How to Vent a Portable Air Conditioner

Portable air conditioners are fantastic devices that offer cooling power in a much smaller unit. These machines are tiny in comparison to industrial units, or window air conditioners. An advantage of these devices is that you can place them out of the way, in the corner of a room, and they will provide fresh, cool air with minimal fuss.

However, most portable conditioners need sufficient ventilation. This is usually achieved via a ventilation hose. The most common method of ventilation is to stick the hose out of a window. This can be unsightly, however, and inconvenient. But fear not! There are other ways and in this guide, we’ll teach you how to vent a portable air conditioner without a window – enjoy!

What Happens if You Don’t Vent a Portable Air Conditioner?

Before we look at how to vent a portable air conditioner without a window, you must understand why. Why is venting important and what happens if you don’t vent a portable air conditioner?

A portable air conditioner (unless it’s an evaporation AC unit) needs a vent to work. The vent has a dual purpose. Firstly, it brings in fresh air from another location. Secondly, it is used for venting the warm air outside.

Without this venting, you will not get any clean air. Also, the warm air is not removed from your home. This essentially negates the mechanisms of the unit and makes it useless. Your device will simply circulate the same warm air around your home. This is pointless but also poses a health risk due to poor air quality.

4 Ways to Vent a Portable Air Conditioner

A window does offer a great form of venting for your AC. However, you may be using it in a room without a window. Alternatively, you may not want to buy and install an expensive window kit. You may not simply want a large exhaust vent sticking from your windows! This is understandable. This is why we have listed four ways of how to vent a portable air conditioner without a window below:

1. Through the Ceiling

If you have a home with drop ceilings, you can simply vent the air through a ceiling tile. There are two ways you can do this.

Firstly, you can remove a ceiling tile manually and cut a hole in it so that your vent can fit through. This way is more difficult and does require that you have DIY knowledge. You will have to measure and mark the hole carefully to ensure the vent fits tightly and does not leave any gaps. Also, you will need to secure the hose somehow in the hole and ensure that the hole has smooth sides so the hose doesn’t get damaged.

Secondly, if you are not confident in your DIY skills, you can buy ceiling vent kits. You can find a myriad of ceiling kits from AC manufacturers. These are essentially ceiling tiles that have a pre-cut hole to fit a specific diameter or size of hose. They are much easier to install. Also, the manual will contain answers to any questions you may have regarding how the ceiling vent will work.

2. Through a Wall

For the DIY experts, creating a hole in your wall is the best option. This provides a fixed venting location for your unit and is perfect for a room or living room without a window.
The downside is that you are limited to using your portable air conditioner next to the venting hole, and cannot easily move the portable air conditioner around. The way around this would be to create holes in each of the rooms in your home which isn’t a practical or an ideal thing to do.

However, if you have a room and location you regularly use your portable air conditioner, a hole in your wall could be a great solution. You will need to mark the hole and bore through the cement or breeze blocks with a power drill. Also, you will need to secure the venting unit in the wall and potentially insert a frame surrounding the hole to ensure it is secure without any gaps.

3. Through a Door

The main point of AC ventilation is that the air needs to be diverted from where your AC is used. As a result, you can simply place your hose through a door into a different room or even to the outside. This is a simple method but is limited by the length of the AC vent and the proximity of your doors to where you want to use the AC.

You can actually buy something like vent kits for doors and sliding doors. These can be used to fix your vent in place in-between a door opening for an excellent venting solution.

4. Through a Pre-Existing Vent

You may have a range of pre-existing vents in your home that already travel to the outside. The most commonly used are dryer vents. A dryer vent can make a decent substitute for a window or one of the above methods.

Also, it has the advantage that no installation or tools are needed. You can simply attach the air conditioner vent to the dryer vent – problem solved! We do advise care if using this way as most AC manufacturers will advise against it. This is because generally, a dryer vent is smaller than an AC vent.

Some people make the mistake of forcing the hose into the dryer vent which can cause damage. Also, if the dryer vent is narrow, it can reduce the airflow and thus reduce the effectiveness of your AC unit.

Tips for Portable Air Conditioner Maintenance and Upkeep

You should now have a clear idea of how to vent a portable air conditioner without a window. As you can see, it is quite easy to do. You are not confined to sticking the portable air conditioner vent hose from your window and creating an eyesore outside. The four different methods above allow you to create a vent for your portable air conditioners, and in some instances make the cooling system discrete.

But how can you ensure your portable air conditioner without a window lasts aside from having a proper ventilation channel? To help, we have created a simple list of tips for portable air conditioner maintenance and usage:

1. Never Place Portable Air Conditioners in Direct Sunlight

People may often make the mistake of leaving their portable air conditioners in direct sunlight. This can cause damage to your AC and reduce the overall effectiveness of the unit. Firstly, if placed in the way of direct sunlight, the cooling effect might be affected. Worse, the air conditioner may overheat and simply stop working.

Secondly, the unit itself will take on heat and thus have to work harder to cool the air – this can also cause the motor to burn out. If possible, leave your air conditioner in a shaded area away from direct heat sources.

2. Keep the Exhaust Tube or Hose Straight Without Kinks

This is not always possible due to space limitations. For example, you may use a portable air conditioner in narrow computer server rooms, or a small laundry room. However, if possible, always try to keep the exhaust hose straight. If it has kinks, this will reduce the airflow. As a result, the venting process will slow down, which will reduce the effectiveness of your portable air conditioners.

3. Regularly Clean and Replace the Air Conditioner Filter

woman removing AC filter Any type of air conditioning unit, even a window air conditioner has an AC filter. The AC filter has a vital role in filtering debris like hair, dust, and microbes. Over time, these filters become clogged with the various debris that is filtered out.

As a result, you must clean and replace your AC filter regularly. If you leave the AC filter and never clean it, it will reduce the overall effectiveness of your unit. Also, it could lead to a poorer quality of air.

4. Regularly Clean the Interior of the Air Conditioners

Finally, regardless of what room you use your air conditioner in, you must also clean the interior. The interior of these products can become dirty and if not cleaned regularly, can be a breeding ground for bacteria.

We advise checking the instructions as they will explain how to access the inside of the unit. You can then clean it simply using one cloth. Also, it is beneficial to vacuum the interior and vents as this will help remove any excess dirt and dust. It is advisable to clean your unit at least once per month including replacing the filters. If you do not clean it, it can cause a horrible smell, and also lead to health complications from poor air quality.

How Long Does a Portable Air Conditioning System Last?

This will vary depending on how often you use it, and if you take good care of your device. Some people have had both their portable air conditioner and vent for up to 15 years. It is common for these units to last up to 10 years easily. However, you need to keep it well-maintained, by regularly checking for refrigerant leaks and cleaning the filter.

Is There an Air Conditioner Without a Venting System?

Yes, you can also get evaporative air conditioners. These create cool air through the evaporation of water which removes the need for cumbersome exhaust hoses and venting.

Final Thoughts

Whether you live in a tropical climate or you have a particular room you need to keep cool, knowing how to vent a portable air conditioner without a window can be useful knowledge to have. The consequences of not venting your portable air conditioner could be detrimental to your health so it is important to not only vent it but to clean and maintain it, also. With or without a window, there should be no reason to not vent your unit.

How do you vent your portable air conditioner without a window? If you have some tips or a question on how to vent an AC, Let us know in the comments.

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