If you’re searching this BTU SACC vs ASHRAE topic, then you realize that there are different ratings for these agencies.

What is the difference between BTU SACC vs ASHRAE ratings for portable air conditioners?

The quick answer is that the new SACC ratings are an average of 30% lower than the ASHRAE ratings.

For example, an LG portable AC with a 14,000 BTU has a DOE SACC of 10,000 BTU.

Since the manufacturers aren’t very good at listing both, though they are required to, we’ve included a Table showing ASHRAE BTU to SACC BTU ratings and room size.

ASHRAE BTU to SACC BTU in Portable Air Conditioners

Down the page, both the ASHRAE and the US Department of Energy SACC ratings are explained, for those unfamiliar with them.

This table uses manufacturer ratings using the ASHRAE DOE BTU test comparison – in other words, how the ASHRAE rating in the left column compares to the DOE SACC ratings in the middle column. The portable AC room size is given in the last column.


8,000 4000 – 6000 125 – 250 sq ft
8,500 5000 – 6000 150 – 250 sq ft
10,000 6000 – 7000 250 – 300 sq ft
11,000 7000 – 8000 300 – 350 sq ft
12,000 7000 – 10000 300 – 450 sq ft
13,000 8000 – 10000 350 – 450 sq ft
13,500 9000 – 10000 400 – 450 sq ft
14,000 9000 – 12000 400 – 550 sq ft
15,000 10000 – 12000 450 – 550 sq ft

What is the SACC for 12,000 BTU ASHRAE?

7,000 to 10,000 BTU. The range is mostly based on whether the portable air conditioner is a single hose (7,000 to 8,500 BTU) or dual hose (9,000 to 10,000 BTU) unit.

PickHVAC exclusive research also shows that portable air conditioners with inverter type compressors rather than traditional room AC compressors have a higher SACC to ASHRAE ratio – in other words, they are more efficient.

Convert 14000 ASHRAE to SACC.

14,000 ASHRAE BTU equals 9,000 to 12,000 SACC BTU based on design – single hose vs dual hose portable air conditioners.

SACC BTU to ASHRAE BTU in Portable Air Conditioners

This table does the opposite – convert SACC to ASHRAE. In other words, it explains BTU SACC vs ASHRAE ratings.

BTU SACC DOE to ASHRAE and Room Size

5000 8000 – 9000 150 sq ft
5500 8000 – 9000 200 sq ft
6000 8000 – 10000 250 sq ft
7000 10000 – 12000 280 sq ft
7500 10000 – 12000 320 sq ft
8000 11000 – 13000 350 sq ft
9000 13000 – 14000 400 sq ft
10000 13000 – 14000 450 sq ft
12000 14000 550 sq ft

What is the ASHRAE for 6000 BTU SACC portable air conditioner?

8000 to 10000 BTU based on a single-hose (8000 BTU) or dual hose (9000 to 10000 BTU) design. The type of compressor also plays a role in efficiency, as mentioned earlier.

Room size for 10000 SACC BTU portable AC?

450 square feet maximum. A unit this size should serve any room up to about 450 square feet.

Convert ASHRAE to SACC BTU Ratings

Unfortunately, there is no formula for converting ASHRAE ratings to the new Department of Energy SACC ratings.

The BTU SACC vs ASHRAE ratings are different for every portable AC based on its design and components.

Dual hose portable air conditioners with good insulation in the cabinet of the unit do much better than single-hose portable air conditioners.

The other important factor is compressor type, as described above.

The SACC ratings are about 50% to 70% of ASHRAE ratings. This is shown in the chart above. Here are a few examples:

  • 6000 SACC is 66.7% of 9000 ASHRAE
  • 8000 SACC is 66.7% of 120000 ASHRAE
  • 10000 SACC is 71% of 14000 ASHRAE

Energy Star Portable ACs

There are no Energy Star certified portable air conditioners because of their inefficiency.

If you want an Energy Star room AC, consider a window air conditioner. Here are the most efficient window ACs.

What is SACC BTU

SACC stands for Seasonally Adjusted Cooling Capacity.

It is the new DOE rating for portable air conditioners.

Why do portable ACs need a different rating?

Answer: They pull in warm air during operation. It is a 2 steps forward, 1 step back situation.

Here’s a simple explanation comparing window air conditioners to portable air conditioners.

Window air conditioners: Air from outside isn’t mixed with inside air. Warm air from the room is pulled into and over the AC indoor coil. Refrigerant in the coil absorbs heat and transfers it to refrigerant running through the outside coil – the coil has radiator-like fins on the back of the AC. And the heat is dispersed outside.

It is a heat transfer through metal coils, not an air transfer.

Portable air conditioners: These units do mix air. When air from inside is exhausted, a slight negative indoor pressure results, and air gets sucked in from somewhere – around drafty doors or windows or through the home’s envelope, if there is no vapor barrier/house wrap.

So, while warm air is dumped outside, a little bit of warm air is pulled into the house.

This is why the BTU SACC vs ASHRAE rating is lower. SACC will always be less than ASHRAE.


Acronym: ASHRAE stands for the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. It is a highly respected industry organization and leader, and rightly so.

Ratings: ASHRAE ratings for all air conditioner types including portable air conditioners simply tell how much heat the unit can move in an hour.

Portable ACs: But ASHRAE ratings for portable ACs don’t account for the warm air that is pulled into the space when warm air is exhausted. Yes, a portable unit can remove 12,000 BTU of heat per hour, for example, but what about the 3,000 BTU of heat it pulls into the space or leaks during that time? The net removal of heat is only 9,000 BTUs.

Why Portable ACs aren’t as efficient: Another way portable air conditioners lose efficiency is by air escaping through poorly insulated units. The air is pulled into the AC, and heat is removed. But before the warm air can be exhausted, some of it is leaked back into the room because the unit, sitting totally inside the room, isn’t airtight.

ASHRAE DOE BTU Test Comparison

The different ASHRAE and DOE SACC ratings are the result of testing that show portable ACs are less efficient because they leak and draw air into the space.

Manufacturers don’t like the new SACC ratings, but from our perspective, the ratings are fair. Portable air conditioners do not cool a room as quickly or as effectively as a window air conditioner with the same ASHRAE rating.


BTU SACC vs DOE are the same ratings. The Department of Energy, the DOE, devised the Seasonally Adjusted Cooling Capacity ratings, the SACC.

They were developed to give consumers more accurate information about the cooling performance and efficiency of portable air conditioners.

For comparison, see the SACC vs ASHRAE portable air conditioner ratings discussed in the Tables and content above. And for additional research, see the PickHVAC Portable AC Buying Guide.

Written by

Rene has worked 10 years in the HVAC field and now is the Senior Comfort Specialist for PICKHVAC. He holds an HVAC associate degree and EPA & R-410A Certifications.

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