I get it. You’re sitting there trying to enjoy your evening or day off. Except it is way too hot. Give it time, and then it’s too cold. If only you could make the temperature comfortable no matter the weather.
Now you can. With the best portable air conditioner and heater combos, you can cool the air on hot days and warm your home on cold days. All without ever changing out units or buying multiple devices. This article will showcase the best air conditioner and heater combos and help you decide which one is best for you.
Benefits of Getting a Portable AC/Heater Combo
There are several benefits to owning a portable AC and heater combo. Below I will outline some of the more important benefits. You will find more personal interests as you use the units in your home.
- Cost savings
One of the most significant benefits is that the units don’t cost much more than a standalone heater or air conditioner, so you end up saving money over having to buy two separate machines.
- Use as needed
Central heating and air is a nice luxury, but it isn’t always needed. Depending on the climate where you live, you may only need the air conditioner or heater for a few weeks a year. In these instances, central heating and air can end up costing you more.
- Use where needed
Most of the units on our list are easily moved from one room to another or are at least not permanently mounted. You can use them in the garage while you are working and then into the bedroom when it is time for sleep.
- Maintain room temperature easily
You can program a lot of these combo units or set the desired temperature. They will work when required to keep your area cool (or hot), so you can come home from work to a perfect temperature.
AC & Heater Combos Compared
(Cool / Heat)
|Max Cool Area||EER||Noise Level||Price|
|SereneLife||10,000/9,000||350 Sq. ft.||10.4||52-56 dba||Check Price|
|PIONEER||24,000/24000||750 Sq. ft.||9.5||52 dba||Check Sylvane|
|Koldfront WAC25001W||25,000/16,000||1500 Sq. ft.||9.4||56 dba||Check Build|
|Black + Decker BPACT12HWT||12,000/10,000||350 Sq. ft.||10.1||78 dba||Check Price|
|Koldfront WTC12001W||12,000/10,600||550 Sq. ft.||9.5||65 dba||Check Build|
|Frigidaire FFRH1822R2||18,500/16,000||1050 Sq. ft.||10.7||68 dba||Check Price|
|Honeywell MM14CHCS||14,000/11,000||700 Sq. ft.||10.4||51-54 dba||Check Price|
|Whynter ARC-14SH||14,000/11,000||500 Sq. ft.||11.3||56 dba||Check Sylvane|
|Dometic 651816||15,000||1100 Sq. ft.||10.1||N/A||Check Price|
Considerations When Buying AC & Heater Combos
While you can just head out and pick up any AC/Heater combo, it is best if you did a little research first. There are a lot of factors to think about before you make a final purchase. Let me show you some of those considerations now.
Area Vs. Personal Needs
One thing to think about is where you are going to use the combo unit. Will you place it in a windowed room, your RV, or in a windowless room? Knowing where the air conditioner will go will help you decide which type to purchase.
You will also need to decide if the chosen model will be able to cool the area you have it in (more on this below).
Cooling & Heating Capacity
Each model will have a BTU rating, which is the measure of how well it can cool or heat an area based on size. The larger the BTU rating, the bigger the area it will cool, and smaller areas will be heated or cooled more efficiently.
However, you need to realize that too many BTUs can end up costing you more on your monthly energy bills. Choosing the right size for the area, the ideal amount of efficiency and capacity will ensure your room stays at the proper temperature without costing you more than reasonable amounts on your bills.
The coverage area is measured in square feet. You can measure the square footage of your room by multiplying the length and the width together. From this measurement, you can identify the BTU rating and coverage size needed for an efficient machine.
There is a lot more to square footage, though. The number of windows, the amount of proper insulation, the AC unit installation, and even the height of your ceiling can affect how efficient the machine is in that particular space.
Understanding room attributes such as high ceilings, large, uncovered windows, and other factors will require more powerful units to keep cold or hot as needed.
Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER)
The Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) is a measurement of how well the machine operates and if it will cost you more or less to operate than other machines. The ratio is determined by looking at the BTU rate in conjunction with the kWh per BTU.
In short, the higher the EER, the better the machine is at cooling and heating while keeping your costs down. For the most part, you will find EERs between 9.0 and 15.0. Anything above 13.5 is considered highly efficient, as long as the BTU rating isn’t too high for the room size.
Noise Levels (dBA)
Another thing to think about is how loud the units are when operating. Most will have two decibel ratings. There is a start-up noise level and an operating noise level. The start-up will be much louder as the motors, fans, and pumps turn on.
