Although the Pelonis brand goes back to the 1980s with revolutionary ceramic heating technology, the brand has seen many ups and downs. Lawsuits about who owned the rights to the brand run through various companies through the 1990s and into the new millennium.1 Currently, the portable air conditioners are not sold through the Pelonis company site, but through a partner, Midea, at SupportUSA. It appears that the portable fans and heaters have been split from the portable air conditioner/dehumidifiers. Company names associated with the brands are: Pelonis Appliances Inc. (in Texas); Pelonis Technologies (in Pennsylvania); Pelonis Heating Products (PA); and Pelonis USA Ltd. (TX).2 There are other associated companies as well.3
The genesis of the portable air conditioners came about as an add-on to the ceramic heater business and the products sold under the Pelonis name are heaters, air conditioners and dehumidifiers. Three models are currently listed.4
KCD25Y1 – This small portable heater/ac unit uses a ceramic heater (1,200 Watt) coupled with a 9,000 BTU portable air conditioner. Remote, LCD screen and timer are built-in. Vent kit can be used for most windows as well as patio-style sliding doors. Dehumidifier function is included with fan and defrost.5
EER rating is 9.4 and it can be set up with a drain hose or a water tank for condensation.
MPC09ER – The data sheet for this unit is the same as the KCD25Y1 but this model number seems to be more prevalent in the US. The owner’s manual is the same for either unit as well.6
MPK10ER – This unit is slightly larger and is rated at 10,000 BTU (cooling) and 6,000 BTU heating. It is advertised as having a built in evaporator to eliminate the need for a tank or drain. Other features are the same as those above.7
No prices were available for comparison as the units are listed as back-ordered. A previous model, the MPC08ER was sold through Walmart and is still on the secondary market. Parts are still available for this model as well.8
By far, the most popular model is the MPC09ER, based on comments on the web. None of these models are heat pumps. Rather, they are electric heaters paired with a portable air conditioner. There is some advantage to this and a disadvantage. The advantage is that when used as a heater, the unit doesn’t have to be vented – you can close off a window that might otherwise leak cold outside air into a room. The disadvantage is in higher cost from radiant heat converted directly from electricity. Both types (heat pump and radiant heat) will run a fan to distribute air, but the heat pump, since it runs a condenser as well, is much noisier.
The overwhelming complaint received about these units is the water storage shut-off. When the units collect enough condensate, the unit shuts down. This is normal, and it prevents water overflow and possible damage to floors or carpeting. However, customers who had to empty the container at inconvenient times found this very irritating.9 A drain kit can be purchased that will allow water to run to any open drain in the house, and this is the recommended solution.
Other complaints have to do with the inability for either the cooling function or the heating mode to keep temperatures in a comfortable range.10 This shouldn’t be blamed on the product as much as consumers purchasing a unit that is too small for the square footage they want to cool/heat.
Because Pelonis is noted for their ceramic heaters, the heating function on these units is quite good. Negative reviews almost always have to do with the air conditioner.
Consumers should be cautious about purchasing a portable air conditioner of any type from a secondary source. New units come with a warranty and have the best supply connection for accessories or repair parts. Because these units are not currently available for sale new, no price comparisons could be done and no warranty information was found. If they should become available again from a reputable source, this will change.
The other consideration is understanding the limitations of portable air conditioners of all types. A small, inexpensive unit cannot be expected to meet all the cooling and heating needs of more than a moderate sized room, and even then, not for extremes of heat and cold. The cooling capacity is greater than the ability to provide heat, and the heating cycle is more expensive, raising electricity bills. For this reason, a combination heater and air conditioner (note – these are not heat pumps) will usually require supplemental heat, even for a relatively small area.