Facility Maintenance Decisions

Key Issues When Deciding to Rent or Buy Portable Cooling Units

Inevitably, the question of whether to rent or buy temporary, portable cooling equipment comes up at some point in a manager's career. HVAC systems are complex and tend to fail at critical moments. When considering the options, it is important to look at several key issues, including:

  • the purchase price of a new or used cooling unit
  • the frequency with which a facility might need the unit
  • the tolerance of building occupants for limited or no cooling
  • the size of the unit to purchase
  • whether a manager sees such a unit as a want or a need.

For most managers, the easiest and most common way to solve a portable cooling need is to rent or purchase a DX unit that technicians can wheel into an area and set up quickly.

As a rule of thumb regarding the size of the unit, managers should plan on 1 ton of cooling for every 300-500 square feet of office space, depending upon the use of the building.

Portable coolers can range from a couple of hundred dollars for a unit that can cover a couple of hundred square feet — typically, a 1/2- to 1-ton system — to thousands of dollars for a ground-mounted, ducted system that can provide tens to hundreds of tons of cooling.

In the case of a major renovation or the need for more than one or two small units, it might be more advantageous to consider a larger, ground-mounted system. These systems are typically DX or chilled-water systems situated at ground level. They arrive either on a flatbed truck or as a trailer attached to a truck.

Technicians position the unit, and they run insulated ductwork — which provides return and supply air through a window — up the side of the building to the space that requires cooling.

Continue Reading: Product Focus: Portable Cooling

Temporary Cooling: Hot-Button Issue

Key Issues When Deciding to Rent or Buy Portable Cooling Units

Other Considerations when Planning for Use of Temporary Portable Cooling

Product Focus: Portable Cooling

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  posted on 9/20/2013   Article Use Policy

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