Portable Air Conditioners Vs. Whole House Fan

When the dog days of summer strike hard, everyone wants to find a nice cool place for respite and reprieve. If your home doesn’t have central air conditioning, though, that can be a little more difficult than you expect. In fact, you may find yourself eyeing options, like whole house fans and portable air conditioners, as options for cooling off on the hottest days of summer.

Let’s compare the two to see if one is better than the other for you or if you might find a benefit for bringing both into your homes.

Whole House Fan Strengths
Whole house fans were once the “go to” choice for cooling homes across the country. In fact, homes were once built in a manner that maximized the efficiency of whole house fans with large windows on lower floors, huge purchases that kept out moisture, and large attics with plenty of ventilation through which the warm air could easily be expelled.

If you have an older home, whole house fans present a highly energy efficient option for cooling your home during the late overnight and early morning hours. In fact, any time when the outside temperature is cooler than the temperature inside your home, you can benefit from the use of whole house fans while using 90 percent less energy than you would with an air conditioner.

Whole House Fan Weaknesses
On the flip-side of the equation, you probably won’t be able to benefit from using a whole house fan during the hottest hours of the day. The temperature outside your home must be cooler than the temps inside to get any major benefit from using whole house fans. The units also cost more, initially, to purchase and install than portable air conditioners, though, compared to central air conditioning are a bargain.

Portable Air Conditioner Strengths
Portable air conditioners offer a few distinct strengths, including the ease of installation and the fact that you can move them from room to room throughout the day for zone cooling in gathering spaces. You must keep in mind, though, that these portable units must vent outside the home wherever you have them in your home, so a window in the room being cooled is necessary.

Portable Air Conditioner Weaknesses
Cost is the most significant weakness when it comes to portable air conditioners. Portable units cost nearly twice what window units with comparable cooling capacity costs without the ease of portability. Even so, they cost more than whole house fans to operate. In fact, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a portable air conditioner that qualifies for Energy Star certification among portable air conditioning options.

Now that you know the good and the bad about both, here is something to consider. If you need a little more cooling during daylight hours than a whole house fan provides, consider investing in both and using the portable air conditioner for zoned cooling during the day and the whole house fan to keep your home cool and comfortable during late evening and early morning hours. You might easily cover the costs of the compromise in energy savings alone.

Call us here at Whole House Fan at 1.888.229.5757 (toll free) or 1-661-775-5979 (direct) if you have any questions about use whole house fans.