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How To Install A Portable Air Conditioner Without Leaks [Info]

Close up of Air Conditioning Repair, repairman on the floor fixing air conditioning system

Disclaimer | This article may contain affiliate links, this means that at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission for qualifying purchases.

Nothing can be more comfortable than cool air from a good air conditioner during the scorching summer days. 

And it becomes even better if the AC is portable, since the options for installation are more flexible in that case. Hence, you’ll be able to move it from one window to another as per your needs. 

As for the air cooling and dehumidifying function, it is no less efficient than window ACs. Thus, going for such an air conditioner will undoubtedly be a wise decision.

But once you bring it home, installing it might seem complicated. Also, you need to be careful so that there is no leakage from the unit, since that can become a messy affair.

We’ve tried to make the task easier for you by putting forward this detailed guide on installing a portable AC without leaks. 

Read on to know more. 

Installing Portable Air Conditioner Without Leaks

A Few Tips On Safety

Close-up image of woman turning on air conditioner and using smart home application on her phone to manage temperature

Before you begin to set up your portable air conditioner, it is essential to keep a few safety tips in mind. So, here’s a list of the tips that you need to follow. 

  1. Go through the manual

The manual for the product contains all the essential information about it and also includes descriptive diagrams. Note that there can be no substitute for the manual, so you must refer to the usage and installation instructions of the manufacturer first. 

  1. Take care!

A portable air conditioner is quite heavy, so lifting it by yourself can cause serious injuries. The appliance should be lifted by two people. And in case it is being moved on a flat surface, check whether there are caster wheels attached to it. That’s because the appliance needs to be pushed gently in case it does. 

  1. Don’t Connect It To A Power Strip Or Extension

Portable air conditioners require a lot of electric power after the compressor starts working. So, you should never connect it to a power strip or extension but only to a grounded power outlet. 

  1. Keep Children Away

Children should not be allowed to play around the air conditioner, sit on the appliance or even hang from it. Otherwise, they might get hurt, or the appliance may get damaged. 

  1. Don’t Plug It In Before The Installation

Your drain hoses and exhaust must not be plugged in before the installation. They should be kept water and air-tight, and the sealants must be cured. This way, you’ll stay fully protected during the installation. 

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  1. Install The Air Filter From Beforehand

The unit can be damaged by flying debris, so remember to clean the air filter regularly and replace it as instructed by the manufacturer. You will find details regarding the air filter in the user manual.   

  1. Don’t Try To Repair Portable ACs Yourself

You should always talk to a technician experienced in HVAC or contact the manufacturer to obtain guidance for the process. 

  1. Check All Components

The components provided in the box should be checked against the list mentioned in the manual. You must ensure that everything is available in the package. Note that a window kit should include:

    • One vent hose
    • Hose adapters
    • A slide connector for windows

Apart from this, many kits include foam or weather strips and screws. If you find anything missing in the package, you must get in touch with the retailer immediately. 

How Does A Portable Air Conditioner Work?

A portable AC functions in almost the same way as a regular AC, except for a few differences. It pulls in hot air from any room, and its motor cools that air to circulate it throughout the room. 

For the entire process, the unit has three main components, namely, a refrigerant, a compressor, and a fan. While the refrigerant cools the air, the compressor compresses it for the system to work properly, and the heat generated is then vented out.

Finally, the fan moves the compressed cool air throughout the room, making the environment cool and comfortable. 

Note that this portable AC also tales excess moisture and warm air, transferring it out of the window through a hose. To transfer the air, a standard venting kit similar to the venting system in a dryer is used. At the same time, a water reservoir is used to remove the moisture, which should be emptied periodically. 

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Where Should You Place It?

Ideally, you should place a portable AC on a hard floor that is at least 8” to 12” away from barriers, such as flowers or furniture. To know the minimum space for clearance from the wall, it is best to check the manual. 

