Industrial AC and Heat

Frequently Asked Questions about Portable
Air Conditioners & Spot Coolers

Please Contact Us if your question isn't answered on this Page!

What is air conditioning?

The purpose of air conditioning is to control the filtration, air movement, temperature and humidity of a space. 

How does an air conditioner cool?

An air conditioner can’t create cooling, it can only relocate heat. The heat is removed in two ways; an actual drop in temperature and as water. The air passes over a closed-loop coil filled with refrigerant and the air is cooled and dehumidified. The cold air is delivered to the space being cooled and the condensate, the water produced by dehumidification, is pumped or drained away.


What the heck is a BTU?

The simple explanation is the British Thermal Unit (BTU) is the common unit of measurement used for air conditioning and heating equipment. The actual definition – a BTU is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. Glad you asked?!

What do they mean by a TON of air conditioning? That seems like a big unit!

When we’re talking air conditioning, a ton has nothing to do with weight. There are 12,000 BTU to one ton. Most air conditioners are rated in tons or BTU. A 5-ton unit is 60,000 BTU. If you really want to know what a ton is…a ton of refrigeration is the amount of heat required to melt a ton (2,000 lb.) of ice at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. 

What is a portable air conditioner or spot cooler?

An AirPac spot cooler is a portable, self-contained air conditioner used to cool a space. The entire unit is portable and can be moved to another space, if needed.

How does a spot cooler work?

The AirPac spot coolers are completely self-contained and do not have condensing units that need to be installed outside, like at your house. Instead of putting the condensing section outside, a self-contained spot cooler ducts the condenser air, the warm air, into the ceiling or out of the space you are cooling.

What tools will I need to install my portable air conditioner?

The COOLIT units install in minutes with NO TOOLS. The warm air duct simply LIFTS up from the unit and the spring clamp fits right through the ceiling panel you use to replace your ceiling tile. It couldn’t be easier. The condensate tanks are in the unit and the pump is already installed; if you choose the automatic condensate removal you just need to connect to a drain line. The PortaPac has a few more optional accessories so just give us a call and we’ll let you know.

How do I get rid of the warm air?

For most commercial and industrial cooling applications, you can simply duct the warm air into the space above the ceiling, the plenum. The COOLIT units come complete with a condenser air duct, flange and ceiling tile. There are no extra parts to buy. And you don’t need any tools to put the duct in place. It really couldn’t be easier. Just give us a call if you have questions.

Do I have to duct the warm air outside?

No, you don’t need access to the outside but you do have to duct the warm air out of the space you are cooling. In most applications, you can duct the warm condenser air into the space above the room you are cooling – this ceiling space is called the plenum.

What if I can’t duct the condenser air into the ceiling plenum?

You may be able to put the portable air conditioner outside of the space you want to cool and duct the cold air into the room. We’d like to help. Call, chat or email so we can find out more about your cooling problem.

What do I do with the water?

The “water” that is made is condensate, excess moisture that is removed during the air conditioning process. The AirPac COOLIT series is the only spot cooler that offers you two methods for condensate removal: MANUAL -- drain the condensate into the two tanks and manually empty the tanks or AUTOMATIC – use the condensate pump that is already installed in the unit and connect.

How much condensate will I have to deal with?

The amount of condensate depends on the humidity. In warm, humid weather, you will have more condensate than in less humid weather. As the air conditioner cools and dehumidifies the air in the space, the temperature drops and the environment becomes more comfortable…not so “sticky” and muggy like an East Coast August!

Do I have to add water?

Absolutely not! If you have to add water to a unit then it is NOT an air conditioner, it is an evaporative cooler. Evaporative coolers are great for outdoor sporting events or amusement parks but should not be used indoors.

What are the tanks for?

The condensate is pumped from the condensate pump into the tanks which need to be manually emptied. Don’t worry; the COOLIT is equipped with an automatic shut-off safety which turns the unit off when the tanks are full so you won’t end up with water on the floor. The PortaPac units have internal condensate pumps.

How large are the tanks?

We don’t want you to have to lug a large, 5 gallon tank full of water down the hall to empty it – that’s 40 pounds. Each COOLIT has two 2.5 gallon tanks – that’s much easier to empty when you have to do the hauling! The PortaPac units do not have condensate tanks.

How often will I need to empty the tanks?

The amount of condensate generated will depend on the temperature and humidity as well as installation and control settings. In warm, humid months, the amount of condensate will be greater than in dry, cooler months. Guess the short answer is, it depends!

Do I have to buy an extra condensate pump and worry about the installation hassle?

Nope. There is no extra expense. All the COOLIT and PortaPac units have a condensate pump that is installed and operational. If you can use the condensate pump for automatic condensate removal, all you have to do is attach the outlet tubing. It couldn’t be easier.

If I use the condensate pump, what do I do with the tanks?

When we were selling other portable air conditioners, we often received calls from frustrated customers who had removed the tanks to install a condensate pump and couldn’t find their tanks once they needed to use them in another cooling application. The condensate tanks stay in your COOLIT unit so you have them handy when you need to use them. The PortaPac units do not have condensate tanks.

What about when I’m done using the unit and need to store it for future use?

When we were selling other portable air conditioners we heard the complaints from customers who had to store the duct that only compresses to 6 feet! That’s hard to transport and store so we engineered the COOLIT so the duct collapses into the unit. It couldn’t be easier to transport and store the unit since you don’t have to lug the long duct around. 

How do I figure out which portable air conditioner I need?

Contact us, we’ll gladly help. You can start with a general rule of thumb for commercial cooling -- 1 ton of cooling, 12,000 BTU, for every 250 square feet. That’s for a normal “office” environment. If you have a LAN room with a lot of computers or other heat-generating equipment, we’ll have to consider this when figuring the heat load. We’d like to help. Call or email so we can find out more about your cooling problem!

How cold will my room get?

That depends on the heat load in the room and the size of the portable air conditioner. The air conditioner will provide a 15 – 20 degree temperature drop. So if your room is 80 degrees Fahrenheit, then the air coming out of the air conditioner will be 60 – 65 degrees Fahrenheit. As the room cools, the temperature of the air coming from the air conditioner will also drop. The temperature you are able to maintain in the room will depend on the heat load in the room.

Does the portable air conditioner come with a thermometer?

We offer four options for temperature control. You can use the standard, ON - OFF controls, add a standard, electronic thermostat, a programmable electronic thermostat or, the Cadillac of Tstats, the internet/network ready thermostat which can be monitored and programmed on your computer network or remotely from any internet connection.

How loud are the portable air conditioners?

We’ll give you the Decibel (dB) levels and offer the “plain spoken” translation. The COOLIT series ranges from 52 dB – the sound in a normal office to 58 dB – a sewing machine or typewriter. The PortaPac series have powerful blowers and the noise levels will vary depending on the ducting. You can figure on an operating level of around 68 - 70dB – a refrigerator or vacuum cleaner.

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