Down here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, it's not unusual for the temperature to rise above 100 degrees during the summer. In fact, it's 101 outside right now as I write this review on the first of August. The air conditioner in my house struggles with this kind of heat, and during the afternoon it gets up to 80+ degrees inside my home even with the air blowing full blast. I've talked to many friends about this and they are all having the same problem right now in this heat.
Recommend this product?
In order to help offset our central air conditioning system during the peak hot days, my wife and I decided to buy this Kul 8500 BTU Portable Air Conditioner from Lowes for $299. We had considered getting a window unit, but preferred the idea of having a portable A/C that we could move between rooms. During the day, especially on weekends, we set it up to blow in the living room. In the evening, we hook it up in our bedroom to cool things down for the night. Even at night, the temps are still in the 80's down here.
This portable A/C unit is about the size of an office garbage can, although it weighs a good 50 pounds. It has wheels on the bottom and handles on the side, but it's not too hard to push across carpet. It has an air conditioning mode, a dehumidifier mode, and regular fan mode. You can also program it so that it cuts off when it reaches that temperature. The cold air blows out of a large opening on top.
I found this portable air conditioner to be extremely noisy while running. It does cool pretty well for a 12x15 room, but it makes a lot of racket. Some of the user reviews on Lowes.com complained about the noise level and rightly so. I don't know if I could sleep in the same room with this thing running. With it in the living room with us, I have to turn my home theater surround sound up ten levels above usual to make up for the sound. When we set it up in the bedroom, we turn it off before going to sleep.
Installation of this portable A/C is kind of a pain due to the poor design of the ventilation system. You have to connect a large duct hose from the unit to a window in order to exhaust the hot air. The problem is the junky way in which the hose connects to the piece that snaps into the back of the unit. You have to screw it on using the bendable hose, but nowhere in the instructions does it tell you to do this. I had to figure it out on my own because it would not stay in place. If it is not in place properly, hot air will leak out and then this A/C will be heating and cooling at the same time, and that's no good.
On the other end of the hose is where it connects to your window. They give you this wide plastic slider thing that fits at the bottom of the window, but the way in which it connects only works if you have no window sills. Mine only stick out less than two inches from the wall, but it is enough to block this thing from fitting. I had to cut a piece of scrap wood to stick at the bottom of my window to raise up the vent piece enough to fit the duct hose. The foam sealer they give you is not enough to make a decent seal, so you're going to have heat coming in from the window. The fact that heat seeps in from an improperly sealed window that is right next to your A/C unit means it's never going to be operating as efficiently as it ought to be.
Overall, I am not very happy with my Kul 8500 BTU Portable Air Conditioner. It does a decent job of cooling a smaller room, but it makes way too much noise while doing it and the installation required modification to fit what I think are pretty standard size windows. For what this thing cost, I could have bought two window units and probably had much more efficient cooling.
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Amount Paid (US$): 299