Portable AC Unit

Portable Air Conditioner FAQs

What is a Portable Air Conditioner?

Designed to be moved from room to room with ease, a portable air conditioning unit is a smaller cooling appliance that vents directly out of your window, but doesn’t require permanent installation.

Generally, this type of air conditioner is engineered to cool individual rooms, not your entire home. To make it easier to move around, portable units often have wheels on the bottom and built-in handles on the side.


Portable Air Conditioner

Do portable room air conditioners work?

Yes, of course. They are a popular alternative to central air conditioners, and one of the better choices for cooling rooms in your home.

Of course, the amount of benefits you receive from a portable air conditioner is entirely dependent on how you use, how well you maintain it, the environment you are using it in, and a whole host of other factors. But, yes, portable air conditioners do work when used correctly.


Are these air conditioners energy efficient?

It depends on how you use it. When compared to other types of air conditioners, portable units are going to be one of the worst for energy efficiency.

Across the board, portable units tend to have a lower Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) than other air conditioners. The overall efficiency will vary per each model or brand, and you certainly will find some units that have a higher EER than others, but for the most part, this appliance is not considered as one that is energy efficient.

However, they do have the advantage of allowing you to cool only one room at a time. This cooling strategy will help you save money and cut your overall energy usage, as you’re not having to pay to cool your entire home. From this perspective, one could absolutely make the case that it is energy efficient.


Do all portable air conditioners need to be vented?

Yes. You will need to vent your air conditioner. This is typically done through a window, but you can also buy a vent kit that works with sliding glass doors, casement/crank windows or through a dropped ceiling.

Most portable air conditioners will come with everything you need to properly vent the device, including an exhaust hose and an adapter that sits in your window sill. Just remember to follow the instructions for the model.





What is a window vent kit?

The window vent kit will come with your portable air conditioner. Typically made from plastic, this is the piece of equipment that sits in your window sill and connects to your exhaust hose(s) of the AC unit.

The window venting kit will typically fit most standard-sized windows and sliding glass doors. However, before you buy a portable air conditioner it would be wise to measure the window and ensure the venting kit that comes with the AC unit will fit in your home.

There are many venting kits available online, including many designed for larger windows and casement windows.


What if I can’t vent the AC unit?

That would be unfortunate. If you are unable to properly vent your AC unit, then this type of air conditioner will not be a sufficient cooling option for your home. You would want to consider an evaporative cooler.

Portable air conditioners work by moving hot air out of the room, so if you’re unable to use a vent, then the machine will not cool your room in an efficient or effective manner. You may feel some cooling if you are directly in front of the unit, but you’ll also notice some ambient heat building from the back.


Can I vent a portable AC through a dryer vent?

Sure, it’s possible. But, it’s probably not the best idea. This is definitely not a good idea if the diameter of the hose doesn’t fit the diameter of your dryer vent. Unfortunately, this is often the case, as many dryer vents in American homes have a diameter of 4 inches, and most portable air conditioners come with a larger vent hose.

If the diameters of the hose and dryer vent are the same diameter, you could attempt to vent your portable air conditioner in this manner. But, again, it’s not recommended and may lead to other problems. So, if you do attempt this, keep a close eye on the device until you feel confident that it is venting appropriately.


How long is the exhaust hose?

It varies. The hose or duct that comes with your portable air conditioner will vary from model to model, but they typically are at least 3-4 ft. in length.

Portable Air Conditioning Unit

You can buy longer (or shorter ones) at many retailers. While it is generally recommended that you buy a longer exhaust hose from the same brand or retailer that you bought your AC unit, this is oftentimes unnecessary.

However, it is important to understand that the longer you make the exhaust hose, the less efficient your air conditioner will be. This may also lead to your unit having to work harder to cool the room, which may cause the compressor to work harder than it should possibly shortening the lifespan of the air conditioner itself.

It would be wise to keep the exhaust hose shorter than 10 ft, unless you also have an exhaust fan of some sort that will help the hot air escape and allow your portable air conditioner to work in a more efficient manner.


Can I make my own exhaust hose?

Sure, but it’s not recommended. There are many scenarios in which a homeowner may desire a longer exhaust hose for their portable air conditioner. Unfortunately, the longer the exhaust hose, the less efficient the AC unit becomes.

If you want to replace the exhaust hose, it is best to buy one that is designed for this type of air conditioner, but if you’re in a bind or feeling handy, you can purchase many of the necessary materials at a hardware store, such as Home Depot or Lowes.

