I recently moved my office into a remodeled space in part of our barn. I needed some extra room, and I didn’t really want to spend a lot of extra overhead to rent office space in town for my fledgling printing business. However, I have several printers and large tables that I need to store in addition to all of my printing materials, so the barn seemed like a great idea for us. The only issue is that fact that the barn is, well, a barn! It doesn’t have the kind of heating and cooling system I need for my heating and cooling equipment (or for myself!) and so I started looking at options at Lowe’s Home Improvement. It’s my favorite store for anything having to do with home improvement. I knew that had a good selection of portable air conditioners combined with heaters, which was what I was looking for to heat the 650 square foot area in the barn.
The first portable air conditioner I looked at was the Honeywell 550-sq ft 115-Volt Portable Air Conditioner with Heater. This unit combines cooling, heating and dehumidifying for spaces up to 700 square feet in size. I like the whole idea of having a combined A/C and heater, and this one also featured an auto-evaporation system. That wasn’t something that I’d really thought about, but having it out in the barn was definitely a good idea, especially with all of the printing equipment I’d be storing out there. This unit has a three speed fan function, a full function remote for easy accessibility from anywhere in the room, and a separate dehumidifying function. I like the fact that the Honeywell 550-sq ft 115-Volt Portable Air Conditioner with Heater doesn’t require permanent installation, plus it’s on wheels so I can move it all around if I need to. As far as installation goes, this one came with everything needed to get started, including a flexible exhaust hose and a handy window venting kit.
The Honeywell 550-sq ft 115-Volt Portable Air Conditioner with Heater has a sleep mode for saving energy during the night or at other times you don’t need it, and it has a digital LED display and a washable air filter. The heating function was the only hang up on the unit for me. While this unit would cool up to 550 square feet of space, the 11,000 BTU heating function only warms areas up to 400 square feet. I did look at several reviews for this air conditioning and heating combo and while most people said that it performed as expected, several reviews mentioned the fact that the water reservoir fills up really quickly and it’s a pain to have to empty it all the time. However, the Honeywell unit is made in the USA which is important to me.
On the day that I looked at these at Lowe’s, this unit was priced at $599.99, but they were also offering a $25 rebate. I hate rebates, though. I wish they would just knock the $25 off the price to begin with.
Even though I liked the Honeywell unit, I decided to check out another unit just for comparison purposes. The next one I looked at was the Frigidaire Gallery 550-sq ft 115-Volt Portable Air Conditioner. This one looked totally different from the first one. It was more of a cylindrical shape and to be honest, it reminded me a little bit of a diaper genie. However, it did have some functions that the first one did not. With this unit, you can set the temperature from anywhere at anytime using your smartphone. You can just download the app to your phone and then you can turn it off and on, change the temperature, or set the fan modes from wherever you are. This particular unit also offers something called effortless scheduling. This means that the unit will develop a customized schedule for your air conditioning needs. Sometimes I just think technology is amazing.
This unit will cool a space up to 550 square feet, which was a little bit smaller than what I needed. As I was obsessing over the whole idea of controlling the unit with my smartphone, I almost missed the fact that this unit is not a combination air conditioner and heater. Thank goodness I realized this before I purchased it in my frantic zeal to program it from an app on my smartphone. Unfortunately, this unit could not work for me because I definitely needed to have something that would both heat and cool my space in the barn. I guess if you only need air conditioning without an option for heating, this would be a great find. The Frigidaire Gallery 550-sq ft 115-Volt Portable Air Conditioner was priced at $649.00 at Lowe’s, plus they were offering an additional $25 rebate at the time I was looking at the store.
After a few more passes down the heating and cooling aisle, I realized that a heating and air conditioning combo, especially a portable unit like the one I was looking for, is a pretty rare find in a local home improvement store. I finally decided to go with my initial thoughts and I ended up purchasing the Honeywell 550-sq ft 115-Volt Portable Air Conditioner. I could have gone to look elsewhere, but the fact that this unit is made right here in the USA was the deciding factor for me. I know that the heating part might be a little bit of an issue, since it’s not designed for heating quite the amount of square footage that I have, but I can deal with working in a chilly area. I would rather be too cold than too hot, and so would my equipment.
The unit was easy to assemble and set up, but as with any HVAC equipment, I still wanted to have my local HVAC technician come to the barn to check it out for me. I like to have a professional double check anything that has to do with my HVAC systems or with electricity.