Do All Portable Air Conditioners Have To Be Vented Out a Window?

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Portable air conditioners can be a lifesaver in the summertime. Anyone who doesn’t have a cooling option on their HVAC system knows how wonderful these portable A/C units can be. All air conditioners need a source of ventilation to work.

This has led many people to believe that portable air conditioners need to be vented out a window. However, that’s not always the truth.

While venting a portable air conditioner out the window may be the easiest solution, it’s not the only one. If you don’t have the option to vent A/C out of the window, a portable air conditioner might be the right choice for you because it can even be used in rooms without windows. For some apartment buildings, these may be the only type of A/C you can use.

How Portable Air Conditioners Work

Most air conditioners work by pulling the hot air out of the room, venting it outside, and then replacing it with air that has been cooled down by a chemical substance in the air conditioner called refrigerant. Portable air conditioners work differently because they don’t ventilate the air outdoors.

Instead, what portable air conditioners do is pull the hot air into the unit. While it’s in there, the A/C’s motor will cool it down and then release it back into the room. This is how they continuously supply the room with cool air during the hottest days.

Is It Necessary To Vent Your Portable Air Conditioning Unit?

Even though your portable air conditioning unit can work without being vented out a window, it will still need to be vented in some fashion to prevent the moisture from building up.

If you don’t do this, then the moisture could ruin the cooling effect of the A/C unit. As mentioned above, all air conditioner units will need to be ventilated somehow.

How To Vent A Portable Air Conditioner Without A Window

If you don’t have the option to vent the portable air conditioner out of a window, don’t worry, there are still several ways to take care of ventilation. It all depends on where you place it.

Here are some of the best ways to vent a portable air conditioner when there isn’t a window around:

Through a Door

Although a window is the easiest solution, it’s not a choice for everyone. When this is the case, your door is the next best option. Specifically a sliding door, like the ones that often face the backyard. Many hardware stores even carry kits to make this easier. 

The trouble that many people face with this option is that most portable air conditioner hoses aren’t longer than 10 feet. This doesn’t allow very much length for those who want to keep the air conditioner in a room further away from the door. If you have a pet door installed, then you already have an easy opening in place. 

Through a Wall

Often you can get away with venting the air conditioner into another room. This is an option if you have a spare room to vent where nobody will be affected by the extra heat. The only real problem with this solution is that it is permanent, so it’s only a good idea to know that room will be the A/C’s designated room.

If you don’t have any carpentry skills, this option may not be the one for you. You need to drill a hole in the wall that is large enough for the hose. Once the hose has been passed through, it’s important to seal the hole, so nothing makes its way through.

Through The Ceiling

If you have an older home with a drop ceiling, then you may be able to find a ceiling vent kit to ventilate the air conditioner unit through the ceiling. Unfortunately, most modern homes don’t have ceilings that allow this option. It is possible to install it through the ceiling without a vent kit, but it’s a lot more complicated. 

Portable Air Conditioning Unit Placement

The placement of your air conditioning unit is important for it to run efficiently. You should always check the user’s manual to how much clearance space it will need from the wall. A good rule of thumb to follow with portable air conditioner placement is always keeping them 8 to 10 inches away from furniture and plants.

They should not be placed on rugs or carpet, as they are most effective when placed on hard and level floors. Don’t raise them as a way to cool off a room quicker. They are only meant to operate off of the floor. You shouldn’t place them on chairs, tables, desks, etc.

Ideally, it’s best to place them near a window because that’s the easiest way to ventilate them. Try to make sure the vent hose stays as straight as possible. However, that option might not be possible for everyone. One thing that is a must for placement is having an electrical outlet nearby because you shouldn’t stretch the power cord.

Can Portable A/C Units Be Laid Down?

It’s crucial that you only operate your portable air conditioner unit when it is standing upright. Don’t place them on their side or even upside down because it may lead to damage to the compressor.

If you must lay the A/C unit down to move it, make sure you allow it to stand in an upright position for at least 24 hours before plugging it in again. 

Should I Extend My Vent Hose If It’s A Little Short?

Most manufacturers will recommend that you don’t ever try to extend your vent hose. They recommend that you keep them as short as possible and always keep them straight as well.

This is because they are meant to blow the warm air out of your home, and the shorter they are, the more efficiently they will work.

Can I Use My Attic To Vent My Portable Air Conditioning System?

It is not recommended to vent into your attic unless you have a good source of ventilation in there. That is because when the vent blows warm air up to the attic, it causes moisture.

If the moisture can’t escape, then it could lead to damage or even mold. The best option is to ventilate the A/C to the outside of your home or a room with proper ventilation. 

Final Thoughts: Do All Portable Air Conditioners Have To Be Vented Out a Window?

All portable air conditioners need to be ventilated, but they cannot be vented out of a window. While windows are the easiest and most effective solution for ventilation, there are other options to look at. Just remember that if you choose to ventilate into another room, it means airing out so moisture doesn’t build up.

The next best option to using a window is using a door for ventilation. Luckily most hardware stores carry kits to make running the vent hose through a door or ceiling easier. Not having a window doesn’t mean you are without A/C options.