3 Stars By Person on 2016-03-14
The Sound and the Flurry
The good. It puts out a lot of cold air (or a fair amount of "warm" air in heat mode) and runs efficiently: 9 amps or 980W, making it almost as cost-(in)efficient to run per cft of space as my 13 SEER central HVAC. I'm not dissatisfied with how it performs its core mission in life, and I'm enjoying using it.
Here are some random facts that I couldn't find documented in reviews of other models:
1) The intake and exhaust hoses are inactive when the compressor turns off. In fan and dehumidify modes, it only recycles air within the room, like any fan.
2) The water pump, which is a big distinguishing feature between this unit and the older ARC-12, is only active in heat mode. It's for continuously draining the tank into a bucket, since heat mode doesn't have any evaporative capabilities and it'll put out a lot of water. Some buyers seem to think the water pump has a different function. I wouldn't want a heat pump without this feature, though, and it's a reason for my choosing this unit. On the other hand, there's already an upper drain plug that would allow overflow continuously out of the tank if it is full to the top, which presumably works in both heat and cool modes.
3) If you read reviews of other Whynter units here, several shoppers talk about loose hoses. This has to be user error, because the hoses snap onto the unit and onto the window kit very securely.
1) When the compressor kicks in, it's about as loud as a comparable window unit. Somewhat louder and more powerful than a 6,500btu window unit it replaces. So, not surprising. Just go into it with realistic expectations. It ain't "quiet." The fan itself is fine, although it emits a high-frequency overtone on medium and high.
2) The build quality could be much better for the price, IMO, considering that it costs the same as my gas oven or a washing machine. The housing is thin plastic and will tend to vibrate. The casters are plastic, whereas they should be (a) slightly larger to accommodate carpet and (b) rubber, both not to mar wood floors and to absorb some of the vibration transmitted to the floor. In my peer-and-beam house, this thing shakes the floor. The old Sharp unit that was supposed to be so quiet appears to have weighed over a hundred pounds and be much larger, which would have accommodated more sound-dampening material. I think some foam inside this housing would have been feasible, though. Washing machine rubber anti-vibration discs (both the Vibrafix and cheaper ones) did nothing appreciable to lessen the vibration, but I got used to it.
3) The control panel is cheap, although I'm glad it at least has discrete tactile buttons. One of my buttons tends to mash in and I have to punch it a bit to get it to come back up. Brand new. This will be an issue, I suspect, on a lot of units as they age. Not sure any other brand would be better, of course. Use the remote.
4) There are several limitations of the dual hoseness that greatly reduce the value of this feature. First, the manual says to disconnect the (gigantic) intake hose if the temperature is "much greater" outside than inside. Ruuuh? I'm assuming this means extreme. I haven't had any problems yet at 100F outside and 78F inside. Second, the self-evaporative function takes water out of the air up to 70% humidity, and accumulates 2% of moisture in the tank when the humidity is greater than 70% (I think other brands would be the same). So, disconnect the intake hose if you're in Louisiana or Florida, I'd guess. Third, the manual actually says to disconnect the intake hose in heat mode "if the outside temperature is lower than the inside temperature." Always, I reckon:) Note that they say to block the intake hose under such conditions, but they provide no means for doing so. The covers only block the window kit ports. Still, I'm glad to have the dual hose option. It actually should account for a lot of my intended usage in dry Texas summers during those times when I'm trying to either supplement or avoid my central AC. If you weren't aware, the dual hose design reduces the amount of air that's pulled in from other warm rooms of the house, so that dual hose units can cool a room faster without heating up adjacent rooms (which have to pull their air in more through cracks from the outside). Again, though, it's a somewhat limited-use feature.
5) The exhaust hose does become a radiant heat source. It works against the cooling power, once the compressor runs awhile. Very much like having a heater right behind your air conditioner. Insulating it with duct wrap is a very common recommendation. However, the only objective measurement I've read on here puts the surface temp of the hose at 118F, which seems about right. Consider that the human body is a 98.6F radiant heat source (roughly 90-98F skin temp), and nobody complains about the room temp going significantly up because another person walks in. Just sayin'. If you think it's an issue, consider wrapping yourself and your partner in Reflectix duct wrap as potentially more effective than wrapping the hose. I think it might be ok just to let the heat get sucked back into the evaporator coil through the back of the machine. Experiment, though. The hose does get warm.
