose to bend or kink, this may lead to water filtering back into the unit, which can lead to malfunctioning.

5. Properly store the unit during off-season.

Avoid leaving your window AC in place during cold months of the year. Doing this can cause drafty conditions in your home and ice buildup can damage the unit. Store your AC in an attic, utility room or basement when not in use. Avoid putting it where it can become a nesting spot for rodents, as they can damage the unit by chewing on wiring.

P.C. Richard & Son carries a wide variety of ACs. If you have any questions about maintaining your unit, our knowledgeable sales staff will be happy to offer some friendly advice.


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How to Buy the Right Type of Air Conditioner for You


imagesChoosing the right air conditioner unit, when central HVAC may not an option, involves several factors. To determine what type of air conditioner to buy, consider the following questions:

  • What type of window space can I install a unit in?
  • Is an in-wall or slide-out unit possible?
  • How many BTUs do I need to effectively cool the room?
  • Will it need to be portable?

You may also need to factor in the ease of installation and the energy efficiency the AC unit offers.

Window Space

Types of air conditioners vary depending upon the window space available. A vertical hung sash window that opens up and down typically can accommodate a standard window air conditioner, while a slider/casement style AC unit is needed for casement windows that crank open or slide open horizontally. These types of indoor air conditioners sit on the window sill with the window partially open, held secure in place by the window sash and/or other manufacturer recommended methods.

In-Wall or Slide-Out Window AC Units

The chassis is the supportive frame for a window air conditioner unit. Units built with a slide-out chassis can be removed and may be installed through a wall inside an air conditioner sleeve (which may require brackets for support.) Certain in-wall AC units can be installed so they sit flush with the wall, creating a sleek, minimalistic look. In-wall and slide-out chassis air conditioner units don’t have the same side-vents a regular window air conditioner has, but they do offer a high cooling capacity ideal for bedrooms and offices.

Note: The thickness of your wall will determine if installing an in-wall air conditioner is possible.

About BTUs

BTUs, or British thermal units, are units of energy. Cooling is measured in BTU per hour. According to Energy.gov, “Based on size alone, an air conditioner generally needs 20 BTU for each square foot of living space.” On average, most window AC units or portable air conditioners range from 5,500 BTU per hour to 14,000 BTU per hour. You may also see units with a cooling capacity size of a ton. A ton, in air conditioner cooling terms, means that unit has a rate of 12,000 BTU per hour.

While the size of the room is key in figuring how much BTU is needed, don’t forget to consider how much sun or shade the room receives, the effectiveness of the room’s insulation and the height of the ceilings — it takes more energy to cool a room with 9-foot or higher ceilings.

Tip: When buying a window air conditioner, avoid one that is oversized (too high BTU) for the space. Use a BTU calculator to figure the right size for the space.

Portable AC Units

A portable AC unit is an ideal choice if your room has only one window or a window AC unit isn’t permitted by your landlord. Consider a portable air conditioner for rooms that need supplemental cooling, such as offices, enclosed porches or loft rooms. You can find units with timers, multi-fan settings and that are easy to move from room to room as needed.

Trust P.C. Richard & Son for all your air conditioner needs, including wall sleeve replacement air conditioners and accessories such as filters, sealing foam, brackets and covers for when the unit is not in use.



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Air Conditioning – Common Problems and Solutions

Trouble Shooting air contioner

A window air conditioner can provide the much-needed relief you need when the temperature rises, especially in homes without central air. To ensure you stay cool all summer long it’s important to know how to troubleshoot some common problems with the unit. You may not be able to fix every problem, but at the very least have an understanding of what the problem could be. From that point you can decide whether you need to repair the unit or purchase a new one.

My air conditioner won’t turn on.

First thing to do if you’re A/C unit won’t turn on is to check for power. Is the air conditioner plugged in? If so, test the outlet by plugging another appliance in to that same outlet. If the outlet is receiving no power, check your circuit breaker.

If the A/C is receiving power but still doesn’t turn on, there are a number of issues that could be wrong and would require repair including the wiring, thermostat, compressor, selector switch or control board.

My air conditioner isn’t cold enough.

This is a common complaint and why it’s important to purchase the right BTU size air conditioner for the space you are trying to cool. Check your BTU size here to see if you purchased the right size for your space. You may need a new air conditioner with a larger BTU size to get the job done.

If you have the right size BTU use a thermometer to get the temperature of the room and compare that to the temperature you want it to be.  If there is a 15 degree difference you may be asking the unit to do more than it is capable of. Try resetting the temperature to 10 degrees lower than the room temperature.

