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 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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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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