Once running, the overall noise level will drop to a more nominal level, but you should understand the levels. Higher decibels is worse, and you should look for a unit that operates at 56dB or lower.
To put it in perspective, a hairdryer on high at 15 feet produces about 60 to 63dBA. City traffic at 20 feet rates about 60dBa. These levels aren’t conducive to conversation, television watching, or phone calls.
To be able to watch TV or have a conversation with a guest in the room, the noise rating should be below 58dB. Otherwise, you may find yourself shouting or raising the volume on the television.
One duty of a central air conditioner is to remove moisture and humidity from the air as it runs. This helps to keep the rooms cool without getting muggy or sticky. Is this needed in a portable unit, though?
This will depend a lot on where you are using the machine, as well as how often. To be effective, dehumidifiers need to run for long periods. Humidity can build up quickly, especially in smaller spaces. Having a unit that will also dehumidify can help the overall feeling of the room.
One drawback, though, is that drip trays and collection pans need to be emptied more frequently. You may find that the units are designed to shut off if the tray gets too full. In these cases, you can’t run the system while you are away, or the unit will overflow, getting your floors wet, or it will shut down, and you will come home to a hot room.
Portability (Unit Weight & Size)
Not all units are designed to be portable, even if they are labeled as such. Through-the-wall and window units are meant to be installed and remain in place. While you can move them to another room, it isn’t a feasible option or long-term solution.
Most portable units are still heavy, with some tipping the scales near 100 pounds. They will come mounted on wheels, but you still need to accommodate the space they take up as well as the venting hose. If you have a room without windows, you will need to vent to another room, a bathroom, or invest in a mini-split ductless system.
Something else to keep in mind is what is required for proper installation. Some larger units will require their own dedicated circuit, for example.
Not only are power requirements something to look at, but you also need to know if the unit has a specific plug type, or can it be used in any standard outlet? Venting is something else to consider. Portable units will generally come with a vent hose and a window mounting unit.
However, you can vent them to other rooms if you don’t have a window, or into a central register if you have the mechanical know-how to install such a setup. Drainage can be an issue as well. Some units evaporate on their own and don’t need manual draining. Other models require you to add a drain hose and empty the drip tray when it gets full.
Price & Warranty
Finally, your budget will come into play. While these models are cheaper than central air units, they do have a wide variety of price ranges. Finding the right size, efficiency, and price is a delicate practice that requires time and thought.
You will also want to examine the warranty to look for coverage terms, conditions, and time frame. Some warranties require you to maintain proof of purchase, registration of the product, or other conditions for the warranty to take effect.
9 Best Air Conditioner Heater Combos Reviewed
1. SereneLife Portable Air Conditioner
Best Portable AC With Heater
|Energy Rating||10.4 EER|
|Room Size (Cooling Area)||350 Sq. ft.|
|Moisture Removal||78 pints/day|
|Noise Level||52-56 db|
|Dimensions||17.4 x 13.4 x 32.1 inches|
The SereneLife SLACHT108 is my top pick and the best portable AC & Heater combo on the market. The unit is rated to heat and cool rooms up to 350 square feet, though you will find that it is still efficient enough to work in larger rooms. With 10,000 BTU cooling power, the SereneLife model can easily cool up to 500 sq. ft.
When heating, the unit pushes 9,000 BTU and can raise the temperature in a bedroom by 5 or 6 degrees without a problem. If you are the type that likes to sleep with a fan on for noise, the SLACHT108 has a fan-only mode that will produce a cozy level of white-noise without altering the room’s temperature.
This unit is truly portable, too. It is a heavy machine, but the strong caster wheels roll easily on all floor types (though high-pile carpeting might require two people). The window kit for the exhaust fan is only 2 pieces, as well. It will fit in horizontal or vertical windows up to 60-inches. You may find that you need some weather stripping to properly seal the opening, though.
As a portable AC and heater, the unit will consume electricity, and you may notice spikes in your energy bill. However, the unit is efficient with an EER of 10.4, which roughly translates to about an extra $150 to $200 per year to operate (5 hours per day, 7 days per week). It also comes with a 1-year limited warranty against defects, craftsmanship, and compressor failure.
- Quiet model with average noise levels at 52dB
- Will dehumidify without needing to empty a drip tray.
