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Here is some insight on portable ACs
on July 23, 2011
First a little info about portable ACs, then I will review the Haier 8000 BTU.
No portable will EVER match a window AC of the same BTU, so if you have the option to install a window unit, you should do so. A window unit will be cooler and use less power. Here is why:
A single hose unit means the hose will exhaust hot air thru the hose. But it needs an intake source of air - the intake will be from the room itself - so you are taking the air that you just cooled and exhausting it out the window.
Next, the exhaust hose itself as noted by other reviewers, gets very hot. As hot as a radiator in the winter.
And the AC unit itself gets hot - the portables have the entire unit inside the room so it is heating up the room. Window units have the working parts outside of the room so they don't heat up the room anywhere as much.
So now you are heating the room as well as dumping cold air out the exhaust.
This is why a portable can never be as efficient as a window unit. I think you would need at least twice the BTUs of a window unit to get the same cooling power. I think the manufacturer's of the portables give you a theoretical BTU rating - but with the issues of exhausting cooled air and heat generated by the unit and from the exhaust - you will never get the theoretical BTUs.
This is true for all single hose portables. Dual hose portables will be more efficient (good luck finding an inexpensive one), but still not as efficient as window units as they still have the issue of the exhaust hose emitting heat into the room. Putting insulation around the exhaust hose will help. But please do not use pink fiberglass wall insulation - it's not very healthy for you if it is not completely sealed off - ie inside a wall.
Now to the Haier itself:
The model I purchased - CPRB08XCJ - can be controlled without the remote - all the buttons that are on the remote are also on the unit. The screws are not too short to attach the adapter to the panel - you must put the screws in from the front - the side facing inside the room. The instructions are pretty simple - so maybe the other reviewers got an older version of the instructions or I have a different model.
Depending on the humidity, you will need to empty the unit. I had my unit on for 3 hours, and there was a lot of water when I drained it. Had I not drained it, I think the unit would have shut off once the tank was full; it is supposed to have an auto shut off. I drained it before it shut by itself.
I also tried connecting a drain hose - but that was a minor disaster - the fitting is just a nipple that you push a hose into (does not come with a hose) -it came loose and water got all over. It would be nice if Haier included a hose that threads onto the nipple.
The room I used it in is 8x12. The air coming out of the unit felt cool, and it cooled the room a bit but it did not cool the room well; on a scale of 1 to 10, I give it 4 on cooling, probably due to the issues mentioned above. To be fair, I used the unit on the hottest nights (so far) of this year - it was above 90 degrees at night. I have not used the unit during the day yet - haven't been home. I expect the unit will perform better this week, as the night temps will be in the 80s.
The unit does not have directional fins - it only blows straight out. I did not think this would be an issue - but it is: the exhaust hose is very stiff and it is hard to turn the unit to the direction you want it.
Also, be aware that the cord is about 6 feet long, and it is not recommended to use an extension cord. So make sure you can reach an outlet, while trying to keep the exhaust tube as shortened as possible. The closer you can get the unit to the window, the shorter the hose will be and thus the less heat will be emitted into the room.
As others have mentioned - it is not easily moved from room to room - you must wrangle with hose and the weight.
Overall, I do not think the cooling capacity of other single hose units will be much better. It would be a better unit if it had a separate intake hose, an included screw in drain hose, and directional fins. So an okay unit if you have no option to use a window AC, with some minor annoyances. I gave it 3 stars, but is really more like 2 and 1/2 stars.