If the difference with the thermometer is less than 15 degrees, check the air damper. If it is open it will bring in outside air and this is bad for the unit’s efficiency. Check your back cover also, many people forget to remove this cover after the winter season.

Lastly check the condensing coils, which are located on the warm end of the A/C unit. Remove the air conditioner cover to access the coils and clean them with a soft brush. For more tips on how to keep your air conditioner running efficiently click here.

Air Conditioner diagram

My air conditioner isn’t blowing out any cold air.

If you’re not feeling any cold air coming from the unit but the fan is blowing, make sure the thermostat is set appropriately first.  Next check the compressor motor, which is a small case inside the air conditioner. If it is humming continuously, it could be the condenser, evaporator or compressor, all of which would need service from a professional.

My air conditioner is leaking water.

If you find your A/C unit is leaking water this could be a sign that it wasn’t installed properly. Re-check the manual’s installation instructions to be sure the installation was done correctly. Most likely you may just need to tilt the unit back slightly to allow water to run off.

My air conditioner stinks!

If you have consistent problems with your A/C unit and you have gone through all the troubleshooting steps, the unit may need service from a professional or you it may just be time for an upgrade.  An average window air conditioner has a life span of 8 years, and this varies on how often it is used and how well you maintain the unit.


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Air Conditioner Buying Guide


Summer is right around the corner and temperatures are on the rise… now is the perfect time to assess your cooling needs before the thermometer hits triple digits!

Already have an air conditioner? First, check and clean your air conditioner to ensure it’s running properly. If you haven’t bought a new air conditioner in the past 7 years, upgrading to a more energy efficient model could save you money on your utility bill.

Need a new one? Whether you’re purchasing a window, portable or split air conditioner, you will find the choices in the market today are much more energy efficient. Before you go to the store there are two major things you should consider first before purchasing:


Getting a cooling system that‘s the wrong size is the most common mistake people make, regardless of the type.  An air conditioner that is too small will never cool the space and cost you more money to run, while an air conditioner that is too large will cool the space too quickly without removing the moisture, leaving the space cold and clammy.

When figuring out the size of the air conditioner you will need, you need to fist determine the size of the space you are looking to cool. Once you have the size you can determine how many BTUs is required to cool that space.  Learn how to calculate your BTUs here.


How will you be installing the air conditioner and will you be installing it yourself? Will it be through a wall or a window? This will help determine the type of air conditioner you need to purchase. If you are installing an A/C yourself, be sure that the electrical circuit to the room can handle the electrical load of the unit. Take a look at the outlets you have to determine what plug type you need.  Learn more about installation and different plug types here.


Types of Air Conditioners and Common Questions

Window/Wall Air Conditioners

Will window air conditioners work in any window?

Window air conditioners are built to fit multiple windows that open vertically or horizontally. Many window air conditioners include adjustable panels, which help them expand to fit and seal openings. Be sure to measure your window first before purchasing you’re an A/C unit.

Can any window air conditioner be installed through a wall?

No; you want a window/wall slide out air conditioner that can be installed in a window or in a wall. When installing a through-the-wall air conditioner, the first thing you want to determine is how thick your wall is. Measure the distance from the inside of the home to the outside of the home including the studs, sheet rock, and whatever type of material you have on the outside of your home. All these factors come into play in selecting the proper air conditioner.  Learn more here.

What is a ‘SEER’ Rating?

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER, calculates the efficiency of air conditioners. The higher the SEER rating is the greater the efficiency is. The lower the SEER rating is the more money you spend to operate it.

How much energy does a window air conditioner use?

To calculate this, divide the BTUs by the SEER rating. This gives you the watts per hour. Divide that by 1,000 to get kilowatt hours (kWh). Next, multiply the kWh by your power company rate to learn your costs per hour. For example, a 15,000 BTU air conditioner with a SEER rating of 12 and a cost of 30 cents per kWh would calculate as follows:

15,000 BTUs / SEER 12 = 1,250 W = 1.25 kWh

1.25 kWh x $0.30 = $0.375 per hour to run your window air conditioner. At 8 hours a day for 125 days of summer, your window air conditioner will have an annual running cost of $375 a year.

How often should you change/clean your air filter?

It’s best to change filters every three months. If you live in an area with a lot of dust or pollen, you may want to replace it more frequently or, at the very least, clean your filters once every 2 weeks. Clogged air filters can impair the performance of your air conditioner and increase your energy costs. Learn more about keeping your air conditioner running efficiently here.

Portable Air Conditioners

Why choose a portable air conditioner?