- 3 operation modes for year-round use.
- No special installation needed, fits
- Window kit doesn’t always seal well.
- Humid climates may find that the drip tray does overflow
2. PIONEER Air Conditioner Mini Split Heat Pump
Best Ductless AC & Heater Combo
|Energy Rating||9.5 EER|
|Room Size (Cooling Area)||750 Sq. ft.|
|Noise Level||52 db|
|Dimensions||42.5 x 8.8 x 13.2 inches|
The Pioneer mini-split series has quickly become one of the best ductless AC & Heater combo units on the market. The name recognition and a 5-year warranty also lead credence to the durability and reliability of the products. This system is no different.
It will require professional installation, but once set up, you can use the wireless controls through the mobile app to use the AC from anywhere in the world. While this works, you will most likely set the temp and turn the unit on as you drive home from work, to come back to a nice, cozy home.
The 24,000 BTU system will cool areas up to 750 sq, ft. If you have a larger space, though, there are other sized options available. The largest of this series will cool or heat areas up to 900 square feet without complaint.
One of the best things about this mini-split system is that it runs extra quiet. At a startup noise level of 52dBA, you won’t even know it is on, except for living in the ideal temperature in your home.
The maintenance of the unit is relatively low, as well. You need to keep the vents and louvers free of dust and debris, but other than that, unless there is a problem, you don’t need to do much. Obviously, as a mini-split system, there is zero portability, once it is installed, that is where it sets.
- Multiple BTU sizes available for different coverage areas.
- Ideal for medium to large-sized rooms.
- Wireless control options available.
- Requires professional installation for full warranty
3. Koldfront WAC25001W Heat/Cool Window AC
Best Window AC & Heater For Large Room
|Energy Rating||9.4 EER|
|Room Size (Cooling Area)||1500 Sq. ft.|
|Moisture Removal||137 pints/day|
|Noise Level||56 dB|
|Dimensions||18.6 x 26.5 x 26.5 inches|
The best window AC and heater for large rooms is the Koldfront model. With an impressive 25,000 BTUs of cooling power, you can keep rooms up to 1500 sq ft cool and comfortable with ease. If the temperature drops, you can then turn on heat mode and use 16,000 BTUs of heating power to raise the temperature to a livable level.
What you won’t be able to do is more the unit around very much. Once this unit is in a window, you won’t want to move it. You will also need to verify the window is large enough to hold the air conditioner. It requires a window to drain the condensation outside; anything else will make a mess.
It also requires a 30-amp dedicated circuit and an LCDI 6-30P outlet. If you don’t have this type of outlet already, it may require professional installation. It comes with a limited 1-year warranty on all parts and a 90-day warranty on labor. Should anything go wrong, repair or replacement options are available.
This unit isn’t the most efficient when it comes to energy consumption, but an EER rating of 9.4 for a unit this size is still good. When using it in the winter on heating mode you will most likely see spikes in your monthly energy bill; however, the comfort level it provides is worth the additional few bucks on your bill.
- Ideal for large rooms and spaces up to 1500 square feet.
- 5 operation modes including cool, dry, heat, and auto
- Remote control operation included.
- May require professional installation if you don’t have an existing outlet.
4. Black + Decker BPACT12HWT Portable AC
Best Portable AC Heater Combo For Mid-Sized Rooms
|Energy Rating||10.1 EER|
|Room Size (Cooling Area)||350 Sq. ft.|
|Moisture Removal||67 pints/day|
|Noise Level||78 db|
|Dimensions||17.1 x 13.8 x 28.1 inches|
The Black & Decker combo unit is the best portable AC heater combo for mid-sized rooms. Ideal for master bedrooms or living rooms, this unit brings 12,000 BTU to the table to cool or heat rooms up to 350 square feet.
You may notice that the unit is louder than a lot of other portable units. When on the high setting, it can reach noise levels over 78dB. The start-up is quieter, though, and in normal cooling mode on low fan setting, the noise is reduced to about 70dB.
Everything you need for proper installation is included, and the window kit for the exhaust hose will fit any sliding style window. The hose itself is just shy of 5-feet, which allows you room to position the portable unit in any direction for maximum effect.
This model will also dehumidify up to 67 pints per day when on dry mode, and with the bucketless design, it doesn’t require manual emptying. The included warranty is a 3-part warranty with a coverage term of 1-year for each parts and labor. There is also a 5-year limited warranty to cover the compressor. Worry-free heating and cooling are at your fingertips.
