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).
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.