Air conditioning (AC) units are wonderful to keep us nice and comfy – but how do they get rid of the heat in a room? And do they all have to be vented?
Read on to learn the facts.
Are there AC units that don’t need to be vented?
Every air conditioner unit requires a vent that disperses warm air from the room that it’s used in. Without a vent, air conditioners can’t remove warm air and so the temperature cannot be changed.
Ventless air conditioners are sold by many retailers but they aren’t technically air conditioners, they act more like fan systems or evaporative coolers by propelling cold air into the room.
They don’t reduce the temperature of the room; they instead cool the air in the room passively. These can be quite effective but not as much as the average air conditioner. You should consider one of these if you want an air conditioner but don’t want to manage any ventilation. You can also get other air coolers that don’t require vents.
Many of them rely on moisture cooling, so you can’t put them in rooms that don’t have good airflow. If a room is fully enclosed, then a moisture cooler can encourage mold and other moisture-related nuisances. A dehumidifier may be helpful if you’re running a cooler in an enclosed space.
You can also do other things if you don’t want to use air conditioners. Fans are a great short-term solution to a warm room, especially if you place them next to a bucket of ice so they can blow the cool air across the room.
You also can open windows and doors that lead to the exterior of your home. That lets the warm air out of your home and allows the cold air to cycle in and take its place. This method only works if the exterior temperature is cooler than your home’s interior temperature, otherwise, you can make the room hotter!
For a more long-term solution, you should look into insulating your home. While insulation is typically used to keep the warmth in, creating a barrier between the interior and the exterior can also stop cold air from being displaced by the hot air outside.
Reinforcing the doors of your home is the main insulation modification that stops temperature diffusion between interior and exterior, and even between different rooms if necessary.
Can I put an air conditioner in a room with no windows?
It is possible to put air conditioners in rooms with no windows. For the air conditioner to work properly, its exhaust needs to be connected to the outside world. Air conditioners work by removing warm air, which they can’t do if there’s no clear route outside of the room. Many air conditioners rely on windows to do this.
If you’re in a room that doesn’t have any windows, you can still get an air conditioner to work by clearing a path out of the room where that warm air can go.
If an AC unit is put into a room where there’s no duct route leading out of the room, then it’s just going to cycle the air and make no noticeable change to the room’s temperature. The machinery can even get warmer during operation, making the room warmer as a result.
So, if you put an air conditioner into a room with no windows, you should make sure the warm air is disposed of properly. Wall-mounted air conditioners take some preparation to install but they can take air from inside a room and transfer it through the wall and to the other side, typically outside, cooling the room.
If you already have an AC that isn’t wall-mounted, you could drill holes through the wall and run the duct through there to get it working.
Failing that, you should look into coolers that don’t require ventilation. These can work in windowless rooms for the most part. If you do opt for so-called ventless air conditioners and similar air coolers, you should make sure the room doesn’t get too moist.
If it does, mold can be a problem. Consider a dehumidifier to remove humidity from the air so the room can stay cold without developing mold or mildew.
Can a portable air conditioner cause carbon monoxide?
Carbon Monoxide leaks are a serious threat that can prove fatal if untreated. During normal operation, your air conditioner won’t create any carbon monoxide. That said, it is a possibility if your air conditioner runs off of natural gas.
If your air conditioner is electric, your air conditioner won’t be able to produce carbon monoxide, so you don’t need to worry about that for now. If your portable air conditioner does use natural gas, then you need to remain vigilant against the possibility of a carbon monoxide leak.
While electric portable air conditioners won’t make carbon monoxide, they need to get their power from somewhere. There’s every chance that you’re powering the air conditioner with a source that relies on natural gas, in which case that can emit carbon monoxide.
You can swap that out for a green energy source if you want to avoid using gas-powered gadgets. Whether you’re at a temporary site, an RV, or it’s supposed to be a semi-permanent solution, you should always have a carbon monoxide detector when running a gas appliance.
Lastly, think about the positioning of your air conditioner. The AC intake needs to go somewhere but, if you place it near a source of carbon monoxide and other pollutants, then they’ll get sucked into your home and pose a threat.
When routing your air conditioner ventilation, you should scope out the area to make sure it’s safe. You don’t want air pollutants or critters making their way into your home via the ducts.
When you’re running an air conditioner, you shouldn’t worry too much about them spitting carbon monoxide into your home. Most air conditioners run off electricity nowadays, minimizing that risk, and many homes with water boilers already have a carbon monoxide sensor.
If you don’t have one but your home uses natural gas appliances, then getting a sensor should alleviate your concerns. Also, make sure you know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning just in case.