Keep in Mind: If you go this route, make sure the replacement hose is the same diameter as the previous hose or the venting duct in the back of the unit. Most portable air conditioners have a 5 inch hose, but not always. Double-check before you buy. You could also consider using a PVC pipe, but that, too, comes with many disadvantages.


What’s the difference between a single-hose and dual-hose unit?

The way the air moves in and out of the device. Choose a dual-hose, if possible.

  • Single Hose — All air comes in and vents out of the one hose.
  • Dual Hose — One hose is used to pull in air from outside, and the other hose is used as an exhaust.

Dual-hose portable air conditioners are considered to be the better of the two options, as it is more efficient and can cool your living space quicker than single-hose units.


Do portable air conditioners give off carbon monoxide?

No. Because it runs on electricity, you do not have to worry about a portable air conditioner emitting carbon monoxide into your home.

In extreme circumstances, it is possible for a portable or window air conditioner to pull in air from the outside that is high in carbon monoxide. This is possible when a fuel-burning device is directly on the other side of the window. These may include a running car, portable generator or a grill you may be cooking on.

Again, this is an extreme scenario and it is unlikely that a portable AC will pull in enough carbon monoxide for you to experience negative symptoms. But, just in case, it would be wise to know what is going on near the vent, as well as have a carbon monoxide detector in your home.


Is a portable AC the same thing as an evaporative cooler?

No. These are two very different cooling appliances, and not an ideal substitute for each other.

An evaporative cooler, sometimes called a swamp cooler, uses water and the process of evaporative cooling to help make the temperature of the room feel cooler. Unlike portable air conditioners, you have to add water to an evaporative cooler for it to work, and it does not require any sort of ventilation. These are great for garages and workshops.


How loud are portable air conditioners?

It depends on the model you buy. Like most appliances in your home, the amount of noise (or the decibel level of the device) will depend entirely on the model itself.

All types of room air conditioners will emit some level of noise, with some being louder than others. Most homeowners consider this as background noise or white noise, much like your refrigerator or dishwasher.

Unfortunately, decibel ratings are not a spec that manufacturers advertise for portable air conditioners. To get a better idea of how noisy a particular model may be, you will have to read over reviews for each unit and try to make an educated decision for yourself.


Can you soundproof a portable air conditioner?

Not really, but you can take steps to lower the noise. If you buy a portable AC and find it to be loud, you can take a few steps to lower the noise.

  • Softer Surface — Take a look at the surfaces the AC unit is sitting on. If you have it positioned on a hard floor, then you should try to put a small rug underneath the unit. This will help lower the amount of vibration of the compressor and internal fans, and help make it a little more quieter.
  • Change the Fan Speed — It’s also important to note that the decibel level will likely change depending on the fan speed that the device is currently operating on. If it is operating on the highest speed, you will likely hear a little more noise.

Again, the above steps can help you soundproof it, but you will never be able fully eliminate the sound a portable air conditioner makes while it is operating.


What type of electricity do portable air conditioners use?

For typical residential use, portable air conditioners only need to be plugged into a standard electrical receptacle found throughout your home. You will not need any extra power or a special wiring setup to use this type of air conditioner.

The only time you may need a special plug or a dedicated circuit for operation, is for large commercial-sized air conditioners.


Can you use it to cool multiple rooms at the same time?

This depends on a few factors, but is certainly possible. These include the environment in which the air conditioner is being used, how well the air is circulated in this area, and the BTU rating of the device itself.

As an example, if your living space is very open and you’re using a high-BTU unit, then you may feel a cooling effect throughout the entire space. However, if you have a lower-BTU rating and the space is contained with lots of doors and walls, the device will have trouble cooling all areas in an effective manner.

To help you cool larger rooms, consider using a small fan near the air conditioner to help the cold air reach far corners of the space.


Will these AC units work for garages?

Not really, at least not very efficiently.

You can use them pretty much anywhere there is a plug, including inside your garage or workshop. Unfortunately, if your garage door is wide open or the area is not well-insulated, then it is unlikely that you will feel the temperature drop.

To cool your garage, you should consider using an evaporative / swamp cooler.


Will these AC units work for server rooms?

Absolutely! In fact, cooling a server room is one of the most common uses for a portable air conditioner.

Due to the heat that servers generate, especially when clustered together in a small room, it is crucial for you to keep them cool in order for them to operate in an efficient manner. Because of this, portable AC units are often used in conjunction with a central air conditioner to help cool the room with the computer equipment.

If you have a small server room in your home or small business, you may have buy a special vent kit or longer exhaust hose to properly vent the AC unit.


Is a portable air conditioner the best choice for me?