Also, the AC must be placed near a window and an electrical outlet. After this, you must check if the cable reaches the outlet easily and the vent hose reaches the window. Make sure that neither of these parts is stretched too far. 

In fact, the hose should be kept as straight and short as possible, and when the AC is placed in the right position, you can start the installation then and there.

How To Vent The Exhaust?

To vent the exhaust of a portable AC, the most commonly used medium is a window. In case you don’t have a window that faces outside, you will have to use a method described in the next section. Now, let’s learn about the process of venting the exhaust in three detailed steps. 

Step 1: 

You must first install the window kit for venting the hot air. These kits are built to work with almost all types of windows, including the ones that slide upward and downward and slide sideward. 

In case the window in your room has a traditional up-down system of operation, you should keep the kit at the bottom. After this, you must extend it till the height of the window is filled.

If the opening of your window is smaller than the length of the slider kit, it must be trimmed down. But if the opening is larger, you can use plywood, cardboard, or Plexiglas to fill the gap. Using filler material is another way out, and you can cut it to just the dimensions that you need. 

After fitting the window kit, you must close the window to hold it in place. Do make sure that no air is leaking and the sunlight isn’t visible at all. 

Some kits include foam or weather strips to keep between the window and the slider to stop warm air and insects from sneaking in. They might even include screws to keep the kit in place more securely. 

Step 2:

Now, you will have to connect the hose to the portable AC. Begin by attaching the vent hose to the back-side of the unit, and do check whether a connector already exists there.

 If the AC doesn’t have a connector, you will need to install a new one that is part of the vent kit. The hose should be extended till you connect the slider to the connector and ensure that it locks securely. 

To avoid any obstruction in the air flow, the hose should be direct and linear between the window and the unit. Obstructions may damage the AC or reduce its cooling power. Note that some manufacturers advise extending the hose to a maximum of 9 feet. 

Step 3:

Following this, you must plug in the portable AC. As mentioned earlier, you should use a grounded outlet and shouldn’t connect the unit to an extension cord or an electric power strip. 

Most of the units come with an indicator on the plug that lights up when connected to a power outlet. Generally, the plug should have 2 buttons that are marked as ‘Test’ and ‘Reset.’ 

Pressing the ‘Test’ button activates the safety feature built into the unit that disconnects the power supply if there is something wrong with the flow of power. In that case, both the unit and the indicator turn off, and you will have to press the ‘Reset’ button to reconnect the unit.  

However, these buttons shouldn’t be used to turn the unit on or off. They are only meant for testing periodically and restarting the AC in case there is a power cut. Note that when the unit is switched on after pressing ‘Reset’, it is ready for use. 

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What If You Don’t Have A Window?

Even if the room doesn’t have a window facing outside, you can enjoy the cool air from your portable AC. This can be made possible in a number of ways, so let’s have a look at each of them. 

  1. Venting Air Through Sliding Doors

Other than a window, a sliding door is another good alternative for venting the hot air. Note that the process of putting up the vent is similar to that of a window venting system. 

The same window slider can be used, but filler material will be needed to fill the gap. So, specialized kits are recommended for sliding doors that will fill up the height of the door. However, you may face some challenges while installing the vent on the sliding door. 

For example, you may not be able to use the door with the vent kit attached. In that case, you can install a piece of velcro to the door frame and the inside of the kit. This way, you could use the door while keeping the kit in place. 

  1. Using The Ceiling

If you want to install the portable AC for your office, venting through the window may not always be possible. In such situations, using the ceiling will be a great alternative.

 A special kit for a drop ceiling will be needed for this, and you may also require help from an HVAC professional. Plus, talking to the manager of the building is important to be aware about any air quality or safety issues regarding such a venting system. 

  1. Venting Through A Wall On the Exterior

You may also pass the hose through a wall, if you want to install the portable AC in a windowless room. Note that you will need to drill a hole of the right size in the wall, where the vent can be secured. 

