Traditional Cooling vs. Spot Cooling: What’s the Difference?

When summer arrives, air conditioning systems in facilities, warehouses, businesses and homes around North America will kick into high gear. In many places, these systems will be working nearly non-stop until fall arrives.

Many will break down.

Others may not work well enough for your specific needs and may require some extra muscle in the form of a spot cooler.

Although traditional air conditioners and spot coolers use similar technology, each has different applications and benefits.

Traditional A/C

Traditional air conditioning or central air is designed to cool the air in an entire facility using a central compressor and condenser, and then deliver that cooled air through a network of ducts and vents.

Unlike spot cooling, traditional a/c is more permanent and is a key component of an overall heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning system (HVAC) and is expensive to install initially. A central air conditioning system is the best solution for facilities that require relatively even cooling throughout.

Spot Cooling

Unlike traditional a/c, spot coolers are considered a more temporary (and portable) cooling solution. Most often, these air conditioners are used to provide enhanced cooling of certain areas of a facility during extreme heat or when a need for portable cooling arises in places like a construction jobsite or places that must maintain a consistently cool temperature.

Spot coolers are also often used as a backup cooling system when a traditional air conditioner requires maintenance, repair, or replacement. These units provide a fast and reliable air conditioning solution when faced with a cooling emergency.

If there is a drawback to these coolers, it’s that they require ducting — and not every facility manager wants that, nor is it feasible for buildings without a dropped ceiling. In these cases, a water-cooled portable air-conditioning unit may be the best solution.

Water-cooled portable air-conditioning units are an extremely efficient and effective way to cool a room and only require access to a power source, water, and a drain. They’re best for areas where it’s not possible to exhaust hot air created by the air conditioner’s compressor through a ceiling tile, window or ducted opening. Instead of removing the heated air outside the space you’re cooling, the heat is transformed into water and externally drained.

Benefits of Portable Spot Coolers

Spot coolers can be used in areas where heat buildup overwhelms the capacity of the existing central air system or provide cooling to areas where there is no central air.  They are ideal for   providing an affordable cooling solution for short-term cooling needs. 

However, using spot coolers to cool large spaces on a consistent basis would be cost-prohibitive. Instead, spot coolers are often deployed in smaller areas where people are working to maintain a cool, comfortable, and humidity-controlled environment.  Typical applications include retail stores, server/computer rooms, healthcare facilities, offices, temporary shelters (including tents and mobile shelters), remodeling projects, and industrial and manufacturing operations.  They are also used for high volume dehumidification during post-storm restoration efforts.

Rent Your Spot Cooler Now

If you’re looking to solve for excessive heat using either a spot or a central air solution, contact Herc Rentals for a jobsite assessment to determine the optimal cooling solution.  Now would be the best time to review the options to ensure a safe, comfortable working environment all summer long. For more on spot coolers and other climate control equipment, click HERE.

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