What is a Self Contained Air Conditioner?

There are many different types of air cooling appliances available to keep you cool in summer, but if you want to know what a self contained air conditioner is, here’s an explanation!

First of all, it’s necessary to get an outline as to what I’m talking about here.

The kind of unit I want to cover in this post is the self-contained or single unit air conditioner that you can buy and install fairly easily if you have some basic handyman skills.

This type of unit includes window air conditioners, portable air conditioners and PTAC or VTAC units. I’ll explain as I go on.

All About Self Contained Air Conditioning Units

Fully self-contained air conditioners are those units that have all the mechanics enclosed in a single unit.

Like all AC, they are pre-charged with ozone-friendly refrigerant and are ready to be used for indoor, rooftop or ground mounted residential or commercial applications. To keep things simple, I’ll talk mostly about indoor domestic units that most people know about or can easily recognize.

Portable AC units are the boxes on wheels that can me moved from room to room as needed. They all have an extendable vent hose that needs to be connected to a window vent to allow the unit to exhaust the hot air it produces as part of the refrigeration process.

Some portable AC can be self evaporating, eliminating the need to regularly empty a water tank.

Window AC units are quite common and are seen located in a window opening. These units are designed to cool a single room and since they’re already mounted In a window opening, they don’t need a vent hose as they already vent to the outside via a vent on the outside facing side of the unit.

PTAC or package units are most commonly found mounted in hotel or motel rooms, hospital and health center rooms, mobile homes or some commercial properties. These unit can be mounted inside, usually beneath a window or they can be outside and are connected to the building’s air ducting.

Larger packaged units tend to operate on 230 volts AC, single phase. Their cooling capacities are generally rated from 2 to 5 tons.

How Are Self Contained Units Different from Split AC?

Self-contained AC units are different from a split-system type of outdoor unit because split-systems comprise of two or more separate units, that is an indoor and outdoor piece of equipment .

The individual components are connected together by piped ducting and are very common type sof systems for homes.

Often, split AC systems cost more to buy and install than self contained units and generally provide a more powerful cooling system for larger rooms and in some cases whole buildings (where zoned split AC is installed).

Evaporative Coolers

Another type of self contained cooling appliance is the popular ventless air conditioner, which is really a swamp cooler or evaporative cooler. These coolers are different to AC because they don’t use a refrigeration process to cool the air, just the evaporation of water.

This makes then very cheap to run as the only power draw comes from the internal pump and fan, which typically uses around 1/20th the energy of a comparable air conditioner.

The only downside to this type of cooler is that it won’t work too well in humid conditions, where an AC performs far better.

Cooling and Heating

Some self-contained units are equipped with both refrigeration and heating systems, enabling them to be used all year round to maintain an even indoor temperature, whatever the weather happens to be outside.

In many cases, this type of indoor climate solution can represent a more economical purchase points as only one unit is needed, instead of having to buy a separate cooler and heater unit for the different seasons.

Portable AC units are especially versatile in this respect, since they can be used in different rooms depending on which are occupied at any given time. This reduces the need for buying multiple units, one for each room and therefore represents an even cheaper buying option than opting for a number of window units, for example.

Depending on your budget, you can choose which type of individual cooling unit will suit your needs and pocket.

Is Your Portable AC Self Evaporating?

So you just bought a new portable cooler and it was the latest model in the store. But is your portable AC self evaporating or does it still need to be drained periodically?

You might not know about this yet, but draining a portable air conditioner is a thankless task. It can be fiddly, troublesome and sometimes even hard work if you have to lift yours up onto a coffee table to get it to drain into a bucket on the floor.

However, there is a way of avoiding this irritating chore, especially if you’re considering buying a new portable AC unit to replace an aging or unreliable one. Or if you just decided you want one for your bedroom or something.

What is a Self Evaporating Portable AC?

As already mentioned, most portable AC devices require that you drain them every now and again. That’s because when they condense the moisture in the air as part of the cooling process, much of it drips into a water-catching vessel inside the unit and as it fills up over time, it needs to be emptied.

Self Evaporating Portable Air ConditionerMost models have a kind of water tank full alarm and shut-off to prevent the reservoir overflowing, but what if you could do away with that water tank? Well, there is a kind of AC that does exactly that!

It’s called a self-evaporating air conditioner and it literally re-evaporates the condensing moisture inside itself and exhausts it out of the vent hose to the outside. No more draining, yay!

Sensible and Economical

This great innovation is really helpful and labor-saving because it does away for the need to catch condensing drips of water. Many models even make use of the re-evaporating moisture to assist the chilling process and thereby reducing the amount of energy it uses to create that nice cool air!

The most efficient models have a dual-hose setup to further increase the heat exchange efficiency and reduce energy consumption, but you can also get single hose models if you don’t like the idea of two hoses hanging onto a window fixing where one will do.

It can also save a lot of people’s backs. If you have ever had to life a portable AC unit off the floor up onto a table, you’ll know what I mean there.

They are heavy beasts and I’ve thrown my own back out before now lifting one up onto a coffee table. So you can imagine how grateful I am for the self-evaporative technology that has been developed in portable AC’s to save my poor back any further strain!

Where Do You Buy a Self Evaporative AC?

Most models from well known manufacturers are on sale at most big hardware stores and electrical appliance stores that stock air conditioners. You can pick one up from your local store or even order one online and have it delivered to your home.

For the present time, they do cost a little more than their non-evaporating cousins, but I can tell you from personal experience the extra dollars was worth it! They’re great for cooling a hot kitchen, study or bedroom or anywhere else you need spot cooling.

One thing I should point out here is that these coolers also act as dehumidifiers with a dehumidify setting.

If you use it as a dehumidifier, it will catch the water it evaporates in a tank, because of the high level of moisture these units can strip out of the air in a room, especially when it’s very humid.

That means there is a tank that you will have to empty, but this is different from draining a condensate-catching tray. The water bucket is fairly easily removable on most models and you don’t need to lift them off the floor to do that job.

Just so you know!