The Whynter ARC-131GD is a 13,000 BTU, dual hose portable air conditioner that boasts great efficiency scores and seems to have all the things we look for in a top of the line unit. But what exactly does it offer, and how does this compare to the myriad of other choices on the market?
Please keep reading as we dive into the details and explain what the ARC-131GD delivers so you can decide whether its worth your money.
Key Features & Specifications
⇒Cooling Power & Coverage Area
With a total of 13000 BTUs of cooling power, the ARC-131GD is capable of handling rooms up to about 425 square feet in size. As usual, this is simply an estimate, and does not take into consideration rooms that are very hot/difficult to cool due to things like poor insulation, high ceilings, sunny windows, etc.
Consistent with its eco-friendly status, the compressor utilizes a modern R-410A refrigerant, which is better for the atmosphere and is more effective than older compressor gases.
⇒Exhaust/Vent Hose Design
This is a very important feature to understand. The Whynter ARC-131GD uses a dual hose vent/exhaust system, which is different from most common portable air conditioners on the market. Between two otherwise similar portable air conditioners, a dual hose systems is generally much more efficient than the alternative – the single hose system. Let me explain.
A single hose portable AC unit (like all units) needs to cool off the compressor machinery, and therefore must draw in air to do so. However, because it has only one vent, it is forced to pull indoor (cooled air) for this purpose, and then eject the heated air outdoors. This is a effectively a one-way air flow from the interior space to the outdoors. This brings with it two problems: first, by using indoor air you essentially waste the cooled air, which must be replaced by the unit (making it work harder); and second, by pulling air only out of the space, you end up creating a weak vacuum effect within the room, and as air from the outdoors comes in around cracks/gaps to equalize it, you end up drawing more hot air into the space – which also creates additional work for the unit.
A dual hose model, on the other hand, has one vent for pulling in outdoor air solely for the purpose of cooling off the machine. And this air does not get into the room either; rather, it is passed over the compressor and then ejected outside. In other words, the two hoses form a dedicated compressor cooling loop, which leaves your room air undisturbed. This has two benefits. By not removing cooled indoor air, the unit need not replace it; and because no air is actually being removed from the room, no negative air pressure (i.e., vacuum) is being created – so no warm air is being encouraged to enter the room.
The end result of a dual hose system is therefore typically faster cooling and greater efficiency. You might then ask why are there so many single-hose systems? The answer is simply cost. Single hose units are cheaper to make and therefore tend to be considerably less expensive to buy. That’s it!
Like most modern portable air conditioners, this one features an auto-evaporating system that removes condenser water by drying it up in the exhaust air stream. This ordinarily obviates the need for any manual removal, and most users can simply run the unit without even checking for water. However, for people living in very humid environments, water may still accumulate.
⇒Energy Efficiency Ratio
Next to the exhaust hose configuration, a model’s energy efficiency rating – typically expressed in terms of its “Energy Efficiency Ratio,” or “EER,” is the next most important metric for gauging all-around efficiency and effectiveness.
EERs are obtained by dividing total BTUs by total wattage, which gives you BTUs of power per watt consumed. Higher numbers are better and anything around or higher than 10.0 is considered good. To give you some perspective, most units fall somewhere around a 9.0 on average based on our experience.
In this case, dividing the ARC-131GD’s total BTUs (13000) by its total wattage (1180W) gives us an *EER of 11.0* – which is a fantastic score, and one we rarely see. This, plus the dual hose configuration, means that the ARC-131GD is highly efficient, and should give you significantly better cooling performance for your dollar relative to most other units in its class.
⇒Other Important Features
Besides the above-mentioned characteristics, the Whynter ARC-131GD comes a variety of other convenient design features:
- 91 pints / day dehumidifier function;
- full function remote control;
- 4 fan speeds;
- 24-hour programmable timer;
- adjustable digital thermostat (61 degrees F to 89 degrees F);
- LED display/control panel;
- easy-install window kit (for vents);
- washable air filter a carbon media (for odor absorption);
- leakage Current Detection and Interruption (“LCDI”) plug;
- multi-directional rolling casters for mobility.
User Reviews & Satisfaction Ratings
As far as portable air conditioners go, the ARC-131GD has been getting great reviews. For your convenience, we’ve imported the actual reviews for this product below, courtesy of amazon.com:
Price and Value
As we said earlier, dual hose portable air conditioners are more efficient and can cool a space faster, but typically come with a higher price tag. Nevertheless, the ARC-131GD is currently selling for around $490 shipped – this is a very good price on a 13000 BTU dual hose unit, especially one that boasts an EER of 11.0. Consequently, to the extent there is a very slight premium paid here, we think it is dwarfed by the energy savings you should reap with this model.
Concluding Thoughts & Opinions
For us, there is no substitute for the faster, more efficient cooling delivered by a dual hose unit. However, in addition to using this superior vent configuration, the Whynter ARC-131GD also puts up a truly fantastic EER of 11.0, which means that this unit is, in effect, ultra-efficient compared to the typical models in its BTU class.
Further, while we’d expect to see such a model selling for a hefty price given its more sophisticated design and greater efficiency, it is available (currently) at a price that is comparable with many single-hose units that cannot deliver near the same efficiency and rapid cooling performance. To put it plainly, we’d say that all of this makes the ARC-131GD a veritable screaming good deal!