It depends on your situation. This type of air conditioner is great for anyone that wants to cool one room or area of their home, but is unable to do so with a window unit.

Ask yourself these questions:
  • Do you want to have a window A/C unit sticking out from your home? If not, then you should go with a portable unit.
  • Do you live in an area with a zealous Homeowner’s Association? If so, then they’ll likely have rules in place to prevent window units, therefore leaving a portable air conditioner as the best choice.
  • Do you care about your energy usage of a room air conditioner? If so, then a window unit is going to be the best choice for you.
  • Are you capable of installing a window unit? If not, then perhaps you skip the hassle and go with a portable AC.

Keep in mind, a portable air conditioner is a popular cooling option used in millions of homes around the world, but they certainly comes with their own set of pros and cons. If you do your research and make an educated buying decision, you’ll be happy with your choice.


Where can I buy a portable air conditioner?

You can buy portable air conditioners from a wide variety of retailers, both online or in stores.

Before you buy a portable air conditioner at Walmart or Home Depot, we would recommend browsing your options online and narrowing down which model would be best for your home. You don’t have to buy online, but you’ll at least have comfort in knowing that you made an educated buying decision.

Have a question that you didn’t see listed here? If so, please add it down in the comments below.


Garbage Disposal

Garbage Disposal FAQs

What is a garbage disposal?

A garbage disposal is a motorized appliance installed underneath your sink that allows you to finely grind food waste into small particles that can be safely disposed of down your drain.

Common names include:

  • Waste disposal unit
  • Garbage disposer
  • Garburator
  • Insinkerator (popular brand)

How do garbage disposals work?

A garbage disposal is really just a simple demonstration of Isaac Newton’s laws of motion.

Garbage Disposal Diagram

The moment you turn on your disposal, a small plate at the bottom of the “grinding chamber” starts to rotate at high velocity.

On this plate, you will find two impellers. These are essential components, as they help create the necessary centrifugal force that propels the scraps of food against the internal wall of the chamber. This wall grinds the food down into tiny particles that can flow down the drain.

Contrary to popular belief, most homeowners believe that a garbage disposal works much like a blender. While they indeed have many similarities, this is factually incorrect. There is no chopping, cutting or chewing involved in the process. In fact, a garbage disposal doesn’t even have blades!

This animation provides a great visual explanation of how a disposal works.


What size garbage disposal do I need?

This is a question with an impossible answer. Every homeowner will have different needs based on their unique situation.

To find the right size disposal for your home, you should first consider how much power you will need. This can be determined by considering a few factors.

  • How many people live in your home?
  • How often will you be using the disposal?
  • What kind of food do you currently prepare, and how much waste does it create?

Common Sizes:

  • 1/3 horsepower
  • 1/2 horsepower
  • 3/4 horsepower
  • 1 horsepower
  • 2+ horsepower

Generally, the more people in your home, the more often you’ll be using the disposal, thus the more power (or larger size) you’ll need.

However, you should also consider the types of food waste that you’ll be putting in the disposal, as well as the volume you think you’ll create.

Note: When it comes to garbage disposals, the term “size” refers to power, not the actual dimensions of the unit. Another important consideration, but one that is unlikely to affect your buying decision, but does play a role in the installation.


What items can you put in garbage disposal?

This is a great question that more homeowners should be asking. A common misconception is that anything and everything can go down a garbage disposal. In reality, there are a number of items that should never be put down a disposal. This includes the scraps of many popular foods.




Never put these in disposal:

  • Cooking oil / grease
  • Stringy fruits and veggies
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Beans
  • Coffee grounds
  • Eggshells

Note: If you have a large, powerful garbage disposal from a reputable brand, then some of the items listed above would likely be okay to put into the unit. However, to prevent possible problems and ensure your garbage disposal has the longest life, it is recommended that you avoid the items above.


Why does my disposal smell?

There is likely food waste inside the grinding chamber that is starting to rot. It may be that you didn’t grind your last batch long enough, or perhaps there is food stuck inside the unit or not flushed down the drain properly.

To eliminate these odors, you should run plenty of cold water into the unit and turn it on. Allow it to fully grind and flush all items inside the chamber. Next, you should thoroughly clean your disposal to eliminate all bacteria that may be lingering and contributing to the odor.


What’s the difference between continuous & batch feed?

These are the two types of disposals you will choose from. Here is a general summary that highlights the differences between the two.

  • Continuous Feed:

    The most common type of disposer found in homes, these are considered to be effortless and simple to use. All you do is turn on the cold water, flip the power switch and add your food scraps. You can continue to let the unit run until all food waste has been grinded and disposed.