6) Heat mode is effective, but the unit is much louder than any other option for a space heater. One learns to adjust to the rumble of window unit air conditioners, but it's just ridiculously loud for a heater. Also, the fan cuts off with the condenser in heat mode, so that the whole thing bangs on and off. This would be a real problem when trying to sleep. No way around it, if it's going to be a heat pump rather than a separate forced-air heater unit.
1) The window kit will need to be cut with a saw, unless your windows are really close to the perfect size--roughly, a range of 26"-28," or exactly 10" wider than that (it comes with a short and long plank for the window kit). Cutting it and then stuffing in 1 1/2" cheap air conditioner foam weather stripping (intended for installing window units) is what you'll be doing.
2) Another shortcoming of the window kit is that the exhaust and intake holes are an inch apart. Hot exhaust is recycled directly into the intake hose. Some folks have improvised a "wing" to sit between them. However, once it got hot out, I realized that the exhaust wasn't really any hotter than the ambient air. And, of course, nobody worries about the same phenomenon on window units.
3) There is no air filter on the intake hose--only on the back of the unit, which intakes air at all times in addition to the intake hose. I've jury rigged some vacuum cleaner intake filters, but it whistled. I therefore broke down and bought the overpriced ARC-IHF, which doesn't list compatibility for this model but fits fine. This is a pre-filter that fits over the nubs on the window kit. Then, the intake hose fits onto nubs on the filter. Window units don't have filters on the air THEY draw in from the outside, but given the amount of dust in my outside air, I don't want to run the unit without the filter. I also find it disingenuous of Whynter to not provide it, given that the manual states "never run the unit without the filters." I may add some other/beefier filters eventually, and cut-to-fit activated carbon filters purchased on "the Bay" will be my route in a couple of months when the non-washable activated carbon filter in the unit (for odors) needs replacing.
4) I don't know why more manufacturers can't let the fans on these units turn off after X amount of time, the way auto mode on window units works. As other reviewers have noted, the fan runs continuously. Even manufacturers that advertise "auto" mode really don't mean turning off the fan, usually. Presumably, though, this is a "feature not a bug," since it does turn off in heat mode.
More disappointing, though, is the lack of short-cycle prevention. The thermostat should be able to make sure the unit runs for at least a few minutes before shutting off the condenser. It can currently run for just a few seconds before switching back off, if the room temp is only marginally off the set temperature. This is generally extremely inefficient, because a lot of power is used turning the condenser on--I assume this unit is no different in this regard than my HVAC or window units.
5) Also, the timer is a limited function: you can delay start and set it to turn off X hours later, but it is not a programmable thermostat (in case you thought it was). Again, that seems to be the case for all the units I looked at.
6) Finally, the manual is extremely poorly written. Many grammatical errors and the like that, in one or two places, make the instructions incoherent. Should I trust a manufacturer to make an air conditioner when they can't take the time to make sure the English language aworks in their product?
Given how awfully sources like Consumer Reports judge all portable ACs to be as a category, I actually think that manufacturers have overcome a lot of the limitations. I'm glad I replaced the old window unit. I cut the window kit so that it would fit both a 32" and 29" window, so I can move it fairly easily from my home office to the kitchen, etc., not to mention rolling it into the closet during the few weeks each year when Texas isn't either scorching hot or randomly arse-cold. but the design limitations noted above justify a 3-star rating. These manufacturers just don't seem to have the market insentive to "innovate" (although, that's not even quite the right word, since there's nothing cutting edge about the features that are lacking on portable units). This is the only portable unit I have owned. My assumption is that other manufacturers are no better, but that is based solely on my reading other reviews and product manuals. It also seems to be one of those product categories where it's hard to tell the actual manufacturer from identical rebranded units. Whynter seems to be a unique product line, whereas I couldn't tell what was going on among Honeywell/Haier/SBT. I also think it likely that a lot of the individual interior components are common across brands.
5 Stars By Comdi on 2016-09-19
Exactly what was expected and desired
I have not yet run the heater.
Relative to A/C, it works exactly as described and promised. Even in 90 degree weather and 85% humidity, it does not produce any water to empty. The electronic controls are all intuitive. The noise level is low, even as the compressor turns on. The fan noise is very reasonable, less than many window A/C units.
