January 22, 2017

Portable Air Conditioners and Evaporative Coolers

Now that August is here and we have all had a chance to experience the heat of summer, I have a question – have any readers used a portable air conditioner? Not the fixed models that mount in the window, but the free-standing style that sit in the middle of a room with a tube that allows it to vent outdoors. How about a Swamp, or Evaporative cooler?

The efficacy of the air conditioners seems doubtful to me. Do they have the power to cool a room when at the same time they are producing so much energy (that’s heat!) to run the motor?

Many years ago, my in-laws had what we called a swamp cooler. It was also free-standing and worked by blowing air over water soaked pads. The air that came into the room was cooled as it passed through the pads. It did a great job of cooling one room in hot Southern California where, although the room did seem damp, it was pleasant.

These appliances are the same size and relative cost to buy, but the cooler uses up to 75% less energy to run.


  1. We tried a portable air conditioner one summer for a few weeks. it was terrible. I think the room was hotter using it than it was before! Luckily,I could return it for a full refund.

  2. When I was a kid,our neighbors had a swamp cooler while we had central air. It always seemed that their house was cooler than ours. I grew up in So. Cal. – dry heat.