Can You Use Portable Air Conditioners Without Window Exhaust?

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If you can’t afford a central unit, a portable air conditioner is another great alternative to beat the heat during the hot summer. These units are small in size, energy-efficient, easy to install, and dehumidifies the air.

Most portable air conditioners come with one or two hoses and have to be vented outside, usually through a window. And so many people want to know if they can use portable air conditioners without window exhaust hose.

A portable air conditioner that doesn’t need a window is not an ordinary portable unit. It is a self-contained unit that requires no vent or exhaust hose and cools the air by evaporating water. It is also known as a ventless air conditioner or portable evaporative cooler or swamp cooler. It is the best choice for homeowners who need portable cooling in rooms without windows.

If you’re looking for this type of air conditioner, then here is a review of the two best portable air conditioners without exhaust on the market today or you can check the best air conditioners for rooms without windows.

Top Rated Portable Air Conditioners That Doesn’t Need a Window

Honeywell 525-729CFM Portable Evaporative Cooler

Honeywell 525 CFM Indoor Outdoor Portable...
  • Product Dimensions: 18" W 13.8" D 33.7" H | Product Weight: 24.9 lbs
  • Recommended for areas up to 320 sq. ft.
  • Backyard BBQ's, pool parties, relaxing on the porch, garden or deck—an outdoor evaporative air cooler beats the summer's heat and keeps the good times rolling.
  • US Compliant, Outdoor-Rated Honeywell Swamp Cooler with UV resistant material & GFCI cord for safe outdoor operation.
  • Built to cool large spaces with minimal effort! Top loading ice compartment with a continuous water hose connection & triple-sided Honeywell Honeycomb Cooling Pads means powerful evaporative cooling all day long.
  • Like a cool, lake breeze, Evaporative Air cooler reduces temperature through water evaporation. Moist, cool breeze can cool you down without spraying floor & furniture with water!
  • Built-to-Last, Honeywell Air Coolers have been leading the industry with their quality products for over 12 years.

The first non window ac I’d like to recommend is the Honeywell 525-729CFM Portable Evaporative Cooler. It is portable, lightweight, and ideal for rooms up to 320 square feet.

The reason why Honeywell 525-729CFM is top of this list is that it is the most popular indoor evaporative cooler on the market. It has a sturdy design and is easy to use thanks to the user-friendly LED control panel with angle viewing as well as a full-featured remote control. The remote has all the features you require to adjust your room temperature, including 3-fan speeds.

Unlike other Ac units, Honeywell 525-729CFM uses up to 80% less energy, ensuring your room is cool without incurring high energy costs. As a non-compressor system with a powerful motor, it propels fresh, cool air into your space. 

Another impressive feature of this unit is the ice-loading top compartment, where you can add ice to achieve a stronger cooling effect. It also has a low water alarm function that notifies you when the water in the tank goes below the minimum level.

Other features include a detachable water tank, programmable timer, and sleep mode.

Pros

  • Efficient and cost-effective
  • Ice compartment
  •  Three-speed fans
  • Detachable water tank
  • Programmable timer
  • Low water alarm function

Cons

  • Very loud
  • Doesn’t roll or move around.

Honeywell 300-412CFM Portable Evaporative Cooler

Sale
Honeywell Fan & Humidifier with Detachable Tank,...
  • Indoor evaporative air cooler or swamp cooler Ideal for use in the southwest and Midwest regions of the US. Performs best in hot/dry climates where humidity levels are <50%
  • Not an Air Conditioner & Not just a Fan – No-Compressor Air Cooler reduces temperature through water evaporation. Ideal for spot cooling small areas such as bed, desk area, sofa, dining table
  • Super low power consumption, Detachable tank for easy cleaning & refilling, Carbon Dust Air Filter, Remote Control, Low water alarm, energy saving timer & Ice compartment for faster cooling
  • Moist, cool breeze can cool you down & be used as humidification during winter months.
  • NOT an Air Conditioner & NOT just a Fan – Environmentally friendly Evaporative Cooler reduces temperature through water evaporation. Mimic the comfort of a cool lake breeze in your home

The Honeywell 300-412CFM Portable Evaporative Cooler is an affordable, energy-efficient cooling option for hot regions with low humidity. So, if you are living in the Southwestern side of the United States, this is your go-to unit.

I have recommended this unit because it is ideal for small rooms up to 175 square feet. You can have it in your bedroom, study room, garage, or small living rooms when you require a quick air-conditioned environment.

When it comes to the efficiency of evaporative coolers, you have to understand that they only work perfectly in rooms that are extremely hot and dry. Therefore, the company has recommended a humidity level of 60% and below for you to get the best out of this device.

Unlike ordinary portable air conditioners, Honeywell 300-412CFM  doesn’t have a compressor, and that translates to low power consumption. It only uses 102 watts, which is a significant saving on energy bills compared to using air conditioners.

If you want the unit to blow more or less air, you can take advantage of the four fan speeds and customize the settings to your desire. Oscillating louvers also distribute the air in the direction where you need it the most, eliminating hot zones in the room. If the air is stuffy, the carbon filters will clean it as well.

Pros

  • 3 speeds (high, medium and low) plus shut-off timer up to 7.5 hours
  • Low power consumption (only 102-Watt) for lower energy bills
  • It’s a non-compressor system that cools naturally, efficiently and inexpensively
  • Honeycomb cooling media and powerful 300 CFM airflow for optimum cooling
  • Oscillating louvers distribute cool air throughout the room
  • Full-function remote control with on-board storage

Cons

  • Can only be used in open spaces with adequate cross ventilation 
  • Most people who have used this unit have complained about an odor during the first hour of use. However, the smell dissipates.

