Portable Air Conditioner Maintenance Requirements

As self-contained cooling systems, portable air conditioners are great for keeping rooms, offices, apartments, RVs, and even computer server rooms at comfortable temperatures because they can be easily moved and require no permanent installation.

However, portable air conditioners still require venting through a window or wall with the help of an exhaust hose before cooling can begin. Even so, portable air conditioners have less maintenance requirements than swamp coolers. The following are some common maintenance requirements that are associated with most portable ACs:

Venting

Portable air conditioners don't require permanent installation, but the condensed hot air must be vented out of the room via a venting kit (usually included). This allows the vent hose to be slid into a window, with the exhaust hose being fitted into the appropriate window space.

In some situations where venting through a window isn't feasible, a portable AC can also be vented through a drop ceiling or wall. Although this method may require more work than if the unit was to be vented using a standard window kit, this will allow you to cool an area that lacks windows. See our short video on venting portable ACs here:


Draining the Water

During the cooling process, your portable air conditioner acts like a dehumidifier because it removes water from the air. Most of this water is used to cool the actual AC and this results in better cooling efficiency. In fact, if you reside in an especially humid area, a good amount of water may be collected. However, this condensate must be removed, and portable air conditioners use various methods to accomplish this task.

Portable ACs will collect condensate in buckets which need to be emptied, but more advanced room air conditioners have the ability to evaporate more of this moisture, therefore resulting in less or even no water to be emptied.

Furthermore, most portable air conditioners can support the connection of a drain hose that allows water to be drained continuously, and there are even condensate pumps available which pump the water outside or into a drain pump located indoors.

icon_bulb-blue-1Portable Air Conditioner Buying Tip:
To simplify maintenance, choose a portable AC with auto-evaporative technology because the tank will not need to be emptied as frequently (unless used in an extremely humid climate).

Cleaning & Replacing the Filters

Portable air conditioners will usually have some sort of air filter to eliminate airborne particles, and some advanced units may even come with built-in air purifiers complete with carbon filters and ionizers.  For effective particle abatement and optimal cooling efficiency, regularly clean or replace the filters in your portable AC. This should occur on a bi-weekly or monthly basis, depending on use.

If your portable air conditioner has a washable filter, slide the filter out, immerse it in warm water with a mild detergent, rinse thoroughly, and let it dry before replacing it back into the unit. On the other hand, if you have a portable air conditioner with a carbon filter, replace this according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Cleaning the Exterior

A clean portable air conditioner will result in increased air volume, so the actual housing of the unit should be cleaned every few weeks. Wipe the surface of the unit with a soft, damp cloth when the unit is turned off, and don't use abrasive chemicals or detergents. Furthermore, try to keep the portable AC away from direct sunlight because this can change the color of the unit's surface.

End of Season Storage

At the end of summer, don't forget to properly store your portable air conditioner .  Doing so will ensure cooling efficiency and prolong the life of the unit. Store your AC by turning off and unplugging the unit, draining all water from the water tank, and turning on the fan mode.

After letting the interior dry for a few hours, clean the filter as outlined above, wrap the cord around the cord hooks, pack the unit in the original carton, and store it in a dry location. If your portable air conditioner also includes a built-in heater function and can be used year-round, it should be maintained as you would any other type of AC.

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