- Remote control operation for medium-sized rooms
- Bucketless design requires no manual emptying of the drain pan.
- Can be set up and running in less than 10 minutes.
- Louder than other models on this list.
- Not designed to run consistently.
5. Koldfront WTC12001W Through the Wall Heat/Cool AC
Best Through The Wall Air Conditioner & Heater
|Energy Rating||9.5 EER|
|Room Size (Cooling Area)||Up to 550 Sq. ft.|
|Moisture Removal||60 pints/day|
|Noise Level||65 db|
|Dimensions||20.4 x 24.2 x 14.5 inches|
Koldfront enters our list again with the best through-the-wall air conditioner and heater unit on the market. This 12,000 BTU (cooling) will chill medium to large-sized rooms up to 550 square feet. It does require proper installation, and if you do not have a wall cut or mounting sleeve, you might need to hire a professional.
Because of this model’s size, it cannot be placed in a window instead of a wall sleeve. Even with a bracket, it will void the 1-year warranty. If you need less coverage and want to save some money, you can opt for the smaller units, like the 8,000/3,500 BTU Koldfront model for rooms up to 350 square feet.
With push-button operation and a remote control, your options are enough to suit any need. You won’t find wireless controls here, though, so you need to be in the same room as the unit to change modes or temperatures.
The operation noise level is a decent 65dB, so you can use it in the same room with your TV or hold a conversation while the unit is running. There are three fan speeds to choose from that each work in the four operation modes. When in dry mode, the self-evaporative unit will clear out its own drain pan. Any excess, though, is drained outside through a small hole.
Maintenance and care are routine for a through-the-wall unit. You will need to remove and wash the filter about every 30 days and keep the vents and louvers clear of dust and debris. The model is not designed to be taken apart, but it can be done after the warranty period should any mildew begin to form.
- Simple two-person installation with preexisting mounting location.
- Remote operation ensures you stay comfortable at all times.
- Multiple size options available for various rooms
- Can take a while to heat a room if not run consistently.
- Is not the most energy-efficient model of this type.
6. Frigidaire FFRH1822R2 Slide-Out Chassis Air Conditioner
Best Wall Mounted Air Conditioner & Heater
|Energy Rating||10.7 EER|
|Room Size (Cooling Area)||1050 Sq. ft.|
|Moisture Removal||132 pints/day|
|Noise Level||68 db|
|Dimensions||25.4 x 23.6 x 17.9 inches|
Unlike the KoldFront model above, the Frigidaire is the best wall mounted air conditioner and heater available for either through-the-wall or window mounting. If you don’t have a wall sleeve, you can place this unit in a window (the window kit is included) for use in any room.
The FFRH1822R2 model is also efficient in both heating and cooling, providing a 10.7 EER rating with up to 18,500 VTU for cooling large spaces up to 1050 square feet. It also comes with a 1-year parts and labor warranty and an additional 5-year warranty on the compressor and sealed components.
While it is technically a portable unit, you won’t want to move it very often. Once installed in a wall sleeve, it isn’t recommended to move it again. However, with a wall mounting option, you can move it to another room, if needed. It does require a 30-amp dedicated 230v outlet and will not fit a standard 110-115v outlet.
This self-evaporative unit will clear out up to 132 pints of condensation per day, so you won’t have to worry about drainage. However, in more humid climates, you may notice some excess draining on the outside. This is normal and accounted for. The problem arises when the condensation forms on the vents and filter louvers, which can drip inside the home.
- Multiple mounting options (wall sleeve not included)
- 6 operation modes for year-round use
- Energy-efficient model for cooling large spaces
- Works well as a supplement to central air units.
- Heating large spaces works as a supplement only. (Below 45 degrees F).
7. Honeywell MM14CHCS Portable Air Conditioner
Quietest Portable Air Conditioner With Heater
|Energy Rating||10.4 EER|
|Room Size (Cooling Area)||Up to 700 Sq. ft.|
|Moisture Removal||86 pints/day|
|Noise Level||51-54 db|
|Dimensions||15.7 x 19.9 x 34 inches|
If you are looking for a quiet operating heater and air conditioner, look no further. The Honeywell MM14CHCS is the ideal portable unit for you. This model will operate at just around 51dB, which is the same as a low conversation volume. You won’t even know it is there.