5 Stars By Owen Arliawan on 2018-01-13
Truly elite portable air conditioner and extremely quiet!
Just got my unit. The cooling works awesome and cools my room really fast as it should being a dual hose unit that doesn't suck in room air for cooling the condenser, and I also tried the heat mode just to see if it works and that works great too blowing space heater-like hot air out the vent while the exhaust hose was ice cold. The noise levels were also far lower than I even expect it so although there's always a whooshing noise as long as the fans are on, the compressor itself is extremely smooth and quiet even when starting up and cutting off. I think that I can sleep through the noise quite easily so this unit is perfect for bedroom use unlike other noisier portable air conditioning units. Only complaint is that I wish the louver on the vent has an auto swing function to keep distributing the air instead of just a manual hand-opened vent. Otherwise, highly recommended product.
It's been almost a month since my first unit arrived now, and yes I got 2 units eventually since I'm so impressed by it. The compressor is definitely much quieter than other portable units and so much so that I can sleep comfortably without it waking me up at night, its definitely quieter than the condensing and evaporator fan which is extremely surprising. Also the units I have managed to heat my room to comfortable levels even when the outside is about 38F so far and my room is an extension so it has terrible insulation. When its hot out it has also kept my room cold with no problems. Appreciate the drain pump too as because of that it will auto drain the condensate when continuously run in heat mode so that I do not have to empty it myself, definitely want that feature on a heat pump. I'm extremely impressed by this PAC that I would go to say it's the be all end all of PAC units, I'm even more surprised that (currently) it's priced for only $349! If you're looking for a PAC that can cool and heat then this is it!.
5 Stars By Byron Nevins on 2018-03-22
Powerful Quiet Small
I used my neighbor's portable AC unit in my hot apartment for a month as a try-out. After the month I decided to buy one. This unit is fantastic. It is exceeding my hopes. It is smaller than my neighbors yet has more BTUs. It comes with a heater. It is much much MUCH quieter than the other unit. It is almost like white noise. And a fantastic price right now. It is cheaper than the identical unit that has no heating.
4 Stars By MI User on 2018-04-17
Both heats and cools. awesome, quiet. win.
I never saw a portable heat pump before. That means it both heats and cools. Here in Michigan, that comes in handy more than I would have thought. there's a few months of the year that it's cold at night and hot during the day, and both functions are working great so far. Also, it's the quietest portable AC that I have ever heard, and orders of magnitude quieter than the unit it replaced. the price spiked $200 higher right after I bought mine, so fingers crossed that it lasts a few years. Also, there's a drain pump, mostly for heat pump mode I would suspect so I havent actually had to empty the water reservoir yet, so I cant comment on that.
1 Stars By Arunjeet Singh on 2018-05-06
Brand new unit does not turn on
Received the unit last week and just set it up and plugged it in and, nothing. I see nothing on the display, pressing the power button on the unit or the remote does absolutely nothing. Checked the troubleshooting guide and it asked me to press the "Reset" button on the LCDI power plug. That gets me a beep but still absolutely nothing else. Clearly, I was shipped a unit that was never plugged in and tested. I can't hear any broken parts inside so am very skeptical something broke in transit. Will be returning this unit. Very disappointed with my first experience with a Whynter appliance.
5 Stars By Daniel on 2018-04-02
So far, so good.
Have only owned it for a week and loving it thus far.Fairly easy set-up. I would recommend the purchase of some High Density Foam Tape. Readily available here on BTA-MALL. Nearly all installs would benefit from this.
1 Stars By David McGrath on 2018-05-05
leaked from a crack in the bottom (see picture) I've ...
leaked from a crack in the bottom (see picture)
I've emailed Whynter support, so we'll see how that goes. I'll update my review after that.
5 Stars By RBQ on 2018-05-04
Great portable AC unit
Works great. Plenty quiet for a bedroom. And with the dual hose it does not cause negative air flow into small rooms.
3 Stars By Chuck B. on 2018-06-03
It took roughly 48 hours before the room was cool. Haven't tried the heater yet but I bet ...
My upstairs is roughly 400 square feet of open bedroom and is VERY well insulated. It took roughly 48 hours before the room was cool. Haven't tried the heater yet but I bet it takes just as long or longer to heat the space up. I thought this unit would perform better then it has.