Learn About Portable Air Conditioners

There are two types of portable air conditioners:

1. Close Comfort – provides micro-climate around people who need cooling

2. Old-style portable air conditioners that claim to cool the whole room, with a large exhaust hose attached to a window. Unfortunately they suck out more air than they cool. They replace it with hot & humid outside air.  Nearly all of the electricity is wasted, and there is only slight room cooling.

Compare Close Comfort with Old-Syle Portables
Half the size and weight

Close Comfort: 55 cm high x 29 cm x 39 cm, 17.5 kg, easy to carry.

Old Style Portable: typically 80 cm high x 40 cm x 45 cm, 32 kg, hard to move.

Best for bedrooms

In moderately hot weather, Close Comfort can be used on its own (as shown) or with a normal mosquito net. We recommend the optional Igloo bed tent in really hot conditions with indoor temperatures consistently over 28°C at night. The tent amplifies cooling over the bed and can also reduce energy consumption by about 30-40% which is ideal for battery and off-grid applications.

Old style portables are unsuitable for bedrooms. They are much noisier and have relatively low cooling performance compared with a split AC using the same power. Also humidity builds up in room with time.

No exhaust hose or window kit

Close Comfort: use it anywhere because there is no exhaust hose

Old-style Portable: has to be close to a window to attach the large exhaust hose with the window kit

Lowest total cost

Close Comfort: $649 plus $17 – $35 monthly electricity cost (Source: EMA based on 8-16 hours a day), total cost over three years $1,287 – $2,909

Old-style Portable: $350 – $990 plus $90 – $180 monthly electricity cost (Source: EMA based on 8-16 hours a day), total cost over three years $2,932 – $6,154

At least 75% less electricity, C02 emissions

Close Comfort: 800 – 1,100 Watts cooling, 300 Watts electricity (same as a few iridescent light bulbs), 0.25 tonnes CO2 over three years, equivalent to 110 litres of petrol

Old-style Portable: 3,000 – 7,500 Watts cooling, 1,000 – 2,400 Watts electricity, 1 – 2 tonnes CO2 over three years, equivalent to 450 – 900 litres of petrol.

Focused Cooling

Close Comfort: all cooling directed around people using it

Old-style Portable: mixes air in room, sucks out more air than it cools and sucks in hot air from the roof space outside. Very little room cooling.

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Much quieter

Close Comfort: 47 – 54 dB – quiet, like an electric fan

Old-style Portable: 55 – 63 dB – noisy, can be hard to hear people speak

Fresh Air

Close Comfort: Open

Old-style Portable: Closed

Easy to move. Use anywhere.

Close Comfort has eliminated the exhaust hose: such a wonderful improvement. It is on caster wheels and can easily be moved where you want to use it. At 17 Kg it is easily carried too. Take it anywhere you need cooling, even outside in sheltered places.

The old-style portable comes with a hose and window kit which is fiddly to install, and only works with some windows. That means you cannot easily move it once you have installed it. Plus the exhaust hose is ugly, helps to heat the room, and makes lots of noise.

If Close Comfort has no exhaust hose, surely it must warm the room?

Answer: Close Comfort releases only 300 Watts, similar to three people in the room. Close Comfort directs its warm air exhaust to the ceiling where the heat is absorbed, just like the warmth from your fridge which you don’t notice (warm air rises naturally). Any excess finds its way out of open windows or doors.

In a humid climate like Singapore, the warmth is actually useful because it makes the relative humidity slightly lower and reduces the tendency for mould to grow on walls and other surfaces.

What size room can the Close Comfort cool?

Close Comfort works in any room, even outside in sheltered places. It creates a micro-climate, a cool zone, up to 4-5 square metres.

When should I consider the optional bed tent?

If the temperature inside your bedroom regularly exceeds 28°C at night, the Igloo bed tent provides extra cooling to keep you comfortable, and also provides chemical-free mosquito protection.The Igloo bed tentalso reduces the air conditioner power consumption to about 180 Watts average, a valuable saving for off-grid battery installations.

The Igloo bed tent also provides an ideal place for your baby or small child to be cool and comfortable during the day time.

How far away can Close Comfort be effective?

We recommend keeping Close Comfort near you, no more than 2 or 3 metres away.  If you need it further away, or want to use while you are standing, we recommend our Focus Enhancer accessory which extends the range and optionally directs the cool air flow at a higher angle.

Is there still a reason for using a split AC?

If you need to cool a crowded room for 2 – 3 hours, a split AC is effective. Split ACs provide no fresh air exchange and the doors and windows need to be closed to retain the cool air so carbon dioxide, volatile organic compounds and body odours build up with time.  Prolonged use of split ACs for sleeping can cause dry itchy eyes and skin irritation from dry air and the running cost can be very high.  Expect to pay $1,500 or more to install it and $120 – $250 a month for electricity if you use it for sleeping or during the day.

Tell me about other low cost, energy-efficient ways to keep cool at home or work.

Ceiling fans can be effective in moderate heat.

An electric fan on a table next to a window can draw outside air through the open window and blow it across a bed to provide effective cooling for sleeping. Make sure that there is one other open window or doorway tor air to escape.

Fans provide about 2 degrees of apparent cooling. (Close Comfort provides up to 10 degrees of apparent cooling, sometimes more).

Evaporative coolers (using water) are relatively ineffective in Singapore because the relative humidity is very high, around 75% – 80%. Sometimes you will find them used inside air conditioned spaces where they can provide some localised cooling because the air conditioning system reduces the inside air humidity sufficiently. However, using evaporative coolers in this way significantly increases the electricity consumption of the main building air conditioning system.

 

Who invented Close Comfort and where?

Close Comfort is an Australian and Singapore based start-up company founded in 2007. Inventor James Trevelyan created the concept after experiencing summer heat in Pakistan with intermittent electricity for air conditioning.  He refined the concept with a series of prototypes, assisted by our manufacturers in Taiwan.  Our first commercial models went on sale in India and Pakistan in 2016.