How Effective Is a Portable Air Conditioner Without Hose

To understand if a swamp cooler will be effective in your area, you have to know how it works.

Evaporative coolers work on the principle of evaporation to cool the surrounding area.

These units have a fan,  water-soaked pads, and a pump that draws water from a reservoir and delivers it to cooling pads. As this continues, the water that passes through the pads evaporates, allowing it to draw heat from the air. The cold air is then recirculated through the room.

how evaporative cooler differ from portable air conditioners
image source: Wikimedia

Because of this simple cooling process, evaporative coolers are less expensive than air conditioners. Their operation also requires much less electricity, making them an economical and energy-saving spot cooling alternatives to air conditioners.

During the cooling process, evaporative coolers also humidify the space. Since this would benefit people living in hot, dry climates, it also means it would be a disadvantage to people living in cold, humid climates.

So, who is this type of air conditioner right for?

Like I mentioned previously, people in areas that are very dry and hot are most likely to find a portable air conditioner that doesn’t need a window worthwhile. In the US, a good example would be the Southwestern region, including Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. Not only are these regions extremely hot during the summer, but also dry. So, it makes sense to invest in the less expensive but effective evaporative coolers.

The usage of an evaporative cooler is not only limited to the Southern US. According to ustoday.com, there are several major cities with a high heat index, including Missouri, Illinois, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Miami, New Orleans, Orlando, Tampa. Thus, evaporative coolers can be just as effective as air conditioners in these areas.

One of the most important factors to keep in mind when considering a swamp cooler as a potential home cooling is humidity level. If the relative humidity level in your home is below 50%, the more effective the unit will be. However, for humid regions, stick to air conditioners. Adding moisture to an already damp space (even during the hot, dry season) can cause many problems.

Below is a map that shows you areas in the US where evaporative coolers are most effective.

Regions where portable air conditioner that doesn't need a window are effective
Image source: Honeywell

Here is another chart that shows the estimated temperature change you can expect from an evaporative cooler, depending on the relative humidity and current temperature. Just note that this assumes you have the proper size evaporative cooler for your room.

temperature delivered by evaporative cooler
Image source: NewAir.com

Evaporative Cooler Sizing

Apart from humidity, the next most crucial factor to consider is the size of the evaporative cooler and the room you want to cool. You will not get the best cooling results if you don’t choose an appropriate-sized unit for your room.

An evaporative cooler that is too small will struggle to keep the room at a comfortable temperature. On the other hand, a model that is too big is an overkill. It will cool the room too quickly without removing enough humidity from the air, leaving you cold and clammy.

The size of the swamp cooler doesn’t necessarily mean its physical size. It means the amount of fresh air cycled through your environment each minute, and it’s calculated in cubic feet per minute (CFM).

Here is a table to give you an idea of how many CFM you need per your space in square footage.

sizing guide for evaporative cooler
image source sylvane.com

Can you Use a Portable Air Conditioner Without Window Access?

Now that you already know that that the type of portable air conditioners without window exhaust are actually evaporative cooler, the next question is, can you use a portable air conditioner is a room without a window?

While you can use a portable ac in a room without a window, it is something that I’d recommend. A portable ac has to be vented outside to allow it to release hot air from the room and take in cool air. A window is usually a convenient channel through which this process happens. If not, the ac will not cool the room.

However, that is the ideal situation, and there is an exception. If you still want to use portable air conditioners without window vent, here are some options:

Through a Wall

You must have basic DIY skills to vent a portable air conditioner through a wall properly.

You have two options if you decide that this venting option suits you: making a hole to the outside of the room or another room.

The first thing is to pick the right spot for the unit and where to drill a hole. If you want to want to vent a portable ac through a wall to another room, it should be a room that is well ventilated, and you don’t use it frequently.

You want to drill a hose big enough to accommodate the hose. However, it shouldn’t be too big because you still have to seal around the hose to make sure no hot air re-enters the cooled room or the hose wobbles or falls when you turn on the unit. You can use a silicone caulk to do this.

One of the best portable air conditioners you can install through a wall is the Honeywell MN10CESWW 10000 BTU Portable Conditioner, Dehumidifier & Fan. It is one of the affordable models by the company, and it’s ideal for rooms between 350 to 450 square feet. It’s feature-packed, quiet, saves energy and easy to maintain.

Here is a video showing you how to vent it through a wall.

Through a Dryer Vent

This is my least favorite method of venting a portable air conditioner. However, many people have managed to install their units this way with much success.

Before you vent the air conditioner through a dryer vent, make sure your dryer vent holes are large enough to allow the hose to pass. If not, the hot air will return into the room.

What you must avoid is extending the length of the hose. That will only reduce the efficiency of the unit, and it won’t function as it should be.

Through a Drop-Ceiling

This is another effective way of venting your ac. The only problem is that it requires a lot of work and creativity. If you are not good with your hands, this is not the best option for you.

How is this done? Reconfiguring your drop ceiling and turning it into a ventilation area. That means you must locate a specific ceiling panel that can allow the ac hose to pass through it. 

Make a hole large enough to allow the hose to pass through it. If there is a gap between the hose and the ceiling panel, add a sealant to keep it firmly in place.

In Summary

A portable air conditioner without hose doesn’t exist. You can only choose evaporative coolers that are less expensive, and can be the best option for cooling your space. However, before you go shopping for one, make sure you at least live in a hot, dry climate. Also, the size of the unit you pick determines how efficient and effective it will cool your room.

As far as using a portable air conditioner in a room without a window is concerned, you have several options. The only problem is that the processes are a little bit technical, so you have to have basic DIY skills and be creative.

I’d recommend venting a portable air conditioner using the options I’ve discussed above if you don’t have any other choice. The best way is to vent through a window and follow the installation guideline provided by the manufacturer.