While it is the quietest portable air conditioner and heater combo unit right now, it is also one of the easiest to operate. The front-facing LCD panel incorporates feather-light button controls that work much like pressure-sensitive touch screens. The lit panel provides the feedback of operation and button press.
This model also comes with the window kit included but is designed only for horizontal windows. You can extend the window kit for vertical windows if needed, but it will require a trip to the hardware store for make-shit panels and weather stripping.
The bucketless design for the drip tray, along with the use of the dry mode setting, means you never have to empty a water pan again. In some of our more humid climates, though, you may need to run dry mode more frequently than suggested.
The limited 1-year warranty will cover all parts, including the compressor and sealed components. While it isn’t the most extended warranty in the industry, you won’t need to use it in most cases. In the rare event it is needed, you will know right away (defects or issues with the motor found in the first few uses). With proper care and maintenance, this unit will work perfectly for several years.
- Ideal portable combo unit for medium to large-sized rooms.
- Whisper-quiet operation can be utilized in children’s bedrooms or busy living rooms.
- Touch-sensitive controls or remote operation available.
- Doesn’t vent through crank-closure windows
- Single-hose use makes it less efficient than it could be.
8. Whynter ARC-14SH Dual Hose Portable AC
Best Dual Hose AC & Heater Combo
|Energy Rating||11.3 EER|
|Room Size (Cooling Area)||Up to 500 Sq. ft.|
|Moisture Removal||101 pints/day|
|Noise Level||56 db|
|Dimensions||16 x 19 x 35.5 inches|
The Whynter ARC-14SH may just be the best brand you’ve never heard of. This is the best dual-hose AC and heater combo available. Even though it only has a 1-year warranty, this model has been heating and cooling homes for over a decade without incident. Of course, there will be some problems with the manufacturing process (as with all brands), which is what the warranty is designed for.
The dual-hose set up provides fast, efficient airflow with a separate hose for venting and intake. It also features a newer technology that recycles the condensation from the drip tray to help produce cooler air faster. You don’t have to empty the tray as it will evaporate on its own, even during regular use.
For moderate-sized rooms (up to 500 square feet), the ARC_14SH will heat the space in as little as 10 minutes. Cooling is much faster, with about 6 to 7 minutes before a noticeable drop in temperature. You can expect up to 10 degrees difference in cooling and 8 degrees difference in heating when using this unit.
Start-up noise levels can reach over 60dB; however, regular operation, even with the fan on the high setting, resides around 56dB. You will hear the unit running in the room, but you shouldn’t need to make any volume adjustments or talk louder to be heard.
- Quiet operation even in high fan mode.
- More efficient than most portable combo units
- Recycles condensation for even more cooling efficiency.
- Can be difficult to move on carpeted surfaces
- Control options are limited
9. Dometic 651816 CXX1C0 Penguin HP Heat Pump
Best RV Air Conditioner + Heater Combo
|Energy Rating||10.1 EER|
|Room Size (Cooling Area)||Up to 1100 Sq. ft.|
|Dimensions||40 x 28 x 11 inches|
If you need a new air conditioner and heater combo for your RV, the Dometic name should be familiar to you. They have provided heating and cooling solutions for RVs for years and are among the leaders in the industry. The 651816 unit is 15,000 BTUs of pure cooling and heating power. It is only designed to work with the Dual Climate Comfort Control Center (CCC2) thermostats only, so you will need to ensure your RV can accommodate the install.
Professional installation is recommended because it is a delicate piece that uses refrigerant and runs lines through the RV itself. Once installed, though, your entire RV will benefit from the heated or cooled air flowing throughout the cabin. You don’t need to worry about noise levels, either, as this top-mounted unit sits outside in a weatherproof shell.
Because it is a central air style unit, there isn’t any need for drainage or drip trays, and the only condensation will appear on the refrigerant lines when in use. Proper insulation of the lines is needed and should be a part of the installation process.
The warranty period begins from the date of manufacture and not of purchase or delivery, so you will need to make a note of the date code on the unit to determine how much time you have left on the warranty period. The warranty is all-inclusive, but limited, which means that Dometic will review the case and determine if the unit needs to be repaired or replaced, at their discretion.
- High output for fast cooling and simple heating of larger RVs.
- Works in all models regardless of age or build (some variances aside).
