With summer fast approaching and climate change ensuring temperature extremes become greater each year, it begs the question – what’s going to keep you cool? Some are lucky enough to have dedicated air conditioning units installed in their homes and this would be an ideal scenario, but not everybody gets to experience such a luxury.
So what’s the next best thing?
You’ll be happy to know that cooling technology has come a long way from those clunky old evaporative coolers you might have seen your parents using. There are now portable air conditioning units that perform almost on par with those dedicated versions and many are whisper quiet.
While there is no standout product, many of the portable air conditioner units receive great reviews and the range of products means finding one to suit your needs is simple.
If you’re thinking of going down this path then there are a few things to be aware of:
- Noise level
- Energy Efficiency
It’s important to get an understanding of each of these to determine which model will best suit your needs. If the air conditioner is to be used in your bedroom then having quiet operation is almost imperative (some also lament about the brightness of the LED lights on the unit, but this is easily fixed with some tape). You may find that some units are cheaper upfront but these models will tend to cost more over the long run as they operate at a poorer efficiency to their more expensive counterparts. Not an issue if you only plan on using the air conditioner for a couple of summers, but if it’s going to be longer than that it could be worthwhile to fork out extra for the more efficient model.
Knowing the size of the room you plan to use the air conditioner in and selecting a suitable size is important to optimize your purchase decision. If the room is too big for the unit you’ll find that it struggles to keep the room cool and may result in the lifetime of the product being reduced as it is pushed to its limits for extended periods of time. It’s much better to opt for a slightly larger unit to ensure it is able to do its job properly and for many years to come.
Different manufacturers have different reputations and warranties, so this is also an important area to research before committing to a decision. Making sure you have a good warranty will give you peace of mind if your unit ever breaks down or appears faulty.
Okay, but I don’t want to spend a couple hundred dollars on a portable air conditioner unit, what else can I do?
I hear you. Portable air conditioning units can put a big dent in the wallet, but there are still more options.
There have been some fairly innovative creations in the air conditioning space coming out of late. One of these is called BedFan which as the name suggests is a fan made for your bed. It provides a much cheaper alternative to the traditional air conditioner system.
They are simple to use and easy to install, all you need to do is position the BedFan at the base of your bed, tuck the bed sheets around it and you’re good to go. No more hot sweaty and sleepless nights. Of course, the major drawback associated with this is that it’s only going to keep you cool when you’re in bed! It doesn’t help much for any other part of the day.
I want to be cool during the day, but not have to break the bank.
Well then get ready for a bit of DIY and you’ll have an arctic ice breeze in no time. Seriously. It’s possible to build your own ‘air conditioner’ out of everyday household products. Mind you, this is by no means a long-term solution, but for a couple of nights where the mercury is reaching new highs, it will bring you the cool relief you need. So what does it look like?
To build this you only need a few components:
- Storage container
- PVC Elbow joint
Simply measure and cut the holes to fit the circumference of the fan and the elbow joint and they should sit in place. Once they are in position, you can freeze a few 2L soda bottles full of water, place them inside and switch it on. You will then have refreshing cold air for hours on end. Turn the elbow joint to direct the cold air.
I’m no good with tools, what else can I do?
Okay, there’s only one final solution. It’s the cheapest, quickest and easiest.
Just do like this Chinese university student did last year during an unbearable heatwave. Grab a duvet cover and a pedestal fan and set the two up such that the fan circulates air around the inside of the duvet cover.
Something along the lines of this: