Blog22 July 2013

Portable air conditioning: hire vs. buy

While we were all moaning about the unpredictable British weather during the double-dip winter this year, it’s no surprise that when that unpredictability leads to temperatures at the other end of the spectrum, we’re rather more happy about it. And you can almost hear the sound of the John Lewis cash register from here – reportedly seeing a staggering 453 per cent rise in sales of air-conditioning units last week.

The extreme heat can of course be dangerous for some of the more vulnerable in our society – particularly those in hospitals, care homes or other buildings where residents are less mobile.

Clearly, installing a new fixed air conditioning system may be the end game for many organisations and institutions who are currently feeling the heat, but the reality of this happening any time before the heatwave ends, are low to nonexistent. Not only is there capital outlay to consider – something many will be keen to avoid in these austere times – but the severe disruption to the premises needs to be taken into account too.

Even those in office, commercial or industrial premises will be feeling the effects of the heat: if suitable climate control solutions are not in place, staff will be more lethargic and less productive and efficient – something management will be keen to avoid.

All employers are required by law to ensure that portable electrical equipment is well maintained in order to prevent danger, therefore allowing staff to bring in air conditioning or fan units from home, poses a potential risk. So should an organisation purchase new units…?

In recent days, many publications and websites have written their own reviews of domestic air conditioning kit but it is vital that any air conditioning equipment supplied for commercial or industrial use is fit for purpose. This means it has been specified to meet the exact requirement of the setting in terms of output, energy efficiency, health & safety, power supply, noise levels, dimensions and room size. In fact, several smaller units may be more efficient than one larger unit, depending upon the layout and use of rooms. And if cooling is required for a particularly large space, a chiller with an Air Handling Unit (AHU) or Fan Coil may be more suited to the job than an air conditioner alone.

Renting air conditioning doesn’t mean compromising on results, as a correctly specified solution will be equally effective as an inbuilt fixed system – something that can’t be said of buying off-the-shelf, domestic units. Hiring temporary units also means that the equipment will be delivered on site quickly – all recently serviced – and with no flat-pack, build-it-yourself issues. When the heat wave dissipates, the units can be returned with no long term storage solution required.

Hiring air conditioning units, such as the polar wind portable air conditioner, is a cost effective solution for many organisations looking to maintain business as usual in these rather Mediterranean conditions.