  • Batch Feed:

    Slightly more difficult to use, this type of disposer only allows you to grind food in smaller batches. In order for these to work, you must use a stopper to activate the power. Without the stopper, the device will not work. While they require a bit more work, they are considered to be the safer option.

Which one is better?

This is entirely dependent on your situation. Like most appliances, they each come with their own set of pros and cons.


Do you need to run water when using a garbage disposal?

Yes. It is recommended that you run the water while you operate the disposal. This will not only help the device grind your food waste, but also guide the small particles down the drain and prevent potential problems, such as a clog in your pipes or within the disposal.

  • Cold Water:

    When you are grinding food waste, you should always use cold water. This will prevent the fats within your food from liquefying, which may create a clog when the temperature cools and these fats once again solidify. By running cold water, you keep these fats in a “solid” state, which makes it easier to grind and eliminate.

  • Hot Water:

    When you are cleaning your disposal, you can use hot water. However, this is dependent on how you are cleaning it. If you are using cleaners, such as vinegar, baking soda or citric acid, hot water will be fine, perhaps even helpful. However, if you are grinding food — such as citrus peels — to help clean the disposal, then you should stick with cold water.


How do you install a garbage disposal?

While there are some general commonalities that are helpful to know, there are no specific set of installation instructions that work for every garbage disposal.

It is always recommended that you refer to and follow the owner’s manual that came with your disposal for precise installation instructions.

Garbage Disposal Installation
  • Replace:

    The installation process for replacing a garbage disposal is a somewhat complicated project for the average homeowner. If you’re relatively handy, you will likely have no trouble doing it on your own. However, if you are not confident in your plumbing skills, it would be best to hire somebody.

  • New Install:

    If you are adding a disposal as part of a kitchen remodel, the installation process is going to be significantly more difficult than a simple replacement. Still not impossible for your average DIY homeowner, but you’ll now have to consider the cost of wiring and other possible electrical needs. It may be wise to hire somebody.


Can I call someone to help with installation?

Absolutely! There are plenty of handyman, plumbers and other general contractors out there that will do this job. Just make sure you do your research and hire only a qualified, certified and licensed contractor. If you decide to go this route, make sure you read these tips from the FTC first.

Depending on the retailer that you bought your garbage disposal from, they may offer installation services. Likely, this will include an extra charge, but it’s well-worth the security of knowing that your unit is installed correctly, by a professional.


Are disposals loud?

Yes… and no. This is hard question to answer, really.

The overall decibel level will vary from model to model. Because it’s a motorized appliance, all garbage disposals will create some level of noise during operation. Much of the noise is due to the vibration created while the disposer is being used.

If noise is something you are concerned about, then you should look at buying a garbage disposal that has built-in insulation and anti-vibration features. Some manufacturers will also list the decibel level within the specs of each model.


Why is my garbage disposal humming / buzzing?

A common problem that homeowners may experience, this humming sound occurs when the disposal is clogged or jammed by an object inside. The unit is still receiving power when you try to operate it, but unfortunately, it is unable to grind food because it is jammed.

You do NOT need to call a plumber for this. It is a relatively easy fix that should only take a few minutes.

How to Unclog:

Find the owner’s manual for your disposal. Look for instructions on how to troubleshoot this humming problem. If you can’t find the owner’s manual for specific instructions, then you should carefully try to unjam it.

You can try following these instructions:

  • Unplug disposal.
  • Get the allen wrench that came with the unit, or find one that will work.
  • Crawl under your sink and look for a small hole that fits your allen wrench. It will be hexagon-shaped.
  • Insert allen wrench and turn. This should unjam the unit.
  • Plug in and turn it on.

Note: These are general instructions to unclog your garbage disposal. It is strongly recommended that you follow the instructions that the manufacturer provides for that specific model.


Where is the reset button on my disposal?

The reset button on your disposal is located at the bottom exterior of the unit. It is likely red, but this could vary. Please refer to the owner’s manual to understand how to properly use the reset button on your specific disposal.


Can I use a disposal if I have a septic system?

You can, but it’s not recommended. When you have a septic system, disposing of food waste down the drain is a bad idea for the following reasons:

  • You may disturb the balance of bacteria within the tank.
  • You fill up the tank quicker, thus have to pump it more frequently.
  • You may inadvertently cause problems with the tank, which may lead to costly repairs.

Who do I call to repair a disposal?

A plumber will be your best bet for repairing a garbage disposal.

However, depending on what the problem is, you may be able to repair it yourself. Before you call and hire someone, try to troubleshoot the problems and determine if you can fix it on your own.

