We have a one story house. It’s 1040 square feet. Our central air unit, which was about 20 years old, finally broke. We’ve been told it’ll be about $4,000 to replace it and that amount of money simply isn’t in the budget right now. I was wondering if maybe putting a mobile air conditioner at one end of the house and another one at the other end would efficiently cool most of the house? I thought mobile units might work better than window units because we have casement windows, and I know casement window units are also pretty pricey. All 3 bedrooms have doors but the living room has an open entryway into the kitchen, so there wouldn’t really be a way to close off the air between the living room and kitchen that I can think of. I even thought maybe just getting an air conditioner with a super high BTU, but again, what’s the point if higher BTU doesn’t translate to coverage of more square feet. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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    How much BTU was the previous unit? How much BTU (new unit) was the quote for? What's the location (to get a ballpark how hot it is)? Typically, the 4K cost is worth it because noise, durability and ease of maintenance. The question is usually one of tradeoffs, not one of "will it cool?"
    – Jeffrey
    Jun 12, 2018 at 18:26
  • Is repair of the central air unit not possible? Jun 12, 2018 at 19:07
  • Thank you for your response. It’s my mother’s House and she nor I know what BTU it was because it was over 20 years old & she no longer has that paperwork. We live in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, PA. We were quoted about $4,000 for a new unit and yes, we were told it could not be repaired. Right now it’s in the low 80’s, but come July and August it quickly goes up to the 90’s. I have a two year old, I worry if that can impact her health. Jun 13, 2018 at 18:51

1 Answer 1


In terms of just "can two mobile A/Cs cool a 1000 sqft area", yes, they certainly can. I lived in a similar-sized apartment for a couple years and did just that -- one unit, a monster mobile A/C, was in the living room and cooled the living room, dining room, office, and kitchen; the other was in our bedroom and cooled just the bedroom.

However, you mentioned that you have three bedrooms -- if those are occupied, I assume the occupants will want to close their doors at night. At which point, the cool air won't be able to get into the bedrooms.

I would carefully consider if the investment you'll have to make into the mobile A/Cs is worth the trade-offs (especially the noise, as Jeffrey commented), considering that you'll eventually want to fix the central air anyway.

  • That’s very helpful and you’re right, it’s worth thinking about. Thank you. Jun 13, 2018 at 18:51
  • Did you have doors on all those rooms? We don’t mind keeping our bedroom doors open at night, all three of us are girls. Plus the one bedroom is usually unoccupied as my toddler sleeps in my room. I guess I’m wondering if Iyscjust an open entryway between the living room (which is 248 square feet) to the kitchen...if a mobile ac would work considering the coldness might not stay in the room. Jun 13, 2018 at 18:54
  • We kept all the doors open if we wanted to cool the whole place, and closed off rooms we weren't using. Self-contained A/C units generally have a cooling effect that cools the air around them the most, so the kitchen and 2nd bedroom (furthest from the mobile A/C) would end up about 5 or more degrees warmer than the living room (where the A/C was). You can also use fans to move air around. Jun 13, 2018 at 20:31
  • Also, the big mobile A/C we used was a 12,000 BTU, which is technically only rated for 400sqft. There are beefier units available, but not for cheap. Jun 13, 2018 at 20:32

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