  1. Using The Chimney

Do you have a chimney in the room which is lying idle? In that case, a vent hose can be installed in there, but you’ll have to ensure that it doesn’t have any soot and its flue is still open. 

How To Prevent Leakage?

Water leakage is the most common problem faced by people who own portable ACs. The humidity in the air must be removed when hot air is being cooled, and for that you need to remove the water over time. Note that an inefficient unit will not be able to do that and may leave a puddle on the floor. 

To avoid such possibilities, here’s a guide on how to prevent water leakages from portable ACs in different situations. 

  1. Generally, water leakages occur when the drain hose is not sealed correctly or if the room is too humid. In case of the latter possibility, the drainage capacity of the unit may be overwhelmed. 
  2. While buying a portable AC, do remember to check whether it requires manual draining or is self-evaporative. That’s because each type of unit uses a different working mechanism to trap and remove water from the home. 
  3. Self-evaporative ACs exhaust water along with hot air through the hose, so you don’t have to drain it in most cases. But sometimes, the humidity in the air is so high that the water will accumulate in the unit, build up in the pan and gradually leak from the top. 
  4. A few portable ACs have an indicator to signal you when the emergency pan is full. In such cases, you must either connect a hose or place the AC over a drain. However, if your unit doesn’t have any indicator, you will have to keep a watch on the floor beneath the unit. 
  5. If you find even a bit of leakage, it’s best to drain it. Remember that if the drain plug is capped, when the unit stops working you will know that the collector is full of water.
  6. In case of manual drain ACs, the condensation is dropped into a pan which has to be emptied or else it may overflow eventually. You must either empty water periodically from the drain pan or install another hose to transfer the water outside. 
  7. 41rqtJ7OwpS. SL500

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How To Determine The Perfect Size Of A Portable AC For My Room?

Note that BTU is the unit used to measure the capacity of portable ACs. And you will need about 20 BTUs for every sq ft., so a 300-sq ft. room can be properly cooled by a 6,000-BTU AC. Remember to go through all the information on any particular product, including the required room size. 

  1. Can A Portable AC Be Vented Through The Vent Of A Dryer?

Well, in most cases, it can’t. In fact, many manufacturers may warn against using this method. That’s because the hose of an air conditioner and dryer are generally not of the same size. Also, there are other dangers, such as lint blowing into the AC, which might cause a fire. 

So, if you really need a dryer vent, it’s best to consult an HVAC professional before starting the installation. 

  1. Will I Require A Water Supply For Portable Air Conditioners?

No, that will not be required since portable ACs don’t work like humidifiers. In fact, they produce water as they remove the humidity from the air. 

  1. Can The Portable Air Conditioner Be Placed On Its Side?

Never place the portable AC either upside down or on its side since that could damage the compressor and its mounting. If that happens by any chance, remember to leave it unplugged and upright for at least 24 hours. 

  1. Do I Need To Keep Portable Air Conditioners Vented Outside?

Yes, most portable ACs must be vented outside, but they might vary according to the situation. 

For instance, if the AC requires manual draining, then there is no need to vent the exhaust air outside. In that case, the unit will only be able to run in fan mode or dehumidify a room. 

However, if you want the air to be cooled, then the portable AC should be vented outside using any of the methods that we have highlighted. Or else, the warm air may blow back, defeating the very purpose of buying an air conditioner.

Conditioner icons set. Flat set of conditioner vector icons for web design

Final Words

So, here was our detailed guide on installing a portable AC. We hope the process won’t seem confusing to you anymore. 

Remember that the task will never get complicated if you are organized in your approach. And following all the steps properly would also allow you to complete the process within a short while.

Furthermore, here’s an additional tip that we’d like to share with you. Be careful not to place the portable AC in a place which gets a lot of sunlight. Otherwise, the unit will overwork to maintain the desired temperature in the room. 

Now that you know all about the installation process, go ahead and begin the task! 

With that, we’ll sign off. Till next time, take care!

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