A variety of easily installed solutions can conquer heat for less than temporary air conditioners would cost you.
Did your air conditioning system give out just as the mercury started rising? Do you need to cool a space that wasn’t built with climate control? Want to keep temperatures comfortable for guests at a special outdoor event?
Your first thought might be to rent a large, generator-powered air conditioner. These are great at cooling but aren’t ideal for every situation. The units, and the generators that power them, take up a fair amount of space. Installing them requires running ductwork and possibly removing building windows or cutting a hole in a warehouse door. In addition, the cost of fuel for a temporary AC can add up fast.
If you’d prefer a budget-friendly alternative that can be installed in a jiffy and is cheaper to operate, a good rental equipment provider can suggest a comfort cooling solution, such as the ones below, to fit your needs.
Spot coolers for targeted cooling
Spot coolers deliver targeted or “spot” cooling to individuals or small areas. They roll on casters and plug into a standard wall outlet. Units remove anywhere from 1 ton to 12 tons of heat per hour.
Suppose the third floor of an office building loses its AC, and repairs will take at least a week. The landlord could place spot coolers in strategic locations on the floor, such as the reception area, executives’ offices and meeting rooms, and save the expense of having to cool the entire floor.
The typical cost to rent a spot cooler is about $600 per month. If the landlord places 20 spot coolers, that’s $12,000 per month. While a generator-driven AC may cost about the same, using spot coolers saves on installation and fuel costs.
Evaporative coolers for larger areas
Evaporative coolers, like the Portacool units United Rentals offers, use water to cool a space. Because they produce a larger swath of air compared with spot coolers, they can cool a larger square footage. You’ll often see evaporative coolers in warehouses and other industrial spaces. They are generally used as a seasonal solution for spaces with no permanent air conditioning.
Evaporative coolers work by pulling hot air across a wet pad. Units can be hooked to a water source or can draw water from a large tank. Because they do introduce some humidity into the air, they are generally deployed in the Southwest and other dry climates.
Like spot coolers, evaporative coolers plug into standard wall outlets, are easier to install, and are less expensive to run over several months than larger temporary AC systems.
Vector fans for outdoor dining
Vector fans are a sleek, futuristic-looking type of evaporative cooler. While not as powerful as an evaporative cooler, they can provide up to 9,000 cubic feet per minute of cool air.
Restaurant owners who set up outdoor dining spaces during the pandemic have relied on vector fans to produce the comfortable temperatures patrons desire. The fans also work well for cooling wedding tents and other special events tents. Not only do they take up less room than larger, more expensive temporary AC units, they’re also quieter. Vector fans typically cost about $900 a month to rent.
Water-cooled ACs for small buildings
Although spot coolers are effective at cooling a person or small area, they have one potential drawback: They vent the hot air they pull out of a room into an unused space — above the ceiling, for example.
That works in many cases, but owners of smaller buildings may need to remove the heat from the building entirely. Water-cooled ACs accomplish that goal by running water from a faucet through the condenser to transfer the heat, then sending the hot water down the drain.
For one bank customer, United Rentals deployed two 5-ton water-cooled ACs. The bank’s air conditioning had broken down in early summer, and the part needed to repair it would not be available for three months.
The water-cooled ACs were easy to set up. United Rentals ran the water for one unit from the janitor’s sink. The other unit was hooked up to a sink in the break room. The solution did require electricians to add 220-volt, 30-amp service to the bank, but that took only about an hour. The additional water usage cost the bank a minimal amount, about $100 a month.
Despite these added costs, the water-cooled AC was much less expensive than a temporary generator-powered AC unit would have been.
No matter whom you need to keep comfortable — office workers, warehouse employees, restaurant patrons or guests at a special event — there’s a cooling solution that won’t break the budget.