Get comfortable with portable climate control

Every facility has its quirks. The far corner of the factory that never receives adequate light or air circulation. The meeting room or office with beautiful glass windows that heats up like a greenhouse every sunny afternoon. The lobby or vestibule that is freezing one minute and steaming the next. Even the most state-of-the-art HVAC system cannot be all things to all people at all times. Unique challenges require versatile solutions.

No one knows your facility operates – and feels – quite like you and your team. While HVAC systems inevitably need servicing and upgrading, many climate control issues can be addressed without a large capital investment. In many cases, portable climate control solutions can be an effective supplement to your existing HVAC system, enabling you to create a more comfortable, productive, and efficient working environment throughout your facility.

Portable air conditioners, dehumidifiers, evaporation coolers, and several other portable climate control options give you the flexibility to meet your facility’s specific needs at a reasonable price. Regardless of the season, a few well-selected and smartly applied portable climate control devices can be the difference between misery and relief for the people in your workplace. Solve your climate control problems in a way that promotes a happy workforce and customer base all while keeping a healthy bottom line.


5 Key Benefits of Portable Climate Control


1: It’s a low-cost solution

Small investments can lead to big results. Sometimes a minor adjustment like placing a portable air conditioner in a corner cubicle or a dehumidifier on the factory floor can solve major morale problems before they start. What’s more -  these smaller devices don’t take a lot of running costs and are typically easy to maintain. The cost is low, and the benefit is high.

2: Get extra climate help EXACTLY when and where it’s needed.

You already know the trouble spots in your facility or office. Portable climate control can be the individualized solution to match the specific problem faced in your unique workplace. Most portable climate control options available are plug-and-play right out of the box. Since they are relatively small, they’re easy to roll around and take from one area to another. You can cherry pick exactly which areas need attention and treat them to localized temperature control.


3: Reduce use of the HVAC system.

When you ramp up the HVAC just to keep everyone in your building happy, you can put additional strain and wear and tear on your system. That leads to repair costs, extra maintenance fees, and a shorter lifespan. By adding small, portable units to the areas that need help, you don’t have to kick the HVAC into overdrive. It’s a smart and cost-effective way to keep control of the temperatures without wearing down your main HVAC system.

4: You really are ready for anything, whatever the season.

No more worries about those record-setting high-temperature days. Even if you’re not using your air conditioners or dehumidifiers most of the time, on those days that employees and guests are going to struggle with the heat and humidity, you know you have the additional firepower to deal with it. From hotel lobbies and waiting rooms to loading docks and warehouses, you can easily roll out your portable equipment and ensure everyone is happy.


5: Don’t forget about outdoor solutions

Ahh, the great outdoors. Not always cooperative as we would like. Portable climate control can be just the thing for outdoor events, whether you are hosting a company barbecue, wedding reception, trade show, or any other occasion that requires guests and/or employees to be kept comfortable. For those outdoor climate challenges, portable options such as misters and fans can be valuable.



Let’s dive into the most popular solutions for heat and humidity control.



Portable Air Conditioners

Leaving aside window A/C units (which are unwieldy and often not an option) you have several routes available for air conditioning.


Single-hose air cooled units are usually lighter and more easily portable with quieter operation and lower price-tags. They’re designed for smaller spaces such as conference rooms and home offices and work by sucking the hot air out of a space and running it over refrigerated coils while expelling hot air and moisture outside through a hose. They are not as efficient as their dual-hose counterparts, but the size and cost offset could be the right match for a smaller job.

With dual-hose, your portable unit is using one hose exclusively to draw in from the outside, using the same method to cool it and blow it into the room. This intake method cools the compressor, meaning it can work longer and harder. Meanwhile, the other hose is used only for expelling the hot air. Dual-hose units are great for much larger spaces. They are more efficient and cool faster, but are generally bigger, heavier, and more expensive.


The type of cooling your air conditioner needs should also be a consideration. Water-cooled air conditioners, for example, require access to a circulating water system, such as a cooling tower or chilled water supply. This makes them ideal for industrial plants, server rooms, and hospitals.


And speaking of size, how big do you need to go? Again - budget will be a factor here, but also the size of the space you need to cool and the number of BTUs (British Thermal Units) you need. For offices, personal workshops, stores, server rooms, - say 400 sq. ft. - a small unit of around 13,700 BTUs would suffice. For a hospital, server room, or office of 1,400 sq ft, around 42,000 BTUs would be ideal. And then you come to the sizable commercial facilities - let’s say over 9,500 sq. ft.  Here you’re looking at a much larger unit with 270,000 BTUs.


Whatever you decide upon, it may also be worth investing in a unit that offers heating as well as cooling. This makes the unit useful all year round.

Portable Evaporative Coolers

Sometimes referred to as swamp coolers, this kind of cooling unit takes advantage of the fact that evaporating a liquid requires energy. A considerable amount. And so when that energy comes from the air, the air cools down. In effect, it mimics what your body does when it sweats.


These coolers obviously require a water source to operate, and so tank size will be something to consider when choosing a model. A smaller unit with around a 5-gallon tank, while ideal for small spaces and short running times, is not going to be practical in many commercial environments. For those situations, you’re looking at multiplying that tank size by a factor of ten, like these 32.8, 46, and 64-gallon models.


A newer addition to the evaporation cooler family is one that uses atomized cooling. It’s essentially using the same physics but instead it instantly evaporates micro droplets to lower the temperatures more quickly and efficiently. 


Portable Dehumidifiers

Once again, you have options here depending on your needs.


Refrigeration dehumidifiers are the most common types used in both residential and commercial environments, drawing moist air over a refrigerated evaporator with a fan. These work best in higher heat and humidity and are ideally suited to making humid conditions much more bearable for employees and guests.


If you’re looking at industrial applications that prevent corrosion, mold growth, and condensation, a desiccant dehumidifier is an excellent choice for the summer months. Using hydrophilic materials (think that little packet of silica gel in a shoebox), the machine draws water out of the air and absorbs it. 


Other Portable Cooling Options

Looking for other ways to cool down your facility and your crew, both inside and out? Here are a few other ways you can help everyone stay chilled.



One of the most popular options with models to suit any budget, fans can be a great supplement to other cooling appliances you have. They can circulate the cool air and get it to reach people all around the office, building site, or warehouse. You can go big with a 72” or 96” monster fan - a great choice for events and large spaces - or go as small as an oscillating pedestal fan.



A fan with the additional cooling power of water mist or vapor, misters are lightweight, self-contained, and are easy to move from site to site. These can be very useful at sporting events, construction sites, landscaping jobs, and other areas when an air conditioner just isn’t practical or effective.



It may seem counterintuitive to use a humidifier in the hotter months. After all, isn’t a hot and humid climate something you want to avoid? Well, not necessarily. In particularly dry and arid climates, the lack of moisture in the air can make conditions uncomfortable for some people. Ideally, you want 30%-50% humidity in a home or office environment, so if you’re facing excessively dry conditions a humidifier can help make life much more agreeable for people.


With smart application of portable climate control, you will be prepared for whatever the season has to throw at you. And if you need any helping deciding, our Global Industrial experts are on hand to guide you in the right direction.

The information contained in this article is for informational, educational, and promotional purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. It is the reader’s responsibility to ensure compliance with all applicable laws, rules, codes and regulations. If there is any question or doubt in regard to any element contained in this article, please consult a licensed professional.  Under no circumstances will Global Industrial® be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on this article.


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