- Doesn’t require special maintenance or care beyond routine cleaning
- Requires professional installation
- Must use a CCC2 thermostat
Other Honorable Mentions
If you are looking for a smart home solution, the RolliCool from Rollibot is your answer. With 12,000 BTU power for heating and cooling, you can use the included remote, or enable the Rollibot Alexa skills for voice activation.
This portable AC combo unit will fit any sliding style window and runs at a quiet 54dB noise level on a high setting. For smart home integration solutions, there isn’t a better option available.
ClimateRight for Dog Houses
Let us not forget our furry family members! The ClimateRight heating and air conditioner system for dog houses is the perfect solution for lazy summer days and colder winter nights in the backyard. The system uses twin hoses for intake and exhaust and runs at a reasonably quiet level.
The installation process is designed for a DIY, and everything you need is included (except the hole saw for hose mounting). Your pup will thank you for making sure they are comfortable when they can’t be in the house with you.
How Air Conditioner Heater Combos Work
Most air conditioner and heater combination units aren’t that complicated. They have a setting for air conditioning that uses refrigerant for cycling through the coils, cooling the air that the fan then blows into the room.
On the other side, a heating element is used when heat mode is selected. The fan blows the air over the heater element to warm it, where it is passed into the room to raise the temperature. The units are generally compact and come as a single machine.
After setup or installation, you can control them with knobs or buttons, or some use remote controls and mobile apps.
As the device heats or cools, condensate can build up. There is a drip tray that collects the condensation, and gravity pulls it to a corner where the tray is drained. Depending on the type of unit you have, this tray may need to be manually emptied or can drain through a small hose outside.
When heating, the exhaust air is pushed out of the unit through a hose that is connected to a window or doorway, or through the rear vent ports directly outside (such as in the case of a window unit).
One vs. Two Ventilation Hose
On portable air conditioner and heater combos, you have the options for one or two ventilation hoses. What is the difference, though? The simple answer is that single-hose units pull air in to be cooled through the same hose they exhaust the hot air out of. This means they have to run longer to achieve a cooler airflow.
Two hose systems have a dedicated hose for intake and another for exhaust. This makes them run more efficiently to cool your home. However, they also have a downside. Because of the setup, a twin hose unit will have more fans to cool the heating elements or to maintain airflow, which results in more energy used and can raise your energy bills.
While two hose systems are more efficient at heating and cooling the space, they require more energy to do so. One hose systems may take longer to heat or cool the area, but the tradeoff is a slightly lower energy bill overall.
Installing Air Conditioning + Heating Units
When you do get the unit home, you will need to do a setup and installation. Depending on the type of air conditioner + heating unit you have, the installation can be complicated or extremely simple. Let’s take a look at some of the different installation methods and requirements.
Portable with Ventilation Hose(s)
These single units sit on the floor using wheels to move around. In general, there is little setup. Once you have the unit in place, you will need to attach the ventilation hose or hoses and run them to the window kit.
The kit fits in the open window with mounting brackets for the hoses. You close the window to hold the mount in place, and most kits will extend to fit most sized windows. If you have vertical windows, though, these kits may not work for you.
For a detailed explanation, check out this video from LG:
Window units aren’t designed to be moved around. You will want to find the best room for your AC/heater combo and make sure the window fits the size (or the unit fits the window). The window itself should be horizontal so the top can secure the unit.
You will need to open the window and remove the screen before you place the AC in. There will be a bottom and top lip around the AC unit that will catch on the windowsill. When you bring the window down on top, the lip should be on the inside of the window frame.
Once this is completed, there will be options side panels that attach to the sides of the AC case and extend out to fill in the rest of the open window area. YOU can secure them to the window frame if needed.
All that’s left is to plug the machine in. Most units will fit a standard outlet, though some may require a distinctive 3 or 4-prong dedicated circuit outlet.
If you want to know more, you can view this video about window unit installation from the Home Depot:
Mini-Split & Ductless Systems
If you don’t have a window or want the convenience of a mini-split system, you can install it as a DIY project. However, if you don’t have proper knowledge of the home’s electrical system, refrigerants and have the proper permits, you may need to hire a professional HVAC technician.
For most homeowners, the peace of mind and labor warranty that comes with a professional installation will help. It is also common for these systems to require professional install for the warranty, so you will need to look into that.
Safety & Maintenance
Caring for your portable AC/Heat combo is essential for longevity (and may be a requirement for some warranty periods). Each unit will have a filter that needs to be cleaned, washed or replaced regularly. For the most part, you will find washable/reusable filters in these machines, just make sure they are dry before you return the filters to service.
