Royal Sovereign ARP-900E 9000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner

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SO WHAT IS IT - A COOLER OR A HEATER???

Jul 18, 2008
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: OK

  • Ease of Use:
  • Durability:
  • Ease of Cleaning:
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Pros:the unit is easy to move and install

Cons:Cools on one side and heats on the other

The Bottom Line: If an air conditioner does not lower the temperature in the room - why buy it?


We found ourselves in a sealed box, without air conditioning this month, due to facade renovations in our building. Oh horror!!! No, really: we are under the roof on the 12th floor, all the windows are now covered in plastic, they took out a large unit in the living room and covered the rest of them with thick material for insulation. How can a human being survive in such conditions????

Well, our coop board, in its infinite wisdom (and it is really wise for having started this kind of work in summer) has recommended buying portable units – and who cares that you will have to throw them out after the renovations are done. Ok –off we go in search of a portable unit.

Here, I have to confess that I did not buy Royal Sovereign and that I would have never picked it in the first place. Having heard my tale of woe, a kind soul at work lent it to me – God bless his fuzzy cotton socks. So here we are, with this mobile contraption (9,000 BTU) in place. And – I would never say this to my kind colleague - we aren’t happy at all. (Please don’t tell him either!!)

One should not look a gift horse in the mouth, but having worked all night, the unit lowered the temperature in the room by 2 (TWO!!) degrees by morning. On the positive side, it does show you the room temperature and the temperature you have set – probably to tease you a little. Oh, by the way: we had set the desired temperature at 73. The room temperature at dawn was 83. And we did not sleep after dawn – we were too busy sweating.

But let’s start from the beginning: installation. Well, this model is not difficult to install. What you have to do is open the window by about 5 inches and put the plastic board with a hole in place. The board is supposed to be adjustable, with a sliding backing. Then you connect the unit to the outlet with a plastic hose – et voila! You are in business.

However, in our case, things were a bit more complicated, because the width of the contraption was all wrong for our window (were we choosing the unit ourselves, we would have picked the right size, of course), and my husband (overheated and mad at the whole world) had to fashion an alternative board out of some junk in the closet. But no, I don’t think this is the reason for the unit’s poor performance – my husband did a good job of sealing the thing and insulating it. Oh, and we did cut a hole in the plastic covering the windows to let the exhaust air out – the whole setup is not pretty, but sturdy.

What looks like a serious drawback to me is that while letting cold air in the front, this A/C gets really hot in the back. The air it lets out is suitable for a heating unit, and it does heat up the hose that connects the air conditioner to the window. The hose, in turn, heats up the room – what a paradox! So today we are going to wrap the hose in a blanket in the hope of improving the situation (keep my fingers crossed). Come to think of it, this is ridiculous: the makers of Royal Sovereign should have thought of something to address the problem.

Oh, and here is the explanation I just found on the Royal Sovereign site frequently asked questions: why isn’t the room being cooled? (I wonder why this question is frequently asked): “check for hot air leakage into the room; check that the exhaust hose has been properly installed (NOTE: If the exhaust hose has been extended, an additional exhaust fan may be needed at the exhaust end of the hose.); check that the size of the room being cooled is within specified parameters delineated on the specification page of the manual; there may be too many bodies in the room; there may be excessive sunlight flooding the room.

Well, none of the above – but shouldn’t the hose be designed so it could be actually extended? – just a common-sense reaction.

And here is an answer to another frequently asked question: why doesn’t air feel as cool as with a window unit? “The temperature output of the window unit and the portable unit is the same. However, the velocity of the air blowing out of the portable unit’s vent is lower to reduce the amount of noise produced by the unit.” Mmmmm – ok, I guess.

Other than poor cooling, I have few complaints, in fact. The unit is really portable (unless you tape it in place, like we did); it has all sort of colored buttons, bells and whistles; it has a remote; it is moderately noisy; and has a timer. It is also supposed to evaporate the moisture it extracts from the air, so you don’t have to empty the water reservoir all the time. According to the instruction booklet, however, it can accumulate 2 to 5 liters (5.3 quarts) of water and typically pulls about 12 liters (12.7 quarts) of water in a 24 hour period.


Recommend this product? No


Amount Paid (US$): 350


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