Portable Air Conditioner suggestions for a server room

I’ve tried a number of Portable A/Cs over the years (Keystone & BLACK+DECKER, 12,000 BTU) & they all seem to cool the room down for about a year, then they stop cooling & I need to replace it. None of them seem to have the option to add refrigerant. Do any of you have suggestions fro a better model/option that will last longer than a year?

I suggest buying an appropriate permanent AC unit for your sever room. You can easily justify the cost because it houses all your data and compute. Is there a reason you want a portable AC unit?

Thanks for the info. I guess the reasoning is because the building owner doesn’t want to put a hole in the wall…

I mean… If you can’t get your server room the adequate cooling it needs with the proper equipment then I’d say you need to find a new location. Portable AC units aren’t going to cut it as you already know and you are putting serious risk to your infrastructure which in any failure will probably cost you so much more in downtime. Just my 2 cents.

Were your portable units dual hose or single hose? Did one hose connect to outside?

Mini-split systems are so much more efficient. Would the owner be moved by a solar-hybrid-ac powered system? The first in the following list can be powered by solar.

All in this list have an inverter compressor which is like the overdrive gear on a truck in that it is more efficient. Uses the amount of power needed to keep the room cool and constant humidity. As opposed to most systems that oscillate between full power on and powered off. More efficient. Less Noise. Constant cooling and humidity is better for harddrives. Because inverter compressors adjust the power usage, get a bigger 18,000+ BTU unit but it will drop to using to say 9,000BTU when that is all that is needed. These inverter compressors and fans seem to run off Direct Current internally and solar is native DC.

$$$$2699.99 Jntech 12000BTU Solar ACDC Inverter Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioner with Heater At night, switches automatically to power company alternating current. DOES NOT COME WITH SOLAR PANELS! There were other solar options that were not nearly as expensive as this particular one. Dont get this one as price is way too high.

$948.55 Senville LETO Series Mini Split Air Conditioner Heat Pump, 18000 BTU 208/230V, Works with Alexa, White

$859.99 ApooDr 18000 BTU Mini Split Air Conditioner Ductless Inverter System 18.3 SEER2 with Heat Pump 220V 1.5 Ton,with Installation Kit

$795.99 ROVSUN 18,000 BTU Wifi Enabled Mini Split AC/Heating System with Inverter, 19 SEER 230V Energy Saving Ductless Split-System Air Conditioner with Pre-Charged Condenser, Heat Pump & Installation Kit

How exactly do you have that portable AC set up? You mention not cutting holes, do you have the hot air venting to outside?

They won’t lose refrigerant unless there is a hole, I’d be looking into other reasons for the failures. No reason these shouldn’t be able to run for a full year and then fail unless the product specifies a duty cycle. Duty really needs to be 24/7. I checked through a Honeywell manual and specs., I could not find a duty cycle listed, same for a shorter look through a Keystone info.

Would it be possible to put a modern mini-split in the room? Holes through walls are then in the 1/2 inch size range, easily patched if you move. Many of these mini-split units are self install, so it might not be that difficult and you can certainly get to whole house sizing of the outside unit if you need to go that big. That would also keep all the hot parts outside, unlike the portable units where only the hot air goes outside (hot compressor doing work eats the BTU rating - 12,000 rating → 8,000 actual).

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Thanks for the advice & suggestions everyone.
The current portable has a 4" exhaust hose that’s vented to the outside.

Our building isn’t your typical office building. It’s a custom-designed architecturally significant building with custom copper siding. The owner will never let us hang a unit off of the side of the building (maybe on the roof).

What do you think about one of these?

Would you be allowed to run the lines for split system out the window and up to the roof?

The portable that you have should not be dead. What did it do when it failed? Fans running, error codes, iced up? Normally if you keep the filters clean and keep the coils clean, these should run for a long time.

Were you trying to cool the room so low that it never cycled off? Even if you were trying to keep the room at 70 F and it never shut off, then that would be an indication that you needed a larger unit.

I’d contact Americool and ask them what they suggest. That’s a lot of money for something that may or may not work. Again, there is a lot of heat inside the cooling unit, and if that unit is located in the same room you are trying to cool, then you have effectively de-rated the device. Any good seller will have both the number for cold air out, and the effective number when the device is in the same room as the cooling. I would guess that the effective value for the 13,200 unit would be 9,500 to 11,000 BTU. Or it is really a 15,000 BTU device, and the 13,200 is the effective BTU after you throw away compressor heat and some heat soak through the cabinet.

There aren’t any windows in the server room. I think I could potentially put a hole in an interior wall & run it up to the roof.

I wouldn’t say the portable failed; it’s just not blowing cold air anymore. It still runs and blows semi-cool air, just not the very cold air it used to. When we got it a year ago, I had it set to 75deg. & the room usually said around that temp. Now I’ve lowed it to 60deg (as low as it’ll go) and the room is around 90deg. And the exhaust hose is no longer hot to the touch like it was when we first got it. The filters are clear & it’s not iced up & no water buildup in the tray.

Hmm… Certainly sounds like it isn’t compressing the gas anymore or that it had a leak. The penalties for leaking are pretty high, but it might have work out the piston rings or scroll seals.

If you already have a 4" route to the outside for the single-hose unit (which are inefficient by design - see Portable Air Conditioners - Why you shouldn't like them - YouTube), what’s stopping you from routing minisplit coolant lines through that same hole? If you can reach the roof from there, set the outdoor unit on a bracket with a bunch of bricks to keep it from moving, just like any non-penetrating antenna mount bracket.

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