Regular cleaning is also needed. You should wipe off the body of the combo units, any screens or sensors, and make sure the vents and louvers are clear of any dirt, dust, or grime build-up. Some will require breaking down and cleaning the insides, which can develop mold and mildew because of the condensation. If the unit isn’t designed to be taken apart, though, you shouldn’t.
You will also need to check the drainage, remove and clean the drip tray (if applicable), and ensure the exhaust hose is clear of debris, dust, or even rodents. The entire maintenance and cleaning regimen will be outlined in your owner’s manual for your specific model. You should do this anytime the unit has sat for extended periods, or at the start and end of every season.
Frequently Asked AC Questions
Will heaters work without AC compressor?
Yes. The heater in a combo unit is separate from the air conditioner and doesn’t use the compressor. It will use the fan, though, to blow the air over the heating element to produce the warm air. While it isn’t advised to run a combination unit with faulty or worn-out parts, one doesn’t rely on the other unless it is a shared component, like the fans.
What wastes more electricity, heater or AC?
Overall, a heater will consume more electricity than an air conditioner. While things like altitude, ambient temperature, season, and other factors go into play, the result is generally that the heater requires more energy to heat a home than an air conditioner needs to cool one.
Can a window AC unit be used as a heater?
No. An air conditioner that also heats is known as a heat pump; this is not the same thing as an air conditioner and heater combo. A heat pump works by moving hot air from one area and putting it in another. If it is hotter outside, the air is transferred from the outside to the inside. When it is too hot inside, the motors reverse, and the inside air is removed and placed outside.
How much does a new air conditioner and heater cost?
The answer lies within another question, “how much do you want to spend?” You can find cheap air conditioner and heater combos for just a hundred bucks or so. More expensive models will range upwards of $500 to $600 or more. Depending on the size, type, brand, and when you buy, the price range averages between $200 and $500 for a decent model.
The heater won’t turn on, but the AC works, what should I do?
Before you call a technician, there are a few things you should check yourself. First, you need to make sure that the heating temperature at the thermostat is set high enough for the system to come on. If that passes, then you want to check the filter. A dirty filter can restrict airflow and make the heater unit not work properly. After that, you want to check for blockages at the air registers. If all of that passes the problem is most likely electrical, you can check the wiring on your thermostat, the circuit breaker or the heating unit itself. If everything looks fine, it is an internal problem, and you will need to call a professional.
How many BTUs should an AC and heater unit have?
The proper amount of BTUs needed for your space is determined by the size of the room, type of room, and if the room is shaded or open to direct sunlight. This chart from EnergyStar will show you how to calculate your room or space and what to look for when deciding the BTU rating needed.
How difficult is it be to install these units?
Most units are simple to install and can be done by one person. For window units, two people can install a heating and cooling combo unit in less than 5 minutes.
Does it matter if I don’t vent my portable AC heater?
It does matter. Improper venting will mean the hot air is circulated back into the unit. This causes the air conditioner to work harder, longer, and produce more condensation. All portable air conditioners should be vented out a window or at a minimum into another room. Venting into a bathroom with a ventilation fan is often chosen for rooms without windows.
How well do portable air conditioners and heater combos run in high humidity?
The humidity level will affect the performance somewhat, but with today’s models, there isn’t much of a noticeable difference. However, what you will notice is that models with manual-emptying condensate pans will need to be emptied more often. Evaporative units will also need their pans emptied, even though you normally don’t need to.
Are dog houses a good place for a combo unit?
Our furry friends are susceptible to the heat and cold as well. Having a combo unit for the doghouse is a great way to maintain a comfortable living area for your dog when they aren’t in the home with you. You can find the best option with the ClimateRight dual-hose air conditioner and heater combo unit. It is easy to install and weatherproof for staying in the elements with the doghouse.
If you are looking for heating and cooling from a single unit, you are not without options. The best air conditioner and heater combo unit for you is the one that fits your room and has enough BTUs to cool or heat the space efficiently.
If you are unsure where to go from here, I recommend you start with our top pick, the SereneLife 4-in-1 AC combo unit. It will heat and cool with 9,000 and 10,00 BTUs (respectively) and dehumidify the space it is in. The unit is also easily portable to cover other rooms as needed.
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