For example, a clogged disposal is an easy fix for homeowners to do on their own. But, if the disposal is leaking, then you should turn off the water and call a a plumber.


Where can I buy a garbage disposal?

You can buy a garbage disposal from a wide variety of retailers, including both online or inside a store.

Before buy the first disposal you find at Home Depot or Lowes, we would recommend browsing your options online and narrowing down which model would be best for your home. You don’t have to buy online, but you’ll at least have comfort in knowing that you made an educated buying decision.


Egg Shells

Why You Should Never Put Eggshells Down Your Garbage Disposal

For many homeowners, the garbage disposal in the sink is an afterthought. It’s where the food waste goes because you don’t want it to stink up your trash can.

This is understandable. Nobody wants the unpleasant aroma of trash lingering in their home. But, many homeowners don’t realize that some foods should never be put into a garbage disposal.

Today, we’d like to highlight one food item in particular: eggshells.

For many families, eggs are a staple in the home. Consumed daily and prepared in countless ways. But, while you’re busy thinking about cooking your eggs, the shells are likely something you don’t put much thought into. Most homeowners simply toss them in the trash or the sink, while keeping the focus on not burning the eggs (again).

Below, we discuss some of the most common questions about eggshells, why you shouldn’t put them in your garbage disposal, and what you should do with them instead.

Can You Put Eggshells in the Garbage Disposal?

No. This is not a wise idea.

When they are ground up, eggshells can quickly turn into tiny particles that, in turn, may lead to a clog in your garbage disposal, or even in your pipes.

To help you visualize what could potentially happen, pretend for a moment that ground-up eggshells are like sand. Tiny particles that may flow with water, but may also clump together and create a blockage. When confined in small spaces, such as the inside of a pipe, it is more likely that the eggshell-sand will clump together.


Do Eggshells Sharpen Garbage Disposal Blades?

This is unlikely. In fact, a garbage disposal doesn’t use “blades” to break down your food.

But, it is also worth noting that you will likely get different answers depending on who you ask. The general consensus is that eggshells will not sharpen any of the components inside the unit. In fact, these may actually cause more problems than you set out to resolve.

Try Using Ice

If you’re looking to sharpen the “blades” — they’re actually grinders — inside your disposal, you should try using ice. Any size or shape will work, as long as the ice is frozen solid. Avoid the softer flake or nugget ice, as those won’t pose a significant challenge to the unit.

The upside to using ice, is that nothing will be left behind that may cause issues or clog your disposal. Unlike eggshells or citrus peels, the melted ice water will simply go down the drain.





Is This the Same For All Disposals?

Probably not. The usage tips will likely vary for all brands, as well as all models manufactured by those brands. It would be wise to refer to the user manual for your model to get the precise answer.

However, despite what may be listed in the user manual or what type of waste your disposal is capable of handling, it is still wise to avoid putting eggshells down the unit.

Even with the best of the best garbage disposals, you will be unable to eliminate the potential problems that finely-ground eggshells may create inside your pipes. Over time, they may build-up and create a clog. This can lead to some very costly repairs.


What Can You Do With Eggshells?

While your average person may consider to them to be waste, eggshells have many uses. The below suggestions are simple and easy for every homeowner.

  • Dry, Grind & Add to Soil — You can use egg shells in your yard or garden to help replenish nutrients in the soil. For maximum effectiveness, it is recommended that you grind your shells as fine as possible, and then sprinkle it around your yard or garden.
  • Compost — Similar to tossing them in your yard, you can also add egg shells to your compost bin. This will expedite the decomposition process, giving the compost a boost of calcium. For gardeners, this is an easy way to avoid your pepper important nutrient.
  • Use For Seedlings — Instead of buying a seed-starter pot, you can use old egg shells to start seedlings. This is not only an easy way to get kids involved with gardening, but the shell also acts as a natural source of food for your plants as it decomposes. More on that below.

What Are Egg Shells Made Of?

When broken down and analyzed, egg shells are comprised almost entirely of calcium carbonate.

With the same molecular formula as limestone, calcium carbonate is commonly used for calcium supplements, antacids and chalk.


Are Eggshells Good for Plants?

Yes, but not as a substitute for fertilizer or other liming material.

According to multiple studies, egg shells can be used to help supplement the soil with calcium. However, to have any meaningful effect, the shells need to be ground as fine as possible. Simply tossing the shells in your yard and crushing them with your hands or feet is not going to provide the soil with any sort of timely benefits. The decomposition process is incredibly slow.

With that said, there is no harm of adding large shells to your yard. While you may not replenish the soil as quickly as you hoped, there is no risk to your grass or plants.