It is extremely easy to install, and for spaces that will not support a window/wall A/C unit, it may be your best option. Another great advantage is mobility, you can easily move it from room to room depending on where you are and which area needs attention, unlike a window unit that is installed and tends to remain in one spot.

Can I use a portable air conditioner in a room without a window?

Just like any other A/C unit, portable air conditioners need to have somewhere to release heat.  The most convenient way is to use a window, but there are other solutions. You can easily install through a door using an extended portable air conditioner installation kit or vent through a ceiling using a ceiling vent kit.

Is it safe to run a portable air conditioner overnight?

Absolutely! All portable air conditioners collect condensation as they cool, but you don’t have to worry about them overflowing as the unit will shut itself off before that happens. Most portable air conditioners will do the same thing if it’s time for a new air filter.

Can I lengthen the exhaust hose on the portable air conditioner?

This is not recommended. Extending the exhaust hose will void your warranty and if it isn’t done professionally it could be unsafe to use.

Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioners

Why choose a ductless mini-split?

Ductless mini split systems have the benefits of a central system without the difficulty and high material/labor costs of installing ductwork. Most systems can be installed and running in a few hours. Learn more about the benefits of ductless mini-split air conditioners here.

How do I choose a ductless split air conditioner?

Like all air conditioners, you need to know how many BTUs accommodate the area you’re trying to cool.  Ductless mini-splits cool a larger area for BTU capacity than portable or window air conditioners.  See a BTU key here.

How do I install a ductless mini-split air conditioner?

We and the manufacturer strongly recommend professional installation and suggest that self-installation should not be attempted. HVAC training and tools are needed to complete the installation of a ductless mini split air conditioning system to comply with technical, E.P.A. and environmental requirements.


P.C. Richard & Son is your air conditioner headquarters. We have a huge selection of air conditioners at the lowest prices guaranteed to keep you cool all summer! Still have questions? Check out our Learning Center or stop into your local P.C. Richard & Son Superstore and one of our friendly and knowledgeable sales associates can help you find an air conditioner that will best suit your needs.





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Keep Your Air Conditioner Running Efficiently


As the temperatures rise, so do energy costs. We all know running the air conditioner during the summer months can be quite costly, but a cool home doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Here are some tips on how to keep your air conditioner running efficiently while keeping those energy bills low, without compromising your comfort.

Keep the Cool In and the Heat Out

Make sure your home is properly sealed. Check your attic to make sure it has been properly insulated. If you can see the attic joists, you will need to add more insulation. Check your windows and doors for drafts and seal up any cracks with caulking or weather stripping.

Help Your Air Conditioner Breathe

Air conditioners consume a lot of energy, but there are a few tricks that will help lower their energy consumption. Remember to check the filters. Filters can compromise efficiency so you want to make sure to clean them or replace them. Keeping your air conditioner out of direct sunlight will also improve performance. To help with air circulation, keep fences, decks, bushes and other obstructions away from your unit.

Be a Fan of Fans

Investing in a ceiling fan will help move air around your home and improve the efficiency of your air conditioner.  With the help of a fan, your unit will not have to work as hard and this will help lower your energy costs.

Keep Your Curtains Closed

Of course natural light can help keep your electric bill low, but if nobody is home during the day, keep the curtains closed. Keeping the sun’s direct rays from entering the house helps reduce the amount of effort your air conditioner puts forth to keep the house cool.

Reduce the Humidity

Use a dehumidifier when the temperature rises. Eliminating the humidity in your home will make it feel cooler and more comfortable. When using a dehumidifier combined with fans you can set your air conditioner on 75 degrees saving you on energy costs.

Upgrade to a More Efficient Unit

Have you tried all the tricks, but still aren’t getting the results you want? It may just be time to spring for a new one. Newer systems are more efficient then systems from 10 years ago and can help trim your energy bills by 20% or more.

If you are looking for an air conditioner, P.C. Richard & Son is your air conditioner headquarters! We have a huge selection of wall and window air conditioners at the guaranteed lowest prices. Shop online or visit us at one of our 66 locations. Stay cool!


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Simple Tips to Save Money This Summer While Enjoying The Comfort of Your Air Conditioner

As the temperature rises, so does the electric bill. Running your air conditioner during the summer months is quite costly, but with these simple tips you won’t have to sacrifice your comfort to save some money.

Do you have the right size?

When it comes to maximizing your comfort while minimizing your electric bill; size matters. If you purchase an air conditioner that’s too large you could be throwing away money, however purchase an air conditioner that’s too small and it’s likely you’re not cooling your space efficiently. Having the right size air conditioning system is key. Whether you have a window air conditioner unit or a portable air conditioner unit, you need to make sure your AC has the right number of BTUs for the space you are trying to cool. Check the charts below.


