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So, I bought a portable AC...
Old 14th February 2018
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tkaitkai's Avatar

Thread Starter
So, I bought a portable AC...

Backstory: I live in Florida, where it’s pretty much hot all year-round. I live in a house with the homeowner, who keeps the central AC set at 78°. Studio room is the hottest in the house, probably reaching 85° or higher on hot days. HOA forbids window units.

I’ve desperately been needing some type of AC in my studio room, as it gets HOT, which is obviously not good for gear/computers — my Apollo, for example, can get so hot that it almost burns to touch.

I finally picked up a portable AC the other day, knowing full well it would be a suboptimal cooling system. What I didn’t anticipate was how LOUD it would be, even at it’s lowest fan speed. It now feels fantastic in the room, but the loudness is such a bummer that I’m honestly considering returning it and just dealing with the heat. To do any sort of mixing or critical listening, I have essentially two choices: crank my monitors or turn the AC off.

I wish I could go ductless/mini split, but I can’t make those kinds of modifications to the home.

Does anyone have any advice for this kind of situation? Is it possible to make a portable AC quieter?

Old 14th February 2018
Lives for gear

Some are quieter than others, you could always put the unit in another room and use flex duct to pipe the cooled air in your room. The real problem you have is removing the heat generated by your equipment. Patching into the hvac systems return would help. Or design a duct system with an inline fan hooked up to a duct stat, that can pull the heat from the room
Old 15th February 2018
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Crazy4Jazz's Avatar

Split system solved the problem for me. There are caveats to this. I'm on the 7th floor but I happen to have both a terrace that's attached to a non-accessible terrace/walled in roof drain. As such, we were able to put the machine outside on the "roof terrace" and it is near silent. The only noise is that of the wind if the fan is very high. If you are on the ground floor than the machine just goes outside and all you need is a way to get the piping through the wall. There was a space for a wall unit so I used the space to pass the piping through. Great system. A bit expensive including installation but quiet and cool.
Old 15th February 2018
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If you can't put a split and the owner keeps it at 78, can you move?
Old 16th February 2018
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Split systems are way better but also more expensive and there are also issues related to local regulations. Also they must be installed by a specialist as special equipment is required for commisioning (unless using a split system with pre-filled hoses and special connectors).

In theory you could make a soundproof case and install silencers on ducts but while technically possible it would complicated and not worth the effort.

Also compact systems have only an exhaust for warm air but the corresponding volume is warm air from the outside as there's no separate duct (and that lost air is mixed with pre-cooled air).

I simply mean that there are technical means, see for example those large supersilent diesel gensets used on location by film crews. Despite maybe 135 dBA inside the container, outside, a few meters away you hear close to nothing, you can mostly feel some low vibrations (beside that by listening you'd be unable to tell if the genset is running or not).
Now IMO it's not worth trying to silence a portable A/C unit. Ideally the unit should be installed in another room and some duct used to route cooled air.

BTW The reminds of motels in TX, either you could not sleep because it was too hot in the room or you could not sleep because of the noise of the A/C unit under the window (and once my roommate did inadvertently switch on the heater instead of the A/C but that's another story).
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