Portable Air Conditioners Dual Hose or Single Hose: Which is Better?

Deciding which type of air cooling device to buy can depend on a number of things like location, budget, accessibility or available space. Mini-splits cost more and window units are bulky, so many choose a portable air conditioner. Some have a single hose and others have dual hoses. Which is better and why?

Before deciding on which model to purchase, let's first look at what those hoses are and why portable units need them.

What Are the Portable Air Conditioner Hoses For?

dual hose portable air conditionerThe mechanism that lies under the panelling and runs all air conditioning devices is a refrigeration process similar to what you'll find on your domestic refrigerator. Contained in a reservoir and in piping there is a refrigerant gas that is central to this type of air chilling device. This gas is pumped through the piping by a motor and is compressed by a compressor in order to lower its temperature.

The process produces chilled air that is pumped into the room by a powerful fan. The part you don't see is that process also produces a greater volume of hot air that has absorbed much of the water vapour in the atmosphere of the space being cooled. This hot, moist air must be expelled to the outside to enable the interior to be cooled.

It might interest you to know that if the hot air is not taken away but allowed to escape into the room, the net effect would be to heat up the space, not cool it. This is not desirable, of course!

With fixed AC systems and units, the hot, moist air is exhausted through ducts or vents to a condenser unit located outside the building which effectively draws that unwanted hot air from the building and releases it into the outside air.

Portable units do not have an external condenser to do that job. Instead, they perform the condenser's job inside the unit and expel the hot air out through an exhaust hose that is connected to a window kit or fixed vent in the wall.

Why Do Some Portable AC Units Need Two Hoses?

The main difference between single- and dual-hose AC units is down to efficiency and as a by-product, economy.

Single hose units draw warm air from the room, send it past refrigerant cooled coils and then send hot, moist air through the hose and out of the room or building. This is desirable, however the process creates negative air pressure as air is pushed out of the room.

Any cracks around doors and windows can allow hot air from outside to seep into the building and the negative air pressure inside pulls that hot air in. If a large area is being cooled, the AC will have to work harder to cool the room, using more energy and running up a larger bill for you.

Fortunately, if the area is not large, a single vent unit can provide a cooled atmosphere without using too much additional energy and costing more.

A dual hose AC unit has two air intakes and one exhaust hosepipe. Through the first intake located on the unit, air is drawn in from the room to be cooled and that cooled air is sent back into the room.

As the unit heats up through the refrigeration process, it uses the intake hose to pull fresh air from outside the building to help cool the unit. The second hose exhausts all of the hot air outside the building.

Thanks to a more efficient exchange of air, the dual hose unit works less hard and more efficiently than a single hose version.

Choosing the Best Option for You

While initial cost is a deciding factor for many people, the higher purchase cost dual hose version is a better long-term investment. That's because it uses less energy to provide a given level of cooling when compared to a single hose unit, meaning long-term savings on energy bills.

This holds true for most cooling situations apart from where you only have a small space to cool and a single hose unit will suffice.

Either way, I would advise checking out this article to choose the best dual hose portable air conditioner for your needs and proceed from there. I should just remind you that this type of cooling device is a portable air conditioning unit and is very different from the evaporative cooler without an exhaust vent (these moisture-based cooling devices are also known as swamp coolers) as described in those articles.

There may be an argument for trying to save money on the purchase cost of a cooling unit and opting for the cheapest, but that can prove to be false economy especially in the long term.

Not only that, but many of the cheapest AC units are imported from places where cheap materials are used coupled with often shoddy workmanship and few quality controls. You might save money at the outset but it could cost you a lot more when the device goes wrong early on or flat out dies on you!

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