Although the size of the space is important, it is not the only factor. Think of how many people will be occupying this space, is it more than two? If so add 600 BTUs for each additional person. Is the space very sunny? If the space you want to cool lets in a lot of sunlight increase BTUs by 10%. If the unit is for a kitchen add 4,000 BTUs.  You also need to check that the space you are cooling is properly insulated. If cool air is escaping this can affect the amount of BTUs needed as well.

When was the last time you cleaned the filters?

If you can’t remember that is probably not a good sign. The most important maintenance task to ensure efficiency of your air conditioner is to routinely clean or replace the filters. A clogged, dirty filter blocks normal airflow and reduces the unit’s efficiency significantly. Cleaning or replacing a dirty air filter will lower energy consumption of your air conditioner by 5-15 percent.

Some types of filters are reusable and others must be replaced. You should clean or replace filters every month during the summer season. You may need to give filters more frequent attention if your air conditioner is in constant use, subjected to dusty conditions, or you have a dog or a cat, or any other fur-bearing pet in the house.

As well as filters you should also check your evaporator coil once a year and clean it as necessary.

Setting the right temperature and mode

Most pros would agree that setting the temperature so that it only varies a few degrees is best for efficiency. When nobody is home bring the temperature up a few degrees and drop it when people are home. Set your air conditioner on auto. When you leave your air conditioner running constantly, the system won’t have a chance to drain off the water that’s condensed on its evaporator coil. Instead, it will blow it back into your home. In “auto” mode, the unit has a chance to recover and remove all accumulated condensation each time it shuts off.  The idea is to keep a comfortable temperature maintained. Remember dropping the temperature does not cool an area any faster, but it does use more energy.

At night give your air conditioner a break. When the temperature drops in the evening open your windows and use fans to circulate the cold air.  Fans use much less energy than an air conditioner. In the morning you should shut the windows to trap the cold air in.


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Important Information Regarding the Availability of Air Conditioners

Wow, what a heat wave! We apologize for the inconvenience but due to the overwhelming demand for air conditioners in our area, all air conditioners are now in-store only. Supply is limited, so please go to our store locator page and call your local showroom to check the availability of the A/C unit(s) you need. We will let you know on this blog and at pcrichard.com when units are available online again.

If you need help figuring out what size air conditioner you need, please see our guide here. For A/C alternatives, please see our selection of fans and dehumidifiers and article on how to beat the heat. Remember to stay hydrated and limit your time in the sun!


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5 Things You Need to Know About Air Conditioners

When the temperatures rise an increase in air conditioner use is the result, there are some important things you should know about your units. Here are 5 things to watch out for and techniques for increasing the life and efficiency of your air conditioners.

1. Change the filter often during the cooling season

While your air conditioner is cooling you off, it’s acting as an air purifier as it prevents outside debris from blowing into your home. When was the last time you took a look at your unit’s air filter? Cleaning or changing it will increase efficiency, decrease your energy bill, and can potentially benefit your family’s health. Make a mental note to clean the filter at least once a month in the summer to keep your A/C running like new.

2. Leaks can affect the performance of your air conditioner

Window A/C units are always difficult to seal correctly. To see if you have a leak around your windows, light a stick of incense and hold it where the unit and window frame meet. If the smoke blows around, there’s a leakage. Nothing a little foam, tape or weather seals can’t fix!

3. You can increase efficiency by placing the unit on the north or east side of your house

The sun, the reason why we need air conditioners in the first place, can really affect the output of your units. Try to shield them from the sun as much as possible, as putting them in direct sunlight reduces their efficiency by up to 10%.

4. Shield the unit inside, too

Increase the life of your unit by closing blinds and shades around the unit when you are not in the room. You should also consider running floor or ceiling fans (that are turning counter-clockwise) as well to aid in cooling. The air conditioner doesn’t need to work as hard and will therefore last longer. Plus, fans will move the dry air your air conditioner dehumidifies around.

5. Air conditioners have changed considerably from 10 years ago

Cooling technology and federal laws for efficiency have come a long way since the last time you may have purchased a window unit; the investment you make now could very well pay for itself over time. When purchasing a new unit, check the energy efficiency ratio, or EER. Devices with higher numbers will cost less to operate.

Ask your P.C. Richard & Son sales associate or click our live chat help on any product page on our website for information on how to keep cool this season. You can also check out our Learning Center for informational videos on air conditioners.


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Happy Earth Day! P.C. Richard & Son Green Initiatives and How You Can Help

Happy Earth Day! Earth Day is a celebration of environmental protection and inspires awareness to our planet’s health every April 22. Did you know that P.C. Richard & Son promotes recycling, energy-saving appliances and green initiatives all year round? Here are a few ways we help protect the environment and some suggestions on great green products for your home.

What We Do
We here at P.C. Richard & Son deal with a lot of plastic, cardboard and Styrofoam with product packaging. We break down all cardboard boxes that hold all orders we receive and separate it from any plastic and Styrofoam that is also included in the packaging. The plastic and Styrofoam is collected and cardboard grouped into bails to be sent to a recycling plant where it is reused and repurposed. Our Deer Park Clearance Center alone sees four to five hundred boxes ever week and a half or so, so that’s tens of thousands of pounds of cardboard, plastic and Styrofoam recycled every year from our 65 locations.

In addition to hauling away all of our packaging material to recycling plants, we often offer free haul aways of your old appliances when you purchase new ones. Haul-awayed appliances are always recycled and are never brought to a landfill. Freon and other harmful substances are disposed of in OSHCA-complaint ways.

We recycle on a much smaller scale, too. Our break rooms have recycling receptacles that are clearly marked for things like aluminum cans and plastic bottles. We also have recycling bins for white paper in our corporate office headquarters.

How You Can Help
Energy Star products are a cost-effective and convenient way to reduce energy use and promote environmental protection. Energy Star is a government-backed program and has also been adopted in countries like Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Taiwan and the European Union. We carry many Energy Star-approved appliances and electronics that are worth looking into for your own green initiatives. We offer:

  • Energy Star Refrigerators: Energy Star-qualified refrigerators require about half as much energy s models manufactured before 1993.
  • Energy Star Washers and Dryers: Energy Star washers can save you $550 in operating costs over a regular clothes washer. Less energy and water use means less air pollution from power plants and less water going to waste.
  • Energy Star Air Conditioners: If every room AC sold in the US were Energy Star qualified, it would prevent 1.3 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions- the equivalent emissions of 115,000 cars.
  • Energy Star Dishwashers: Energy Star-qualified dishwashers use at least 41% less energy than the federal minimum standard for energy consumption and can save you more than $30 a year in utility costs.
  • Energy Star HDTVs: There are 275 million TVs currently in use in the US, consuming over 50 billion kilowatts of energy each year, That’s 4% of all household’s electricity use! This is enough electricity to power all the homes in New York State for an entire year. Energy Star-qualified TVs use about 30% less energy than standard units.
  • And more! Check out our Energy Star Products page.

These products will pay for themselves over time with the minimal energy they use, and Mother Nature will be protected! This Earth Day, please look into planet-protecting green initiatives and consider Energy Star products. For more information on Earth Day, visit the Earth Day Network website.

Do you have good Earth Day tips? Let us know in the comments!


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Must-Haves for Apartment Dwellers: Portable Appliances

Do you use portable appliances? When you’re renting an apartment, portable appliances can be your best friend. They don’t take up much space, use few resources, can be moved from room to room, and are easy to store. Plus, they more than pay for themselves in time you can save by using them!

Here is a list of portable appliances available at P.C. Richard:

Portable Air Conditioners
Portable A/Cs are convenient because they can be transferred from one room to another and do not require any permanent installation. A venting outlet is required to let the exhaust hose out of the room to let out hot air, but most portable ACs come with a window venting kit that is easy to set up and transfer around. These A/Cs are usually vented through a window, wall or drop ceiling. You can shop for portable air conditioners on our site to see what is currently available.

Portable Washing Machines
A big issue with apartment renters is the usual lack of a washer and dryer in their unit/complex, and who wants to spend hours in a laundromat? A portable washing machine can finally save you from wearing the last torn t-shirt you managed to find to postpone going to clean your clothes. These washers are quiet, don’t take up a lot of space, and use very little water. They’re easy to set up and take down, too! Just plug them into the wall, hook it up to the sink, and you’re good to go. We have a few portable washers available on our website, and they all have excellent reviews!

Portable Dryers
Portable clothes dryers work exactly like their larger counterparts. Most have multiple cycle and heat choices and require 115 to 240 volts depending on the model. Setup is similar to a portable air conditioner in that they need a vent and usually come with a vent plate to mount on your window. We have a few portable dryers available that list the voltage requirements and what cycles they include.

Portable Dishwashers
For many, not having a dishwasher means piles of dirty dishes in the sink that you wash as you need them. Like a portable washing machine, portable dishwashers hook right up to your sink with a garden hose-like connection. It’s a lot easier to load up a small appliance with dishes than it is to wash them all by hand! Our portable dishwasher page is located here.


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